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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


New professor joins UA Health to help the school research on a global scale

Alex McIntyre

The Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health houses the Global Health Institute. The college is located in Roy P. Drachman Hall at 1295 N. Martin Ave.

Already touted for its research, the University of Arizona Health Sciences is looking to expand its portfolio with the recent hire of Akinlolu Ojo as the new associate vice president for clinical research and global health initiatives.

Ojo joined the department in January. He said this is an exciting position because now he not only has the opportunity to work with other research leaders, but he can also expand the UA’s portfolio of clinical research. He said he hopes to build the Health Sciences’ relationships and footprints here in Tucson and across the state.

Senior Vice President for health sciences, Joe “Skip” Garcia, said Ojo is an exceptional recruit to the university.

“He’s an internationally acclaimed physician scientist. He’s a leader in his field of nephrology and chronic kidney disease, and he does really practical work doing clinical research and trials in the U.S. and Africa,” Garcia said. “He’s going to help our clinical research and global health efforts in a big way.”

Garcia said this is a new position that’s been needed for quite some time and Ojo is a great fit for the role.

Ojo, who worked in academic medicine for over 20 years before taking this position, worked at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor as a professor of medicine, director of clinical and translational research in the Comprehensive Kidney Center and director of the department of medicine global health research and training programs. He was an attending physician in their health system as well.

“The area of emphasis I will be promoting here at the UA will be on large clinical trials that will allow all the opportunities to bring new experimental treatments and funded projects into the institution for the benefit of the diverse population,” Ojo said.

He has worked extensively with minority populations and said one of the most exciting things about this opportunity is that he will get to work with the UA’s uniquely diverse population.

The hiring process started about two years ago, when Ojo said that he wanted to join Garcia—whom Ojo knew and respected for years—at the UA after Garcia announced he was coming here.

With his kids heading off to college, Ojo decided it was the right time to make the move.

Garcia said he’s thrilled the UA was able to recruit Ojo, especially since health sciences is undergoing a transformation that he can help foster.

Ojo, who’s academic salary will be $250,000, said he has important goals he hopes to accomplish:

  • Establishing a clinical research program to conduct clinical trials and studies throughout the state in places like Tucson, Phoenix, Yuma and Nogales, Arizona.
  • Emphasizing the importance of working toward a clinical, transitional science award from the National Institute of Health for the UA.
  • Developing a strategic plan and rationalizing global health research and development programs with the objective of identifying and concentrating efforts in specific parts of the world. Some of the countries being looked at are Mexico, Ecuador and Brazil, as well as expanding collaborations into different parts of India.
  • Ojo and his colleagues already began laying the ground work for a new strategic plan that will be the basis of his and his department’s efforts for unifying health sciences.

    “It’s important to make sure that there is a cooperative effort to make sure we have a unified set of goals as we move forward,” Ojo said.

    Ojo will also hold a professor position in the College of Medicine, as well as a professor of health promotion sciences in the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.

    “It’s a very beautiful environment, people are very warm and engaging and pleasant to work with,” Ojo said.

    Ojo added that everyone has been supportive and collaborative in just the short time he’s been here.

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