August 18, 2011

Neilson takes post at Northwestern

Neilson takes post at Northwestern

Eric G. Neilson, M.D., former chair of the Vanderbilt University Department of Medicine, is leaving after 13 years to become vice president for Medical Affairs and the dean of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago. He will begin his work there on Sept. 1.

Eric G. Neilson, M.D.

Eric G. Neilson, M.D.

For the past year, Neilson, chairman emeritus, dedicated most of his time to his research on the cell fate of fibroblasts. He also continued his role as editor of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

“We are proud Dr. Neilson will serve in such an influential role at Northwestern,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.

“The opportunity to be dean at one of the country’s great medical schools is special. Eric’s accomplishments as chair of the Department of Medicine have been substantial. We wish him the very best as he begins this important new phase in his career.”

Neilson came to Vanderbilt in 1998 from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where he served as chief of Penn's Renal-Electrolyte and Hypertension Division. He is a past winner of the President's Medal as well as the John P. Peters Award and Prize from the American Society of Nephrology.

During his tenure at Vanderbilt, the Department of Medicine experienced tremendous growth. The clinical practice revenues increased 295 percent, and research funding from the National Institutes of Health increased 475 percent, to $135 million, in 2010. The department's faculty grew from 270 to nearly 650 over the last decade.

His task for Northwestern is similar.

“One of my ambitions is to increase the national visibility of the school and build new programs that will add to the already terrific environment,” said Neilson. “Northwestern is a place with a lot of great people and I hope to help them in any way I can to improve the health of people.”
Neilson’s leadership, dedication to research and recruitment skills are well known among medical school across the country.

In 2010 he was presented the Robert H. Williams, M.D., Distinguished Chair of Medicine Award, by the Association of Professors of Medicine. This annual award is the association's highest honor for distinguished leadership.

“I’ve had a great 13 years here and the Department of Medicine is just a wonderful environment for health care, science and medicine,” Neilson said. “We have superb residents, fellows and faculty and it has been great fun to work with them to grow the department. I leave it in very good hands.”