Acting CEO Named at University of Rochester Medical Center

Berk’s Recovery Will Require Months of Rehabilitation

June 01, 2009

Mark B. Taubman, M.D.

University of Rochester President Joel Seligman announced today that Mark B. Taubman, M.D., chair of the Department of Medicine, will serve as acting CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), while Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D. recuperates from a serious spinal injury.

Since Berk was appointed Medical Center CEO in 2006, he has presided over the creation of an ambitious strategic plan and has successfully guided the $1.4 billion enterprise through a difficult economic climate. The goal, said Seligman, is to maintain URMC’s considerable forward momentum while Berk recovers. 

“Brad Berk was my first choice to lead the Medical Center three years ago and he is still my first choice to lead this Medical Center. I look forward to him being the CEO of our  Medical Center for years to come,” Seligman said. “But, there’s no question that, for the foreseeable future, Brad will need to devote his full attention and energies to his recovery. We owe it to him to give him the opportunity to do that.”

Seligman noted the strong and experienced leadership team already in place at URMC, but acknowledged that it’s necessary to have a single leader with decision-making ability for the entire Medical Center.

“Mark is the right leader at this time,” Seligman said. “He’s an accomplished scientist, educator, and clinician who has earned the respect of faculty and administrative leaders. He’s eminently qualified, has a proven ability to make tough decisions, and he’s ready for the task. He’s deeply committed to the strategic vision that Brad has developed with the Medical Center leadership.” 

Taubman today serves as the chair of the largest single department in the Medical Center with over 1,000 faculty and staff who work in 10 units devoted to patient care, research, and education, and a $150 million budget. Berk recruited him to the University of Rochester in 2003 from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine where he served as director of Cardiovascular Research. When Berk was appointed CEO in 2007, Taubman was selected as chair and Charles E. Dewey Professor of Medicine after a national search.

As chair of Medicine, Taubman has recruited section chairs for several Medicine divisions, including General Medicine, Cardiology, Endocrinology, and Infectious Disease. As director of Cardiology and now chair of Medicine, Taubman has been the guiding force behind an expansion in patient care services, a focus on quality and efficiency, and strengthening treatments for patients. He has also led a critical effort to expand care throughout greater Rochester and forged strong clinical ties with many other hospitals in the region.

Taubman also served as director of the Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute which he helped to found. He is an internationally respected scientist and a recognized authority in vascular biology. The Aab CVRI is one of the largest research institutions in the nation dedicated to heart disease. He is editor-in-chief of the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, one of five medical journals produced by the American Heart Association. He has more than 120 publications, chapters and scholarly writings to his credit. 

“I’m honored that President Seligman and the Medical Center leadership have placed this faith in my ability to lead,” Taubman said. “It is Brad’s vision and my vision to make this into one of the nation’s greatest academic medical centers. In these last three years, Brad has made extraordinary strides in enhancing this institution clinically and scientifically. I hope to hand back to Brad an even stronger institution.”

Taubman is a graduate of New York University School of Medicine who completed his internship and fellowship training in cardiology at The Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He then practiced at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, holding various research and clinical positions until he was recruited to Rochester. 

As of today, Berk remains in the Kessler Family Burn Trauma ICU in guarded condition, but is medically stable. He has a serious spinal injury, but surgeons point to some hopeful signs. They caution that recovery from injuries of this nature requires weeks if not months of rehabilitation. 

 The University of Rochester Medical Center has established a website for individuals wishing to express their thoughts to Dr. Berk and his family. For regular updates on Dr. Berk’s condition or to write a message, please visit: www.urmc.rochester.edu/berk

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