April 18, 2008

Leadership changes announced for Obstetrics and Gynecology

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Nancy Chescheir, M.D.

Leadership changes announced for Obstetrics and Gynecology

Howard Jones III, M.D.

Howard Jones III, M.D.

Nancy Chescheir, M.D., chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology, has left Vanderbilt Medical Center after three years at the department's helm. She was the first woman in Vanderbilt University School of Medicine's history to chair a clinical department.

Chescheir joined Vanderbilt after more than a 30-year history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, beginning as an undergraduate and continuing through her medical education, residency, fellowship and early academic career.

She leaves behind an impressive array of accomplishments including increasing the department's research funding 440 percent between 2005 and now, and a 2007 ranking of 10th among obstetrics and gynecology departments in U.S. News and World Report. Two years before, the program had been ranked 47th in the nation.

“Nancy has done an excellent job,” said Steven Gabbe, M.D., dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “The U.S. News ranking is outstanding; the medical student education program improved substantially; the residency program has become more competitive; and Nancy recruited several excellent faculty.

“I wish her all the best for continued success. She has done an extraordinary job here.”

Chescheir said she counts improved personalized care for patients and the integration of advanced practice nurses into the department as two of her most important accomplishments, and appreciates the opportunity to lead the department.

“I'm very grateful for the experience I've had here, for the people I've interacted with and for the highly collaborative nature of the faculty and staff here. I accomplished what I thought I could accomplish here, and it's time to move on.”

Howard Jones III, M.D., professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of Gynecologic Oncology for the past 27 years, will serve as interim chair.

Jones received his medical degree from Duke, and served a residency at the University of Colorado Medical Center in Denver. He has co-edited several medical textbooks including the recent 9th edition of “TeLinde's Operative Gynecology.” He is a member of many national and international Ob/Gyn societies and is currently president of the International Society of Cervical Pathology and Colposcopy.

He said he looks forward to the new challenge.

“Nancy has been a good friend and a wonderfully supportive chair for me. I am excited about the opportunity to serve as the interim chair because of my love for Vanderbilt and the department,” Jones said. “I don't want to consider this as just a caretaker role, just holding things down. Once I get a clear understanding of everything we are doing in the department, I want to continue the upward trajectory we already have.”

Jones said he will cut back his clinical practice as a gynecological oncologist, with Marta Crispens, M.D., assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, picking up the slack.

“Howard is the prototype for the true academic clinician,” Gabbe said. “He is an esteemed academic leader in gynecologic oncology and has the respect not only of the members of the department but his colleagues throughout the Medical Center. He's held important leadership roles in the department and throughout the Medical Center, and he has the administrative skills to keep the department moving forward during this time of transition. I am optimistic that under Howard's leadership, and with the full support of my office and the Vice Chancellor, the Ob/Gyn department will continue its upward momentum.”