Dr. Brooks Jackson, vice president for medical affairs and dean of the Carver College of Medicine, delivers remarks March 15, 2019, during the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine Match Day in the Medical Education and Research Center Atrium . (Newspaper)
IOWA CITY — After the University of Iowa’s chosen finalist declined an offer in October to succeed Brooks Jackson as UI Health Care’s vice president of medical affairs and dean of the Carver College of Medicine, the campus is renewing its search for a new leader of its growing health care enterprise.
That search will remain one for the combined role of vice president and dean of the medical college, despite questions about whether the UI should split the position and conduct two searches. UI staff decided how to resume the search — and refined what to look for — after gathering feedback over 11 listening sessions spanning eight weeks.
“We received very helpful feedback about the search process and the leadership qualities needed to ensure that UI Health Care can best serve the university and the state of Iowa in the future,” UI President Barbara Wilson said in a statement. “We also heard very clearly that keeping the dual position intact so that one leader who serves as vice president and dean can balance our three-pronged mission of research, education and patient care.”
Jackson’s successor will lead the $2 billion-plus healthcare enterprise, including its 866-bed hospitals and clinics — including 190 beds in the 14-story Stead Family Children’s Hospital — 11,000 faculty and staff and more than 250 specialty and subspecialty clinics.
In 2021, UIHC saw over 1.3 million clinical visits at its main campus and outreach clinics across the state. It recorded more than 32,000 inpatient admissions and nearly 50,000 emergency room visits – performing more than 35,600 major surgeries and more than 169,700 minor surgical procedures.
Often close to capacity, UIHC is forced to deny transfers, schedule appointments for months and leave emergency room visitors waiting for hours.
It is now in rapid growth. Other projects include the construction of a $525.6 million hospital campus in North Liberty; pursuing a $95 million expansion of the existing landline tower on the main campus and planning an entirely new landline tower on the main campus, which it expects to spend $620.9 million on over the next five years. UIHC, among other things, is also spending $24.6 million to renovate and expand its existing emergency department; $8 million for hidden parts of its south wing in 13 hospital rooms; and $2.3 million to build a new “ophthalmology simulation lab” in part of Parking Ramp 4.
Affiliated with the UI Carver College of Medicine, the university plans to spend $212 million over the next five years on a new “state-of-the-art healthcare research facility.” This is in addition to a new academic building to house the UI’s Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Center and its Communication Sciences and Disorders Program. And the UI is spending $2 million to renovate its Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Building.
Jackson’s successor as leader of the medical college will also lead 12 administrative units — including UI Physicians, the state’s largest multispecialty and surgical group practice of more than 700 physicians in 19 clinical departments.
This year, the college boasts 1,369 faculty members teaching 604 medical students, plus more than 5,000 undergraduates.
Jackson, who began his role in November 2017, announced in February plans to step down and join the UI faculty as an infectious disease researcher. He said he would stay until a successor was in place.
His resignation announcement came after former UI Hospitals and Clinics CEO Suresh Gunasekaran announced he was leaving to lead UC San Francisco Academic Health System. Chief Nursing Officer Kim Hunter has stepped in as interim executive director until the university finds a permanent replacement.
This week, the university announced plans to launch a national search for the position — its first — after renewing its search for a vice president and dean. The UI will announce search committee members and a search firm for the vice president position in January.
The university used the executive search firm Wittkieffer for the first failed effort — paying it $293,000 as of October, excluding travel expenses. UI officials did not say which finalist received an offer, but declined it “due to family obligations.”
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