June 5, 2009

Promotions bolster leadership structure

Promotions bolster leadership structure

Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., is not one to let the grass grow under his feet.

On Tuesday, his second day as Vanderbilt University's new Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, Balser announced the promotions of four key members of his leadership team.

Gordon Bernard, M.D., was named associate vice chancellor for Research, overseeing clinical research, and senior associate dean for Clinical Sciences in the School of Medicine.

John Manning, Ph.D., M.B.A., was appointed associate vice chancellor for Health Affairs, chief administrative officer for Vanderbilt Medical Center, and senior associate dean for Operations and Administration.

C. Wright Pinson, M.D., M.B.A., is the new deputy vice chancellor for Health Affairs, CEO of the Hospitals and Clinics, and senior associate dean for Clinical Affairs.

Susan Wente, Ph.D., was named associate vice chancellor for Research, overseeing the basic sciences, and senior associate dean for Biomedical Sciences.

“Over the last decade we have become incredibly large and diverse in our capabilities, activities and goals,” Balser said in an interview Wednesday, two days after he succeeded Harry Jacobson, M.D. “So the leadership team needs to reflect the interests and priorities of the Medical Center.

“For that reason, having strong leadership with alignment between the School of Medicine and the health system is critical,” he continued. “The individuals I've chosen not only have the expertise to lead in these mission areas, but also have a deep appreciation for our culture and our values.”

Bernard's responsibilities include the Office of Grants and Contracts Management, Research Support Services and the Institutional Review Board, and he will continue to direct the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research.

Gordon Bernard, M.D.

Gordon Bernard, M.D.

“I am delighted to be able to continue to help refine the infrastructure for training and conduct of clinical and translational research at Vanderbilt,” Bernard said. “We are developing a very strong reputation nationally in this area and I am proud to be part of the team that supports these programs.”

“It is my goal to remove as many barriers and impediments to the conduct of high quality research as possible without compromising participant safety,” he added.

Balser said Wente “will support the operations and strategic development of the basic sciences” throughout the Medical Center, including graduate education, and “in coordination with university central our shared institutes and centers.”

Susan Wente, Ph.D.

Susan Wente, Ph.D.

Wente and Bernard also will work together to develop and support new translational research programs, he said.

“I am very grateful for this opportunity,” Wente said. “It is such a privilege to work with our leaders, our faculty, and our students.”

Manning, who has led the Office of Research for nearly a decade, was appointed vice president for Academic Enterprise Operations last November, in recognition of the need for an experienced manager to oversee the Medical School's “complex and demanding operations,” Balser said.

In his new role, Manning “will have oversight over administrative activities throughout the Medical Center, in coordination with university central,” he said.

John Manning, Ph.D., M.B.A.

John Manning, Ph.D., M.B.A.

“He will continue to have responsibility for the operations and business activities of the academic enterprise, including the allocation of space and financial resources,” as well as the Office of Research.

As senior associate dean, Manning will be responsible for assuring “smooth and efficient operations” in all areas of the Medical School and for supporting budget development activities in coordination with the Office of Finance. “I feel the Medical Center needs a single individual who is focused on the administrative and operational challenges of the whole enterprise,” Balser explained.

“I sincerely appreciate having the opportunity to serve Vice Chancellor Balser and the Medical Center in a broader capacity through these new responsibilities,” Manning said. “And I'm looking forward to working in a collaborative manner with more colleagues across our entire university.”

Pinson's new positions merge his previous role as associate vice chancellor for Clinical Affairs with the position previously held by Martin Sandler, M.B., Ch.B. — associate vice chancellor for Hospital Affairs. Sandler is giving up his administrative role effective July 1 to return to clinical and research activities in the Department of Radiology & Radiological Sciences.

C. Wright Pinson, M.D., M.B.A.

C. Wright Pinson, M.D., M.B.A.

In his new role, Pinson will oversee all patient care facilities and programs including Vanderbilt University Hospital, the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, the Psychiatric Hospital at Vanderbilt, the Vanderbilt Clinics, Vanderbilt Medical Group Williamson County and Vanderbilt Health at One Hundred Oaks.

He will remain president of Vanderbilt Health Services, which includes the Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital and Vanderbilt Home Care Services. Pinson will step down from his role as chief medical officer of the Vanderbilt Medical Group, but as senior associate dean he will have continued responsibility for the VMG, including clinical and provider services.

“Our clinical enterprise is in a very strong position thanks to the leadership skills and hard work of many over the years,” Pinson said. “Furthermore, the talent of the hospital and clinic CEOs, the VMG service chiefs, the enterprise CFOs and all their capable teams will hold us in good stead for the future.

“I have confidence in our staff, nurses and doctors, and am very pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to the coordination of the work,” he said. “We will focus on quality and patient safety, customer service and value, innovation and redesign of care delivery, employee satisfaction, financial performance, and support of the education and research missions of this Medical Center and University.”

John Howser, Leigh MacMillan, Melissa Marino and Jessica Pasley contributed to this story.