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IOWA CITY — Six months after University of Iowa Vice President for Medical Affairs and Carver College of Medicine Dean Brooks Jackson announced plans to resign five years into the job, UI Health Care on Wednesday announced that a search committee has identified four finalists to replace him.
Each candidate over the next two weeks will visit campus, participating in open forums and meeting with faculty, staff, students and campus administrators while in Iowa City. UIHC will release the name of each candidate 24 hours before his or her open forum, which community members can attend either virtually or in person.
Given the first forum is scheduled from noon to 1 p.m. Monday, UIHC will reveal the first finalist name at noon Sunday. Subsequent forums are scheduled for Aug. 25, Aug. 29 and Sept. 1.
Jackson, who on Feb. 17 announced plans to step down and return to a faculty research position, agreed to stay on as vice president and dean until his successor starts. Upon Jackson’s announcement, UI hired a search firm and formed a committee to engage in a national search.
UI Health Care one month earlier had learned its UI Hospitals and Clinics CEO, Suresh Gunasekaran, was leaving to lead the University of California San Francisco Academic Health System.
Administrators opted to delay their search for a new UIHC CEO, a position that reports to the vice president for medical affairs, until installing Jackson’s successor. Thus five days after Jackson’s announcement, UI appointed Chief Nursing Executive Kimberly Hunter to step in as interim UIHC CEO.
Neither UIHC nor Jackson have shared details about why he opted to step down now — with UIHC building a new $525 million hospital campus in North Liberty; spending $95 million to expand its inpatient tower; eyeing another new inpatient tower across from Kinnick Stadium; and suing the manufacturer of faulty windows in its new Stead Family Children’s Hospital — among other issues.
In a February statement about his resignation, Jackson said he’s “so proud of everything our team has accomplished over the past five years.”
“From leading UI Health Care’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic even while reaching for new heights of academic excellence, to obtaining approval on ambitious plans for new growth and partnerships to securing the single largest gift in the history of the university,” Jackson said in a statement. “As UI Health Care prepares to tackle the next bold phase in its history, the time is right for new leadership to pilot the organization to the next level.”
Jackson, who came to Iowa in 2017 from his service as the University of Minnesota’s medical school dean and vice president of health sciences, is earning a $1.1 million salary, according to UI records.
At UIHC, he led the state’s largest multispecialty physician group practice — a health care operation with a $2.13 billion operating budget for fiscal 2023, tens of thousands of employees and plans to grow.
In resuming his focus on research, Jackson will return to his roots in pathology — having earned master’s and doctorate degrees from Dartmouth College and chairing the pathology department at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine from 2001 to 2014.
Earlier in his career, Jackson established himself as a widely recognized AIDS researcher — serving as principal investigator of the National Institutes of Health-funded International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials Network.
Jackson — in that work, according to his UIHC bio — conducted “landmark clinical trials for the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission and the treatment of pediatric HIV infection and complications.”
To find his replacement, UI in March signed a contract with search firm WittKieffer — paying it 31 percent of the new vice president’s estimated base salary, which the firm projected at $900,000. That put WittKieffer’s estimated professional fee for its help replacing Jackson at $279,000, according to the contract, which added a $10,000 technology fee for things like WittKieffer’s proprietary database of more than 1.5 million leaders and verification and compliance checks.
“Once compensation has been determined at the conclusion of the search, the professional fee will be adjusted up or down and an invoice or adjustment for the balance of the fee, if any, will be submitted,” according to the contract.
Chairing the 21-member search committee for a new UI vice president for medical affairs is John Keller, special assistant to the provost, dentistry professor and former Graduate College dean, along with Cynthia Wong, professor and departmental executive officer of the UI Department of Anesthesia.
Other members include Board of Regents President Pro Tem Sherry Bates and Pete Matthes, vice president for external relations and senior adviser to the president.
Finalist forums will be held from noon to 1 p.m. Aug. 22, Aug. 25, Aug. 29 and Sept. 1 in person in the 1110 Prem Sahai Auditorium, Medical Education Research Facility, 375 Newton Rd. An online option also will be available via Zoom links found on UIHC’s “The Loop.”
Vanessa Miller covers higher education for The Gazette.
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