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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Career change for dean of College of Medicine

Courtesy of Katie Riley

In an effort to help realize the UA’s academic strategic plan, the dean of the UA College of Medicine — Tucson was recently appointed to two new positions.

Dr. Steve Goldschmid will start his new appointments as associate vice president for clinical affairs at the Arizona Health Sciences Center and vice president of physician services for the University of Arizona Health Network on March 3. Dr. Joe G.N. “Skip” Garcia, UA senior vice president for health sciences, will serve as interim dean of the UA College of Medicine — Tucson.

In his new positions, Goldschmid will focus on communication in clinical delivery, efficiency and productivity at the UA Colleges of Medicine in Tucson and Phoenix, Garcia said. Goldschmid will also improve how the Health Sciences Center interacts with individuals in the community and seek opportunities to set up new clinics, Garcia added.

“The success of the Arizona Health Sciences Center is really dependent on the success of the health network,” Garcia said.

He said if the health network delivers better care, it will enhance the academic mission of the university.

Never Settle, the UA’s strategic academic plan, focuses on partnership and engagement in the community, as well as on providing students with hands-on learning opportunities.

“I think in the next six months, Dr. Goldschmid will have a significant impact on the care delivery that we’re talking about,” Garcia said. “I think all of these will make us very much stronger and more accomplished also on a very steep trajectory to achieving some academic success.”

The new positions were created as a response to leadership needs at the UA’s clinical programs, according to George Humphrey, assistant vice president of AHSC’s office of public affairs. Having these leadership positions is common at academic health centers in the U.S., Humphrey added.

“We’re very pleased that Dr. Goldschmid has accepted this position, for he has great strength in clinical programs and clinical practice operations,” Humphrey said in an email statement. “He has unique experience with the teaching side of medicine, as well as the practice of medicine.”

Goldschmid’s salary is about $550,000, most of which is funded by the UA Health Network. Goldschmid, who is certified in internal medicine and gastroenterology, has been working with the UA College of Medicine — Tucson since 2000, when he was hired to establish a gastroenterology service/endoscopy lab. He became chairman of the UA Department of Medicine in 2006, and in
2008 he took a position as interim dean at the UA College of Medicine — Tucson.

The University of Arizona Medical Center the and UA Health Network are working to recruit various positions along with a new dean for the college — including a new chair for the department of surgery, a chair for the department of medicine and a director for the UA Cancer Center. Recruiting surgeons and physicians to fill these positions takes several months, according to Katie Riley, director of media relations and corporate communications at UAHN and AHSC Office of Public Affairs.

“Experienced surgeons and physicians of the high caliber we are seeking are uncommon,” Riley said in an email statement. “UA and UAHN are absolutely committed to providing core transplant services. Strengthening these services in 2014 through strategic recruiting of experienced physicians and surgeons is a top priority.”

Garcia said AHSC will have recruited three to four administrators within the next six months to fill some of the major positions that are currently open.

Despite Goldschmid being in the middle of a pending lawsuit, the new appointment has nothing to do with the lawsuit against the College of Medicine — Tucson, according to Humphrey.

Dr. Rainer Gruessner, former chairman of the department of surgery, filed a lawsuit in mid-November after being suspended with pay. Goldschmid called Gruessner via Skype in July 2013 asking him to step down from his position as chair of the department of surgery, citing a “record of poor performance,” according to court records.

According to court documents, an evaluation committee within the College of Medicine asked Gruessner for input on the state of the college under Goldschmid’s leadership. Gruessner told the committee in April he was concerned about the dean’s leadership, and, according to the 191-page lawsuit, he believes the dean found out about what he told the committee.

The lawsuit claims he was suspended without cause, and he is not seeking payment but instead would like to get his job back and restore his reputation.

Goldschmid declined to comment on the pending lawsuit and on his new positions.

Garcia also said Goldschmid’s administrative move is unrelated to the lawsuit, and the new positions were created to improve the College of Medicine’s future. Goldschmid was appointed to the positions because of his understanding of the college’s clinical mission.

“We’ve been talking about this realignment in our leadership positions for quite some time,” Garcia said. “The Gruessner search was started in December. I think [Goldschmid] also understands that in his new leadership position, he’ll be able to influence how the resources for the College of Medicine get generated and maybe play a big role in generating additional resources for us to be able to grow the College of Medicine. So, I’d say there’s no link to any of the issues going on with the previous chairman of surgery.”

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