May 8, 2009
Contact: Public Affairs and Publications, 508-856-2000; ummsnews@umassmed.edu

UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS MEDICAL SCHOOL APPOINTS COMMUNITY AFFAIRS LEADER

James B. Leary named Associate Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs



WORCESTER, Mass.—University of Massachusetts Medical School Chancellor Michael F. Collins, MD, announced the appointment of James B. Leary as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs. Mr. Leary, a lifelong resident of Worcester who has spent the majority of his career in the city, will strengthen and promote the Medical School’s relationships with community organizations, civic leaders and government representatives of the City of Worcester and Central Massachusetts, advancing the missions of both the community and the Medical School. Leary, 42, who is currently the Chief of Staff for Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray, will join the Medical School in early June.

“Early in my chancellorship, discussions I had with the city and the Medical School’s numerous constituents made clear a real need for an individual to focus on the Medical School’s role in our community—our responsibilities and the many opportunities to benefit both the region and the school,” said Dr. Collins. “Jim Leary is rooted in the Worcester community, professionally, socially and personally, and I look forward to supporting him in this tremendously important role.”

As Associate Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs, Leary will act as the Medical School’s representative to the community, attending area events and serving as the Chancellor’s designee on civic committees and in organizations such as the Colleges of Worcester Consortium. He will compile and maintain an inventory of all institutional and individual involvement in the community across the UMass Medical School enterprise, and will promote and encourage the community service efforts of the Medical School, its faculty, staff and students. He will serve as a conduit for community organizations seeking support, sponsorship and collaboration with the Medical School. Among his first assignments, Leary will participate with other Medical School and UMass Memorial Health Care representatives assisting with the evaluation of public health needs for the Worcester community.

As chair of a 2004 task force established by then-Worcester Mayor Timothy P. Murray to study and recommend ways in which the city, local colleges and the business community can work together to promote economic development, Leary has particular insight into the opportunities for coordinated efforts.

“As a longtime and very active resident of the city, I understand the needs of the Worcester community and the city residents’ desire for a productive relationship with our institutions of higher education. Our task force report emphasized that long-term planning, consistent communication and coordination of efforts between our higher education institutions and the community can yield tremendous benefits to each,” said Leary. “I look forward to working with Chancellor Collins and his team to apply these principles to the relationship between UMass Medical School and the Greater Worcester community. Sustained collaborations will undoubtedly benefit the city, its neighborhoods and residents, and the Medical School itself.”

Leary, the unanimous selection of an eight-person search committee that reviewed applications and interviewed a number of candidates, graduated magna cum laude in 1989 from Assumption College in Worcester and received his law degree in 1995 from University Law Center in Washington, DC. He completed his clerkship in the Massachusetts Superior Court and was an Assistant District Attorney in the Office of the District Attorney for the Middle District (Worcester) from 1996 to 1998 before working in private law in the city for several years. In 2000, he was elected as State Representative for the 14th Worcester District, representing the City of Worcester and the Town of West Boylston for three terms. While State Representative, he served as the Vice Chair of the Committee on Labor & Workforce Development and as a member of several other committees, including the Health Care Finance Committee and the Judiciary Committee. As Chief of Staff and Counsel to the Lieutenant Governor since 2007, Leary has overseen policy and interagency affairs, press, intergovernmental affairs and constituent services. He regularly interacts with elected officials and staff at the municipal, state and federal level. Leary lives in Worcester with his wife, Carolyn, and their three children.

Since its founding in the 1960s, the Medical School has been a major community partner and business leader. Under Chancellor Collins, the Medical School, with its clinical partner, UMass Memorial Health Care and President and CEO John G. O’Brien, has committed to identifying and implementing a marquee public service initiative to bring to bear the skills and resources of both institutions upon a key need among constituents of the region. Leary will be part of a team that implements, monitors and measures the results of this initiative.

The Medical School has a considerable portfolio of longstanding community programs and projects that address particular health, mental health, educational and social needs or concerns in the area. Beyond the thousands of volunteer hours that students and staff contribute in clinics and programs throughout their communities, the Medical School itself supports a number of projects. For example, UMMS faculty serve on the Infant Mortality Reduction Task Force; provide oversight for the Foster Child Health Care program; established and facilitate the Injury-Free Coalition For Kids-Worcester to prevent childhood injury; operate the Positive Life Skills Program for HIV-positive women looking to improve their lives; house the Regional Medical Library, which is open to the public; participate in the Latino Community Partnerships; manage and support the Massachusetts Area Health Education Center; provide guidance for the Regional Science Resource Center to bring science education tools to the public schools; manage the Worcester Pipeline Collaborative to encourage youth to consider careers in health and science; established and operate the Worcester Teen-Tot Connection to support teen parents; and sponsor and host the Walk to Cure Cancer.

About the University of Massachusetts Medical School
The University of Massachusetts Medical School is one of five campuses of the University system and one of the fastest growing academic health centers in the country. It encompasses the School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the Graduate School of Nursing, a thriving research enterprise that attracts more than $200 million annually in research funding, and an innovative public service initiative called Commonwealth Medicine. The mission of the University of Massachusetts Medical School is to advance the health and well-being of the people of the Commonwealth and the world through pioneering education, research, public service and health care delivery with our clinical partner, UMass Memorial Health Care.