Welcome to the official website of the executive vice president for Medical Affairs (EVPMA). The EVPMA is an executive officer of the University of Michigan, reporting directly to the President and serving as a member of the President’s senior leadership team. The EVPMA is responsible for the leadership and management of the University of Michigan Health System, which consists of the Hospitals and Health Centers, the Medical School, the Michigan Health Corporation and the clinical activities of the School of Nursing.
In 1848, the University of Michigan’s Board of Regents approved creation of a medical school. The school opened two years later in 1850, commencing a proud legacy of medicine at Michigan. Almost two decades later, in 1869, medical faculty took a revolutionary step when they converted a professor’s house on campus into a hospital where patients could be examined and undergo surgery. In doing so, they established the nation’s first hospital in an academic setting.
For more than a century, the administration of the medical school and the administration of University Hospital were entirely separate. In both cases, the duties inherent in meeting administrative goals were modest by comparison with today. Until the 1960s, for instance, the dean of the Medical School was able to maintain a private practice and manage a department in addition to carrying out his/her responsibilities as dean. As the complexities of medical education, medical research and patient care grew, and as the stature and size of the medical school and University Hospital increased, it became apparent that more sophisticated management and coordination was needed.
In response, in 1984 the Regents created the new position of vice provost for Medical Affairs to provide direct oversight to the dean of the medical school and the director of the hospital. George Zuidema, M.D., who had served on the Michigan medical faculty before heading surgery at Johns Hopkins for 20 years, was appointed as the inaugural vice provost for Medical Affairs. Guiding the beginnings of an integrated system, Dr. Zuidema oversaw the creation and implementation of M-Care and the growth of a network of clinics. After his retirement in 1994, Rhetaugh G. Dumas, Ph.D., who had served as dean of the School of Nursing, held the position of vice provost for Health Affairs, reporting to the University provost.
In 1997, review by the Regents resulted in the creation of the position of executive vice president for medical affairs (EVPMA), reporting to the president of the University. The EVPMA would be responsible for coordinating and uniting the activities of the hospitals, health centers, M-Care and the medical school with the larger University. Gilbert S. Omenn, M.D., Ph.D., was recruited from the University of Washington to be the University’s first EVPMA. He led the integration of the separate units into the U-M Health System, emphasizing the synergies across teaching, research, patient care and engagement with the larger community. He returned to genetics research and national leadership on health care issues in 2002 after steering the Health System through five years of clinical and research growth and achieving financial stability. The post was then assumed briefly by interim appointee Lazar J. Greenfield, M.D., an emeritus member of the surgery faculty widely known for his invention of the Greenfield filter, an implanted devise reducing pulmonary embolisms. Dr. Greenfield had served as chair of the Department of Surgery for 15 years.
In 2003, Robert P. Kelch, M.D., a pediatric endocrinologist who had dedicated most of his career to the University of Michigan as a faculty member and then chair of the Department of Pediatrics, returned as EVPMA under University president Mary Sue Coleman. Prior to coming “home” to Michigan, Dr. Kelch was dean and then vice president of health affairs at the University of Iowa for nine years when Dr. Coleman served as president there. Under his guidance, the University of Michigan Health System moved forward in a position of strength, focused on its mission to improve the health of patients, populations and communities through excellence in education, patient care, community service, research and technology development, and through leadership activities in Michigan, as well as nationally and internationally.
In 2009, another pediatric endocrinologist took the reins when Ora H. Pescovitz, M.D., became the health system’s first female EVPMA. Dr. Pescovitz helped articulate a vision for creating the future of health care through discovery and advanced the institution on its path to national leadership in health care, health care reform, biomedical innovation and medical education. During her tenure, Dr. Pescovitz oversaw creation and implementation of a strategic plan to keep UMHS sound and strong amidst a complex and changing national health care environment. Under her leadership, UMHS expanded its reach via statewide partnerships and affiliations, made significant progress developing the North Campus Research Complex into a translational research hub, launched the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the health system’s history and elevated diversity, health equity and inclusion to be high-level priorities.
In 2014, U-M Medical School graduate Michael M.E. Johns, M.D., was appointed interim EVPMA.