Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Internal candidate named new executive vice chancellor at KU Medical Center

By MATT ERICKSON, The Lawrence Journal-World

Internal candidate Douglas Girod will take over the top job at the Kansas University Medical Center, KU announced Wednesday.

Girod currently the senior associate dean for clinical affairs at the KU School of Medicine, will become the Medical Center’s new executive vice chancellor on Feb. 1.

A surgeon, Girod joined the faculty at KUMC in 1994. He is also the chairman of the medical school’s Department of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery.

One of Girod’s first tasks after stepping in as the new KUMC leader is likely to be to begin a search for a dean of the School of Medicine.

Barbara Atkinson, who retired in June, had served as both medical-school dean and the executive vice chancellor for the campus. But KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little indicated a desire to split the jobs, and a search for a dean had already begun when Atkinson announced in April she would be leaving KU earlier than expected.

That search morphed into an effort to hire a new executive vice chancellor instead.

Girod and two external candidates — medical leaders at the University of Washington and Louisiana State University — were announced as finalists for the job in November.

The three finalists were selected by a search committee and took part in town hall meetings on the KUMC campus. After that, the hiring decision was in Gray-Little’s hands.

“Dr. Girod has been a steadfast leader during a time of profound transformation at the University of Kansas Medical Center, playing crucial roles over the last several years as we saw dynamic growth in all of our educational, clinical, research and community engagement missions,” Gray-Little said in a release. “He is enormously respected by his colleagues, his students, his fellow physicians and our community, and his vision will undoubtedly lead to more significant transformation in the years ahead.”

The Journal-World was unable to reach Girod on Wednesday. A KUMC spokeswoman said he was busy in surgery all day.

In a release, Girod said, “As we train future generations of health care professionals and continue to make world-changing discoveries in our laboratories and in our communities, we will be faced with tremendous challenges and opportunities — and we are blessed with extraordinary support from citizens, community leaders, donors, alumni and policymakers throughout the state of Kansas and across the state line in Missouri. I look forward to strengthening and expanding those relationships in an effort to improve the health of all.”

Girod earned his medical degree from the University of California at San Francisco in 1985 and completed two residencies and a National Institutes of Health research fellowship at the University of Washington in Seattle.

He has also published dozens of scholarly journal articles, given nearly 50 presentations for national and international groups, received numerous professional honors and has helped with international medical missions in countries including Uganda, Guatemala and the Philippines.

Ed Ellerbeck, KUMC’s preventive medicine and public health chairman and the leader of the search committee for the EVC position, said Girod impressed the committee with the job he’d done building the otolaryngology department, which he said excels in clinical service, research and education.

Girod has the respect of his peers at KUMC and nationally, Ellerbeck said, having been chosen for leadership spots at the Medical Center and for national organizations.

“He’s got a longstanding history as a well-recognized leader at KUMC,” Ellerbeck said.

Girod has shown an ability to build a successful clinical enterprise, Ellerbeck said, and clinical work will be very important to the medical center’s future.

Bob Page, president and CEO of the KU Hospital, said Girod played a key role in the hospital’s high spot on the U.S. News and World Report rankings of best hospitals for ear, nose and throat care — No. 20 on the most recent list.

Girod lives in Mission Hills with his wife. More of Girod’s career information is posted on a KUMC Web page set up to track the executive vice chancellor search.