TERENCE R. FLOTTE NAMED DEAN OF THE SCHOOL OF MEDICINE
April 2, 2007
WORCESTER, Mass. - Terence R. Flotte, MD, a widely respected physician-scientist, has been appointed dean of the School of Medicine and executive deputy chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS). Dr. Flotte will officially begin his new position effective May 15, 2007.
Flotte, whose appointment was announced today by University of Massachusetts President Jack M. Wilson, was selected from a national applicant field by a Search Committee comprising faculty and leadership from UMass Medical School, the President's Office and UMass Memorial Health Care, the Medical School's clinical partner. He succeeds Aaron Lazare, MD, who served as the Medical School's Dean since 1990; Dr. Lazare began a year-long sabbatical on March 15, 2007, after leading the Medical School for more than 16 years. Lazare and Wilson had jointly decided to separate the roles of Chancellor and Dean and were in the process of searching for the Dean when Lazare decided to step down and return to faculty service for health reasons. Wilson will work closely with Flotte and other UMMS leaders until a succession plan is developed
Flotte joins UMMS from the University of Florida (UF), where he was the Nemours Eminent Scholar and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics for the College of Medicine. As dean and executive deputy chancellor, Flotte will serve UMMS as chief academic and administrative officer of the School of Medicine, assisting in the development and implementation of a strategic vision for the school's future. Accordingly, he will oversee all academic activities of the basic and clinical science departments, including education and research for the School of Medicine and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.
In accepting the role as dean, Flotte says he looks forward to capitalizing on UMMS' existing strengths, while moving aggressively ahead in other strategic areas. "I look forward to helping the University of Massachusetts Medical School maintain its distinctive academic focus. In the current era of academic health care, there is a pressing responsibility for improved systems of care, ongoing quality improvement and fiscal responsibility. However, these imperatives must be balanced against the need to maintain a clear focus on the academic missions that create the unique identity of great teaching and research institutions," he said.
"I am extremely confident that Dr. Flotte will lead the School of Medicine with the same confidence, skill, perseverance and academic and medical acumen that have characterized his tenure at the University of Florida," said President Wilson. "He has demonstrated the ability and the passion to lead the Medical School on its path toward national distinction in education, research, clinical practice and public service."
Search Committee Chair David C. Ayers, MD, the Arthur Pappas Chair in Orthopedics and professor and chair of the Department of Orthopedics & Physical Rehabilitation at UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial, described Flotte as an accomplished physician, researcher and administrator. "Dr. Flotte understands the complexities of the multiple missions of an academic medical center, including the delivery of state-of-the-art clinical care, the challenges inherent in the pursuit and application of new knowledge through clinical and translational research, and providing medical education for our students and residents that is nationally respected. He has proven himself as a progressive leader in the field of biomedical sciences, and as dean, I believe he will provide great vision and outstanding leadership as we realize our goal of recognition among the top-tier, nationally ranked medical schools in the United States," Dr. Ayers said.
Flotte received his undergraduate degree in the biological sciences from the University of New Orleans in 1982, and his medical degree from the Louisiana State University School of Medicine in 1986. After serving his residency in pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University, he completed a pediatric pulmonary fellowship and postdoctoral training in molecular virology there in 1992.
In 1996, Flotte joined the faculty of the University of Florida and was appointed Associate Director of UF's Powell Gene Therapy Center. In 2000, he was named Director of the Powell Center and founding Director of the newly established UF Genetics Institute, a cross-campus multidisciplinary unit encompassing gene therapy, human genetics, agricultural genetics and comparative genomics. In 2002, Flotte stepped down from these roles to accept the position of Chair of the Department of Pediatrics.
As UF Pediatrics Chair, Flotte has led the department in a number of key projects, including the establishment of a Division of Cellular and Molecular Therapy that has garnered more than $2 million per year in extramural funding from the National Institutes of Health and the creation of the Congenital Heart Disease Center of Excellence, which combines cutting-edge clinical care from pediatric cardiac surgery and cardiology in a unique single-line-of-business entity. Under his stewardship, the research grant revenue to the Department of Pediatrics has nearly doubled and clinical revenue has increased by nearly 50 percent. Key faculty recruits and high productivity in critical strategic areas, such as translational research in regenerative medicine and vital clinical programs in congenital heart disease, neurology and hematology-oncology, also characterized Flotte's successful UF tenure.
An internationally known pioneer in human gene therapy, Flotte is currently investigating the use of gene therapy for genetic diseases that affect children, mainly cystic fibrosis. In 1995, Flotte and his colleagues at Johns Hopkins became the first to use the apparently harmless adeno-associated virus, or AAV, as a vehicle to deliver corrective genes to targeted sites in the body, including the damaged airways of adults with cystic fibrosis. Since joining UF, Flotte has continued his pediatric practice while pursuing clinical trials and basic laboratory research to determine how to treat genetic disorders using vectors, or viruses modified to carry corrective genes. He is the author of more than 130 scholarly papers and his research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Flotte's established record as a physician-scientist also prepares him to lead UMMS initiatives in the progression of clinical and translational research. "One of the greatest challenges and opportunities for UMMS going forward is to take the lead in translational research to develop new therapies for human diseases," Flotte explained, adding, "The translational research mission will require top-tier institutions such as this to make major investments in the infrastructure required to take a potential therapy from the stage of positive proof-of-principle studies into early phase clinical trials. I believe that UMass Medical School has great potential to make possible true revolutions in the application of basic science knowledge to enhance clinical care."
Flotte has received numerous honors and awards including the Society for Pediatric Research's E. Mead Johnson Award for Outstanding Scientific Contributions and the University of Florida Faculty Research Prize in Clinical Science. He is a member of the American Society for Gene Therapy and the American Society of Microbiology, among many other professional associations.
In addition to Ayers, Search Committee members included representatives from the University, the Medical School and UMass Memorial Health Care. Serving on the committee were: Dario C. Altieri, MD; Donna M. Ambrosino, MD; Deborah M. DeMarco, MD; Joanne Derr; Robert W. Finberg, MD; Michael R. Green, MD, PhD; James R. Julian, Jr., JD; Daniel H. Lasser, MD, MPH; Demetrius E. M. Litwin, MD, MBA; Craig C. Mello, PhD; Bruce A. Meyer, MD, MBA; John G. O'Brien, MBA; Judith K. Ockene, PhD; Gary S. Stein, PhD; Carole C. Upshur, EdD; UMass President Jack M. Wilson, PhD; and Marian Wilson, PhD.
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