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UCI Could Reconfigure Duties for Medical Post

The search for a new chief executive for UC Irvine Medical Center will likely take awhile as another key job gets reconfigured.

The University of California-Irvine is also looking for someone to fill the dual roles of vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.

The person in that position would ultimately oversee the medical center and its 411-bed hospital in Orange.

Whoever lands those duties will have some expanded responsibilities, according to UC Irvine.

“At a lot of academic medical centers, including the other UC medical centers, the vice chancellor for health affairs is [over] the entire medical enterprise, and also serves as the dean [of the medical school],” said UC Irvine Health spokesperson John Murray. “The CEO [of the medical center] reports to him—we are moving towards that.”

UCI defines the “medical enterprise” as all of its clinical and academic programs, including nursing and pharmacology schools, as well as the hospital and the School of Medicine. A shift of nursing and pharmacology programs to the portfolio of the vice chancellor would be new for UCI.

The immediate duties of the person selected as vice chancellor and dean will likely include the search for a successor to Terry Belmont, current chief executive of the medical center who recently announced plans to retire on June 30.

“Our new vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, as that person is identified, will consult with me and the committee on the search” for the medical center’s next chief executive, UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman said in an e-mail.

Gillman became UCI’s chancellor in late 2014. He succeeded Michael Drake, who is now president of Ohio State University.

Gillman’s office has a Web page that invites “applications and nominations” for the vice chancellor position.

“The university seeks a visionary leader with skills to manage and guide a complex/multi-constituent organization, who is decisive while fair, and focused on clinical and research excellence,” the page said.

The page mentions that whoever gets the job must join “the clinical and academic enterprise in a unifying goal: to make fundamental advances that will lead to new treatments for disease, to teach the next generation of globally preeminent physicians and scientists and to offer world-class health care to the region and the nation.”

It is signed by Ilene Nagel, leader of the higher education practice at New York-based executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates. Nagel is serving as a consultant to the search committee for the vice chancellor for health affairs position.

UCI has been looking for an associate vice chancellor for nearly a year—a period that has included the transition of leadership from Drake to Gillman.

Dr. Ralph Clayman stepped down from the medical school dean’s post seven months ago. Clayman, who had served for five years in that job, returned to the faculty and his clinical practice, the school said.

UCI picked Dr. Roger Steinert to serve as interim dean. Steinert is an eye surgeon, current chair of the ophthalmology department at UCI, and chief of ophthalmology at UC Irvine Medical Center.

Belmont served in the top spot at the 411-bed academic medical center for six years. He was appointed interim chief executive and then elevated to the permanent position in 2009 to succeed Maureen Zehntner, who retired.

Zehntner became the hospital’s leader at a time it was dealing with the aftermath of several scandals, including allegations of mismanagement of its liver transplant program, a problem with its willed body program involving the sale of cadavers, and the discovery that a professor misspent money on software rather than cancer research.

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