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Trio named to new leadership roles in School of Medicine

BY: MAEGAN RUDD

11/21/2008 - Three Vanderbilt University School of Medicine faculty members are taking on new leadership roles.

• Susan Wente, Ph.D., has been named assistant vice chancellor for Research.

• David Raiford, M.D., will become senior associate dean for Faculty Affairs and assistant vice chancellor for Health Affairs.

• Lynn Webb, Ph.D., M.B.A., has been named assistant vice chancellor for Health Affairs.

Raiford and Webb assumed their new duties Nov. 15, while Wente's appointment is effective Dec. 1.

“I am thrilled that Susan, David and Lynn are taking on these exciting new responsibilities,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. “They bring enthusiasm, dedication, expertise and a deep commitment to our vision and culture.”

Wente's new duties will focus on the basic science enterprise. She will work with faculty to enhance communication and will help nurture the progress of VMC's basic discovery programs.

“Susan is a superb scientist and a leader with proven management skills,” said Balser. “She will be highly effective in carrying forward initiatives that faculty have developed through our basic science strategic planning activities.”

Wente is chair of the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology and associate director of the Medical Scientist Training Program. Before coming to Vanderbilt, she served on the faculty at Washington University in St. Louis.

She earned her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of California, Berkley, and completed postdoctoral fellowships at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and The Rockefeller University. Her research focuses on the exchange of proteins and RNA between the nucleus and cytoplasm.

“I know this will be a new challenge, and that is exciting,” Wente said. “I am passionate about the basic science research here at Vanderbilt and want to work with everyone to increase the impact of our discoveries.”

Raiford came to Vanderbilt in 1991 to develop a new interdisciplinary liver disease program. Since then, he has served as chair of the Medical Center Conflict of Interest Committee and is professor of Medicine, Medical Education and Administration. He also maintains an active clinical practice and directs Vanderbilt's Hepatology program.

He earned his M.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he completed his postgraduate training in Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

“David has done extraordinary work supporting our faculty, and his responsibilities have grown to include coordination of faculty affairs activities with senior leadership throughout the University,” said Balser. “David is an innovator and leader in the development of programs to address the challenges and opportunities we share in our careers in academic medicine.”

“I am grateful for and honored by this acknowledgment,” Raiford said. “It will be a privilege to contribute further as part of a terrific senior leadership team.”

Webb will work on staff affairs in both the School of Medicine and the Vanderbilt Medical Group. He came to Vanderbilt in 1993 as director of the Vanderbilt Clinic and chief operations officer for Vanderbilt Medical Group.

He also served as chief executive officer of the Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital, and most recently was chief of staff to the dean of the School of Medicine.

Webb earned his Ph.D. in Educational Administration and higher education from Southern Illinois University, an M.B.A. from the University of Illinois, Springfield, and a master's degree in counseling psychology from Illinois State University.

“Lynn has a wealth of experience and deep familiarity with our Medical Center and University,” Balser said. “He will be a highly effective partner in supporting chairs, center directors, administrators and managers in staff performance, satisfaction and quality.”

“My 15 years at the Medical Center have been very rewarding and I greatly appreciate and look forward to this new opportunity,” Webb said.

“The quality and satisfaction of our staff is a key ingredient in the past and future success of our Medical Center. I look forward to partnering with our departmental and VMG leaders, as well as our human resources professional staff, to find ways to further develop a highly effective and satisfying work environment.”

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