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University of Massachusetts launches Medical School chancellor search

The University of Massachusetts today announced that it has established the committee that will guide the search for a permanent Chancellor for the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

The search committee will be chaired by Trustee Philip W. Johnston. Johnston is a member of the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees and a former state legislator and gubernatorial cabinet secretary. Nobel Laureate Craig C. Mello, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, Blais University Chair in Molecular Medicine and professor of molecular medicine and cell biology, will serve as vice chair. 

The committee, established by University of Massachusetts Trustees Chairman Robert J. Manning in consultation with Board colleagues and with President Jack M. Wilson, will be charged with identifying finalists for the University of Massachusetts Medical School Chancellor position. The names of the finalists would be transmitted to President Wilson, who would then make an appointment that would go to the University's Board of Trustees for final approval.

The University is seeking a permanent successor to former Chancellor Aaron Lazare, who stepped down as Chancellor last year but continues to serve as the Celia and Isaac Haidak Professor in Medical Education and professor of psychiatry at the Medical School.

In establishing the search committee, Chairman Manning said: "The University is very fortunate to have been able to assemble a committee that brings together the skill, experience and expertise needed to bring this search to a very successful conclusion. I deeply appreciate the commitment of time and energy that our volunteer members are making to this effort. They are making an invaluable contribution to the University and to its Medical School."

Said President Wilson: "The University of Massachusetts Medical School is one of the finest medical schools in the world. It is a nationally recognized medical education leader and is on the cutting edge of medical research. I am confident that this search will culminate with the selection of an outstanding leader who will be able to build on the successes of the past and help to usher UMass Medical School into a new era of accomplishment and greatness."

Trustee Johnston, a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, said he was "pleased and honored to have been asked to lead this very distinguished search committee." He added: "This committee has been entrusted with an important responsibility: identifying candidates who possess the myriad skills needed to lead this complex and ever-growing academic, research and service enterprise. I am fully confident that UMass Medical School, as one of the nation's great medical institutions, will attract candidates of the highest caliber."

As founder and President of Philip W. Johnston Associates, Johnston consults on health and human services issues from his offices in Boston, Western Massachusetts and Washington D.C. and also serves as Chairman of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation and Chairman of the Massachusetts Health Policy Forum.

Johnston served as Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts under Governor Michael S. Dukakis from 1984 to1991. Before his work as Secretary, Johnston served for five terms as state representative from the 10th Plymouth District in Massachusetts. He also served as New England Administrator of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The University of Massachusetts Medical School, one of the fastest growing academic health centers in the country, has built a reputation as a world-class research institution, consistently producing noteworthy advances in clinical and basic research.  The Medical School attracts $189 million in research funding annually, 80 percent of which comes from federal funding sources. The work of UMMS researcher Craig C. Mello, PhD, an investigator of the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), and his colleague Andrew Z. Fire, PhD, then of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, toward the discovery of RNA interference was awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and has spawned a new and promising field of research. UMMS is the academic partner of UMass Memorial Health Care, the largest health care provider in Central Massachusetts.

The members of the search committee are:

Chairman: Trustee Philip W. Johnston

Vice Chairman: Craig C. Mello, PhD

  • John F. Blais, Founder and President of BlaisCo, LLC
  • Michael P. Czech, PhD, Chair, Molecular Medicine
  • Jennifer S. Daly, MD, Professor, Infectious Diseases and Immunology
  • Walter H. Ettinger, Jr., MD, MBA, President, UMass Memorial Medical Center and Associate Vice Provost for Clinical and Population Health Research
  • Marianne E. Felice, MD, Chair, Pediatrics
  • Robert W. Finberg, MD, Chair, Medicine
  • Terence R. Flotte, MD, Executive Deputy Chancellor, Dean and Provost for the School of Medicine
  • Charles J. Hoff, Former Chairman and CEO of Universal/Univis, Inc.
  • James R. Julian, Jr., JD, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, President's Office
  • Daniel H. Lasser, MD, MPH, Chair, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health
  • Katherine F. Ruiz de Luzuriaga, MD, Professor, Pediatrics
  • Trustee Bharath D. Nath, Student Trustee
  • Trustee Kerri E. Osterhaus-Houle, MD, Alumna and Partner, Women's Health of Central Massachusetts
  • Linda A. Pape, MD, Professor, Medicine
  • Trustee Janet D. Pearl, MD, Co-Director of Pain Management Center at St. Elizabeth's Medical Center
  • Paulette Seymour Route, PhD, RN, MS, Alumna and Dean of Graduate School of Nursing
  • Marian Wilson, PhD, Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Equal Opportunity
  • Marcellette G. Williams, PhD, Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and International Relations, President's Office

Information about the search can be found at:

Contact: Robert P. Connolly, 617-287-7073




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