Structural changes take effect at UCH

By Andrew Alexander

Dean of the Biological Sciences Division James Madara will now become chief executive officer of the University of Chicago Medical Center after reorganization of the U of C Hospitals (UCH) governance structure.

The Hospitals Board of Trustees will now oversee clinical medical activities in the Biological Sciences Division in addition to its current responsibilities, and will be renamed the University of Chicago Medical Board.

“It’s essentially an effort to unify leadership,” said John Easton, a spokesperson for UCH.

Madara, who is also vice president for Medical Affairs and dean of the Pritzker School of Medicine, will supervise the president of UCH. That position is currently vacant, with former president Michael Riordan having left in July to pursue other interests.

UCH expects to have a new president appointed by January 1, Easton said. The Medical Board will be headed by Valerie Jarrett, who has been vice chair of the Hospitals Board since 2002 and is vice chair of the U of C Board of Trustees.

The Medical Board will consist of Jarrett, Madara, University President Robert Zimmer, Board of Trustees Chair James Crown, and five other University trustees.

Jarrett’s predecessor as chair of the Hospitals Board, Paula Wolff, is stepping down after 10 years.

President Emeritus Don Randel said that university medical centers must bridge the gap between science and medicine.

“They cross back and forth between the cautious and deliberative cultures of a university and the fast-paced, market-based economy that increasingly dominates health care,” Randel said. “This adjustment is designed to bring additional unity, clarity and responsiveness to a system that has to straddle that difficult divide.”

The reorganization is the latest in a series of changes to UCH, which has an $800-million annual budget, according to the University’s 2004-2005 financial statement. The Comer Children’s Hospital opened last year, and two new buildings—the Comer Center for Specialty Care and the Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery—are under construction.