Vikas P. Sukhatme, MD, ScD, Dean of Emory School of Medicine, announced that he will step down as Dean of the School and Academic Director of Emory Healthcare in March 2023 after five years of service in that role. .
He will continue as a full-time faculty member in the School of Medicine, leading the Morningside Center for Innovative and Affordable Medicine (Morningside Center) and contributing to a fledgling “Clinics of the Future” initiative as well as the education.
“Dean Sukhatme has been transformational as a leader of the Emory School of Medicine,” said Emory President Gregory L. Fenves. “He has set ambitious goals – in training, recruiting faculty and research to treat and cure disease – and exceeded them. I am grateful to him for his dedication over the past five He elevated the School of Medicine and set it on the path to continued success.
As Dean of Emory’s largest school, Sukhatme has led more than 3,300 full- and part-time faculty and nearly 2,500 staff, including more than 1,300 residents and fellows training at 112 ACGME accredited programs. The school has more than 1,000 students, including 593 in the medical program and 485 in five academic health programs.
During his deanship, Sukhatme focused on breaking down barriers to medical innovation and finding meaningful new ways to integrate research into education and patient care – with the ultimate goal of improving health outcomes around the world.
“Vikas has been an invaluable leader in the health sciences with a strong commitment to discovery, education and patient care,” said David S. Stephens, Acting Executive Vice President for Business at health. “While we will miss his contributions and efforts as a member of the management team, we support Vikas’ desire to spend more time with his family and are delighted that he continues to drive the missions of Emory, particularly through his work with the Morningside Center.”
“The School of Medicine, Emory Healthcare, Woodruff Health Sciences Center and the university as a whole have benefited from Vikas’ thoughtful leadership based on collaboration, innovation and excellence, and his drive to increase the funding from SOM’s NIH, as well as his gift for recruiting incredible scholars,” says Ravi V. Bellamkonda, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. “We are grateful to Vikas for his commitment to ensuring a transition gentle manner and his continued guidance as we continue to build on the exceptional progress he has made over the past five years.”
Stephens and Bellamkonda noted that next steps for the leadership of the School of Medicine will be announced in the coming weeks in consultation with new executive vice president for health affairs Ravi Thadhani.
In a Nov. 22 message to the School of Medicine community, Sukhatme expressed his gratitude for the community’s courage in meeting the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as his pride in the collective progress being made towards the school’s Excellence to Eminence strategic plan.
“We’ve come a long way together…and there’s a lot of momentum and support to carry us forward,” he wrote in the post. “I have tremendous confidence in the current and future leadership of President Fenves, Provost Bellamkonda, Acting EVPHA David Stephens and incoming EVPHA Ravi Thadhani, and the exceptional leadership team at SOM…We won’t miss a beat!
From excellence to eminence
Sukhatme came to Emory in 2017 from Harvard Medical School, where he served for eight years as director of studies and dean of Harvard faculty for academic programs at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. He has extensive experience in collaborative research and is a strong supporter of translational medicine.
Sukhatme has noted that his decision to join the Emory School of Medicine was motivated by the belief that we live in a unique time in biomedical history, in which a revolution of complementary forces is changing the way we think about medicine. “I believed – and still believe – that Emory had the right mix of faculty excellence, collaborative spirit and strategic partnerships to tackling some of the most intractable problems in medicine with a decent chance of success,” says Sukhatme.
To help meet these challenges, he oversaw the development of the School of Medicine’s Excellence to Eminence strategic plan, which included the recruitment of more than 90 distinguished faculty, including “game changers”. whose transformative ideas in biomedical science could change the practice of medicine. At the same time he invested in current faculty through programs like the Imagine, Innovate, Impact Award (I3), which stimulated collaboration and new ideas. These seed grants resulted in a return on investment of more than 6:1 nowadays.
Along with Stephens and other health science leaders, Sukhatme recognized the need for improved research infrastructure to support the growing research enterprise, and co-led the construction and programming of the Health Sciences Research Building IIEmory’s largest research building to date, scheduled to open in the spring of 2023.
He has worked to elevate support for innovation and entrepreneurship at Emory, frequently espousing the values he sees as key drivers of innovation: aacceleration, bold age, vsonctivity, Ddriven by ata, eengagement and inclusion, and Fand.
Of course, COVID-19 was not part of the strategic plan. “I had not anticipated a global pandemic to occur during my tenure or the tumultuous times that followed, but each of you rose to the challenge with remarkable courage and resilience,” Sukhatme said in a post. to the School of Medicine community. “For that, I can’t thank you enough: I’m so grateful and proud.”
Despite the challenges, the School of Medicine’s research enterprise continued to reach new heights under Sukhatme’s leadership, recording significant growth in the total number of NIH-funded researchers and reaching a total of 588 million. dollars in research funding in FY22.
Transforming education and focusing on people
Emory School of Medicine’s educational programs are highly ranked and widely known for producing superior clinical providers and outstanding scientists. Over the past year, Sukhatme has partnered with Associate Executive Dean J. William Eley, MD, MPH, and other school stakeholders to launch an “educational transformation” across all SOM study programs.
Incorporating new content and teaching methods focused on lifelong learning, the transformation aims to ensure that the School of Medicine’s curriculum meets the demands of clinicians and scientists to solve the problems of health that we face today and in the future.
Under Sukhatme’s leadership, the The medical school student body has become increasingly diverse. Thirty percent of Emory’s current medical student population identify as historically underrepresented in medicine (URiM). The first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan for medical school was also launched and is currently being implemented. “I am… thrilled with the progress of our education transformation initiative and the early impact of our first strategic plan on diversity, equity and inclusion,” says Sukhatme.
He is passionate about the unique and important role physicians and scientists must play in addressing inequality. “The world we live in today is increasingly fractured, but medicine has incredible power to heal and connect – across races, religious beliefs, across everything.”
An example of Sukhatme’s focus on innovation to make good health more accessible to all is the creation of the Morningside Center for Innovative and Affordable Medicine, an interdisciplinary unit within the Woodruff Health Sciences Center. Jhe center was co-founded by Sukhatme and his wife, Vidula Sukhatme, MS, to promote research, education and advocacy regarding the critical need to redirect medications and other treatments that are not pursued due to a lack of sufficient financial incentive.
After the deanship, Sukhatme plans to remain active in the medical school full-time, leading the Morningside Center and the Clinics of the Future initiative. He will also participate in teaching activities at the School of Medicine and through Emory.
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