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In late December, the University appointed three new administrators to usher in the new year: interim Assistant Vice President for Student Health and Counseling Alex Lickerman (M.D. ’92), Deputy Provost for Research and Minority Issues William McDade (Ph.D. ’88, M.D. ’90), and Communications Vice President for the University Medical Center Kathleen A. DeVries. Lickerman and McDade have already begun work in their new positions, and DeVries will start February 7.
Lickerman will work toward consolidating the University’s various student health–related services into one unified agency, with a particular focus on improving the resources provided by the Student Care Center (SCC).
Lickerman currently holds the position on an interim basis, and the search for a permanent administrator will begin at the end of this month, but he is focusing on the task at hand. “I’m approaching this job as if it’s mine,” he said. “I have short-term goals and long-term goals, and I am working on them simultaneously.”
Chief among those goals is the streamlining of the University’s existing health infrastructure. “The most immediate thing really is improving access: getting students into appointments at the Student Care Center in a timely way,” he said. Tackling the issue requires a two-pronged approach, he said: First, the physical space of the SCC has to be reformatted to maximize the number of students it can serve; second, the SCC needs to hire more care providers.
Also in the works is a new program geared toward spreading more health awareness in all forms—physical, emotional, mental, and even spiritual. While the initiative is only in its first planning stages, and Lickerman did not have many details to offer, he expressed excitement at the new project. “If I had one overriding goal,” he said, “it would be to turn student health from a topic of derision and despondency to one in which students are pleased and even proud of the services that are offered.”
The administration appointed Lickerman as part of an effort to provide a more comprehensive and better organized health network on campus. Lickerman is the first to hold the position.
McDade will be responsible for coordinating the University’s efforts to improve diversity among the faculty and student body. “We want to improve the environment to help people understand how diversity is the equivalent of excellence,” said McDade.
While he praised the diversity in some areas of the University, he said other departments could stand considerable improvement. “There are some areas where the University has not changed so much in the last few decades,” he said, singling out the physical sciences department as being particularly homogeneous.
McDade also wants to develop the University’s pipeline programs, or programs that recruit promising high school and college students from underrepresented minority groups interested in pursuing long-term careers here in medicine or health-related research.
He replaced Kenneth Warren, who occupied the position since its creation in 2005. McDade previously worked for 16 years on the admissions board at the Pritzker School of Medicine. The University has not yet identified a candidate to fill the admissions position.
DeVries will begin her work as communications vice president once she leaves her current position at the Barnes-Jewish Hospital & Medical Center in St. Louis early February.
Her primary responsibilities will be to coordinate marketing for the UCMC, which has faced criticism for its decision to focus on research and unusual cases rather than providing general care to South Side residents.