A Message from the UA Senior Vice President for Health Sciences

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Greetings, College of Medicine Alumni!

In my last message, I said I would share the latest developments in a number of key UA College of Medicine -- Tucson leadership searches, and I’m happy to announce several major new appointments.

Dr. Andrew S. Kraft, nationally noted prostate cancer physician-scientist and cancer center administrator, has been named director of the University of Arizona Cancer Center and the center’s Sydney E. Salmon endowed chair. He also will serve as associate vice president for oncology programs for the Arizona Health Sciences Center, and he joins the UA College of Medicine – Tucson as tenured professor of medicine in the Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, and as senior associate dean for translational research. Dr. Kraft’s strengths include developing and implementing clinical trials, recruiting outstanding faculty and successfully shepherding the construction of cancer center facilities – all important needs for UACC. He will join us in September.

Dr. Leigh A. Neumayer, a noted breast cancer surgeon and researcher, has been appointed the first female head of the UA Department of Surgery. She is one of six women surgery department heads in the nation. A renowned expert in women’s health and surgical education, she also has been named the Margaret E. and Fenton L. Maynard Endowed Chair in Breast Cancer Research. She replaces Alexander G. Chiu, MD, who has served as acting head of the department since September 2013. She is scheduled to begin her new leadership role on Aug. 18. Dr. Neumayer received her medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, then completed her general surgery residency training with us in 1990 and served for two years on the faculty.

In addition, Dr. Jason X.-J. Yuan was appointed associate vice president for translational health sciences at the Arizona Health Sciences Center and also joined the UA College of Medicine – Tucson as professor of medicine, with a joint appointment as professor of physiology. He is directing his highly competitive and innovative research program in translational and clinical pulmonary hypertension and vascular medicine, working with research groups across the UA campus. In addition, he will establish a new Division of Translational and Regenerative Medicine to enhance this area of research at the UA. He joined us May 1.

Following the recent recruitment of Scott D. Lick, MD, and Nancy K. Sweitzer, MD, PhD, the UA Medical Center – University Campus has reactivated its Heart Transplant Program after receiving approval from the United Network for Organ Sharing. Dr. Lick joined the College of Medicine April 1 as professor in the UA Department of Surgery, Division of Cardiovascular Surgery, and director of UAMC’s Heart Transplant Program. He also did his residencies in general surgery and cardiothoracic surgery here in the early 1990s. Dr. Sweitzer, a board-certified advanced heart failure and transplant cardiologist and physiologist, became director of the UA Sarver Heart Center and chief of the Division of Cardiology in the UA College of Medicine, Department of Medicine on March 1.

The search for a new head of the Department of Medicine is proceeding and we expect to fill that important position in the near future.

As you can tell, this is an exciting time for the Arizona Health Sciences Center and the College of Medicine. These new leaders bring a demonstrated track record of succcess in contributing to the advancement of academic medicine. With the support of our faculty, staff and alumni, we are well on our way to achieving our goal of becoming the Southwest’s premier academic health center.

Finally, a hearty congratulations to the Class of 2014 as they embark on their residencies and become MedCats for Life!

Joe G.N. “Skip” Garcia, MD
UA Senior Vice President for Health Sciences
Interim Dean, UA College of Medicine – Tucson