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Bauer, Van Etten, Dzau named to key leadership posts in medical center

STANFORD -- Stanford University President Gerhard Casper has named Dr. Eugene Bauer dean of the School of Medicine; Provost Condoleezza Rice appointed Dr. Victor Dzau chair of the Department of Medicine, the school's largest department; and the Stanford Health Services board of directors has voted Peter Van Etten president and chief executive officer of SHS, a post he has held on an interim basis since April 1994.

An advisory committee appointed by Casper is continuing the search for a vice president for medical affairs, to whom both Bauer and Van Etten will report on medical center policy matters.

Bauer, currently professor and chair of dermatology at Stanford, will assume the deanship in April for a term to run through August 1997.

Dzau, currently the William G. Irwin Professor and chief of the division of cardiovascular medicine, will begin the appointment as the Arthur L. Bloomfield Professor and chair of the Department of Medicine on May 1.

“After extensive discussion with the medical school chairs and other medical center leaders, I concluded that we need relatively long-term leadership in the medical school sooner, rather than later,” Casper said. “That is why we have accelerated our plans for the change in leadership that was announced in August.

“We are entering a crucial phase of implementation of SHS and it is important to have leadership at the school and at SHS that will be in place throughout the execution of important decisions,” Casper added.

Under the original transition plan announced in August, the current medical school dean, Dr. David Korn, was to remain in his position through August 1995. (See related story, page 11.).

“The immediate need for longer-term leadership cannot diminish David Korn's many accomplishments during his long tenure as dean,” said Casper. “Without David's foresight and hard work in building up the school we could not have even considered developing a system such as SHS.

“And without his commitment of time, energy and ideas, we could not have brought this innovative health care system to this juncture.”

Bauer, 52, began his tenure as dermatology chair in June 1988, having come to Stanford from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where he was a professor of medicine and director of the Center for Research and Therapy of Epidermolysis Bullosa. A graduate of Northwestern University Medical School, he is widely known for his work on epidermolysis bullosa, a blistering skin disease, and on other disorders involving collagen.

In an interview, Korn praised his successor. “I recruited Gene as the first of my many chair recruitments. I find him a delightful colleague, and he has been a highly constructive and thoughtful member of the school's executive committee,” Korn said. “He did an excellent job of rebuilding the dermatology department, and I wish him success and all the best in his new role.”

Bauer described a sizable task before him.

“To say the least, these are times of massive change in medicine - in care, education and research. While we face daunting challenges, we also have an enormous opportunity to bring the world-class research of our basic scientists together with excellence in the clinical departments to create the novel diagnostics and therapeutics that will both distinguish us academically and be cost-effective.

“I am personally excited by the challenge,” he added. “I am eager to continue the work begun by David Korn, and to work with my colleagues in the School of Medicine and with the leadership of SHS and Packard Hospital to conceive and implement programs that will continue Stanford's position in the first rank of academic medical centers.”

Bauer will join Van Etten in the task of completing the integration of the medical faculty's clinical practice into SHS.

“I'm looking forward to a more in-depth working relationship with Gene,” said Van Etten. “He's already played a key role in SHS through his place on the SHS clinical cabinet and has shown insightful understanding of, and creativity toward, the challenges and opportunities SHS faces.

“We will both be building on much of the intellectual design lent to SHS by David Korn,” Van Etten added.

In formally assuming the top SHS job, Van Etten will now relinquish his post as the university's chief financial officer. Other senior university administrators will continue to handle those duties on an acting basis during a search for his replacement.

“Since moving to the medical center position in April, Peter has led the institution through difficult change,” said Isaac Stein, chair of the SHS board. “He has looked at our priorities and the external market changes and is developing ways to make them work together.”

Added Casper: “Peter's experience in health care management made him extraordinarily valuable in the creation of SHS, and his excellent work in that role made him the clear choice to continue in that leadership role.”

“During the last six months,” said Van Etten, “our efforts have focused upon integrating Stanford's physician and hospital activities with the establishment of Stanford Health Services. Now we need to ensure that the new organization meets the health care needs of our community while supporting our academic mission.

“This will be a difficult task due to increased competition and proposed reductions in government support,” he continued. “I look forward to addressing this challenge with Gene Bauer, Victor Dzau and the thousands of others who work at SHS and the School of Medicine.”

Prior to becoming university CFO in 1991, Van Etten was deputy chancellor for management and finance at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester. He was previously executive vice president of New England Medical Center Hospital and CFO of Boston University Hospital.

In the Department of Medicine, Dzau will succeed Dr. Edward D. Harris Jr., who has led the department since 1987. Harris has been named the George DeForest Barnett Professor of Medicine. The endowed professorship is stipulated by the university trustees to go to a professor with “the highest possible competence as a stimulating teacher and adviser.” Barnett was famed for his personal interest in both patients and students during his 25 years as chief of the Stanford Medical Service at San Francisco City and County Hospital (now San Francisco General) between 1924 and 1949.

The Barnett professorship was established in 1955 by a group of alumni who had viewed Barnett as a mentor. Korn said that when he discussed Harris' appointment with the remaining members of that group, “they were thrilled with the selection” because of Harris' work to revitalize the department's house staff program and other clinical teaching efforts.

“Receiving the Barnett chair will give me an opportunity to help the department and the school nurture the academic and teaching components of internal medicine,” said Harris. “Both are intrinsically vital to Stanford, yet vulnerable in the new world of managed care and productivity standards.

“I've enjoyed the privilege of being chair of medicine for more than seven years,” Harris added. “I'm particularly pleased to have recruited my successor to Stanford, and I believe this transition is a very appropriate one.”

Dzau came to Stanford to head cardiovascular medicine in 1990. During the previous six years, he served on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and as director of the vascular medicine service and division at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. A native of Shanghai and a graduate of the McGill Medical School in Montreal, Dzau is a leading researcher on the causes of vascular disease. His recent research has focused on understanding the genetics of vascular disease and developing potential gene therapies for it.

“Victor has already proven himself to be an extraordinary academic leader,” said Rice. “With his ability for innovative thinking I am certain that he will develop new ways of thinking about the academic enterprises in these challenging times.”

For his plans, Dzau said he is most interested in increasing the department's activity in translating basic science to clinical medicine. “But in an environment of managed care and increasing competition, I also want to make sure that ours is one of the most competitive departments around - with high- quality care,” he said.

“To accomplish that, I have proposed a matrix system to organize the department in a way that will foster cross-fertilization between divisions and between basic and clinical researchers,” Dzau said.

Korn began planning for change in the Department of Medicine's leadership last summer. “Through consulting with members of the department,” he said, “I determined that there would be a strong consensus to support Victor in leading the department through the changes coming with the creation of SHS.

“I was active in recruiting Victor, mentored him while he's been here and enjoyed watching him restore Stanford's division of cardiovascular medicine to a position of national eminence. He has been a delightful colleague, and I am very pleased that he's agreed to accept the medicine chair,” Korn added.


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