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Email from Steven DeKosky, VP/Dean, School of Medicine

June 14, 2012 — By now many of you have learned that President Sullivan will be stepping down as UVA’s president on August 15, 2012. An interim president will soon be named and the search will begin for President Sullivan’s successor.

The announcement was a surprise to all of us. The deans and vice presidents learned the news Sunday morning just before the announcement went out to the community at large. I was at that meeting, and the conversation and questions were focused on understanding the Board's position and plans for leadership transition.

President Sullivan has been a strong advocate for the School of Medicine and UVA Health System. She always exhibited a warm interpersonal style and a sincere interest in our alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends. She shared our commitment to the success and well-being of the Health System and helped to focus attention on a new Health System Strategic Plan and the successful transition to our Next Gen medical school curriculum.

In her announcement, Rector Helen Dragas spoke about significant challenges faced by the University, including financial pressures, faculty recruitment and retention, pressures on tuition, and the use and expenses of new technology. She also indicated that the pace of change needs to quicken to meet these complex challenges. The announcement referenced the need to make difficult resource allocation decisions in this time of great challenge and change for higher education, medical research, and health care in general.

In the School of Medicine, we have been responding, and will continue to respond, to this environment through innovation in our programs, a newly evolving strategic plan, new targeted centers of excellence, engagement with other medical institutions, and other direct approaches. We need to focus on these issues and position the School of Medicine and the Health System for continued growth and success, while assuring fiscal responsibility.

Clearly, we have much more to do. We need our faculty, staff, students, and alumni to work together, to innovate, to forge ahead with our strategic plan, and to achieve continued excellence.

At this time of transition, I ask for continued confidence in our most important assets: our people. Please let me know if you have questions or concerns, and thank you for all that you do for the School of Medicine, the Health System, and the University.

Respectfully,
Steven T. DeKosky, MD, FAAN, FACP
Vice President and Dean, University of Virginia School of Medicine

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