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University of Iowa restarting search for health care vice president, dean
UI also will launch a search for CEO of its hospitals and clinics
IOWA CITY — After the University of Iowa’s chosen finalist declined an offer in October to succeed Brooks Jackson as vice president for medical affairs of UI Health Care and dean of its Carver College of Medicine, the campus is relaunching its search for a new head of its sprawling health care enterprise.
That search will remain one for the combined role of vice president and medical college dean, despite questions of whether the UI should split the position and conduct two searches. UI officials decided how to resume the search — and fine-tuned what to search for — after gathering feedback over 11 listening sessions spanning eight weeks.
“We obtained very helpful feedback on the search process and the leadership qualities that are needed to ensure that UI Health Care can best serve the university and the state of Iowa well into 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 serving as both vice president and dean can balance our tripartite mission of research, education, and patient care.”
Jackson’s successor will oversee the $2 billion-plus health care enterprise, including its hospitals and clinics, comprised of 866 beds — including 190 beds in its 14-story Stead Family Children’s Hospital — 11,000 faculty and staff and more than 250 specialty and subspecialty clinics.
In 2021, UIHC accommodated over 1.3 million clinic visits at its main campus and outreach clinics across the state. It recorded more than 32,000 inpatient admissions and nearly 50,000 emergency department visits — performing more than 35,600 major surgical operations and more than 169,700 minor surgical procedures.
Often near capacity, UIHC is forced to turn away transfers, schedule appointments months out and leave emergency room visitors waiting for hours.
It’s now in a growth spurt. Among other projects, it’s building a $525.6 million hospital campus in North Liberty; pursuing a $95 million expansion of its existing main-campus inpatient tower and planning an entirely new inpatient tower on the main campus that it expects to spend $620.9 million on over the next five years. UIHC, among other things, also is spending $24.6 million to renovate and expand its existing emergency room; $8 million to covert portions of its south wing into 13 inpatient rooms; and $2.3 million to build a new “ophthalmology simulation lab” in part of parking ramp 4.
Related to the UI Carver College of Medicine, the university has plans to spend $212 million over the next five years on a new “modern health care research facility.” That's in addition to a new academic building to house 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 also will oversee 12 administrative units — including UI Physicians, the state’s largest multi-specialty and surgical group practice of more than 700 physicians in 19 clinical departments.
This year, the college boasts 1,369 faculty teaching 604 medical students, plus more than 5,000 undergraduate students.
Jackson — who started in the sprawling role in November 2017 — announced in February plans to step down and join the UI faculty as a researcher of infectious diseases. He has said he’ll stay on until a successor begins.
His resignation announcement came after former UI Hospitals and Clinics Chief Executive Officer Suresh Gunasekaran announced he was leaving to lead the University of California San Francisco Academic Health System. Chief Nursing Executive Kim Hunter stepped in as interim CEO until the university finds a permanent replacement.
The university this week announced plans to start a national search for that post — its first — after relaunching its vice president and dean search. UI will announce search committee members and a search firm for the vice president position in January.
The university used executive search firm Wittkieffer for the first failed effort — paying it $293,000, as of October, excluding travel costs. UI officials did not say which finalist received an offer but declined it “due to family obligations.”
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