University of Rochester Names New Medical Center CEO

July 10, 2006 | Rochester, NY

University of Rochester President Joel Seligman today announced that Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D. has been selected as the new Senior Vice President for Health Sciences and CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and its patient care network, Strong Health. Berk will assume the post on August 1, 2006.

Renowned for his research into the cellular mechanisms that cause cardiovascular disease, Berk is a Brighton High School graduate who received medical and doctoral degrees from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. He held academic appointments at Harvard Medical School, Emory University, and University of Washington in Seattle before being recruited home to the University of Rochester Medical Center in 1998 to serve as Chief of Cardiology and Director of the newly formed Center for Cardiovascular Research in the Aab Institute for Biomedical Sciences. Within a year of his return, URMC named Berk as its Chair of Medicine.

"Brad Berk is an internationally respected scientist, academic administrator, and educator-clinician who has deep roots in Rochester," Seligman said. "He has an outstanding track record of building and integrating research, teaching, and clinical programs, and he impressed the Search Committees with his understanding of how to accelerate the progress of this Medical Center."

"It is a great honor to accept this position as Senior Vice President and CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center," Berk said. "I have been given many opportunities by the University of Rochester and feel that this is my chance to contribute to its future."

A Record of Achievement

Under Berk's leadership, the Center for Cardiovascular Research (now known as the Cardiovascular Research Institute) has thrived, now drawing more than $12 million in research grants annually. Simultaneously, the Department of Medicine has enjoyed similar growth, with the recruitment of 84 new faculty members which has helped to drive a 15% annual growth in research revenues and a doubling of patient care revenues. Berk has led an expansion of cardiac patient care services, launching a successful heart transplant service, expanding programs to treat deadly arrhythmias, establishing strong regional services, and adding new preventive cardiology programs. As Chair of Medicine, he has developed new Hospital Medicine and Geriatric Medicine divisions, and boosted access to cardiology, pulmonary, nephrology, and rheumatology programs by moving them to offsite locations.

"The University of Rochester Medical Center has been fortunate to have a long history of superior leadership. In appointing Brad Berk as Senior Vice President and CEO, the greater Rochester community and the nation can be assured of outstanding leadership for the Medical Center well into the future," said William A. Peck, M.D., Director of the Center for Health Policy at Washington University and Chair of the University of Rochester Trustees' Health Affairs Committee. "He is the right person at the right time to lead the significant future advances of this first class medical center."

Berk has been continuously funded for 20 years by the NIH for his cardiovascular research. With nearly 250 papers, books, chapters, and other publications to his credit, Berk is frequently invited to present his scientific work nationally and internationally.

Berk has received several honors, including membership in Alpha Omega Alpha honorary society, the Robert Kates and Doran Stephens Memorial Prizes in Research, the American Society for Hypertension's Marion Young Scholar Award, the American College of Cardiology's Young Investigator Award, and the American Heart Association's Established Investigator Award; he was also named an American Heart Association Katz Prize finalist, and received the Russell Ross Lectureship Award from the American Heart Association.

"Dr. Berk is one of the strongest academic leaders in this country. He is a creative investigator, a brilliant clinician, an inspiring educator, and a fair, decisive administrator," said Eugene Braunwald, M.D., Distinguished Hersey Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and long-time colleague of Berk. "He is a splendid choice for CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center and is certain to move this prestigious institution to even higher levels of excellence."

Looking Ahead

Among Berk's first tasks will be the completion of a comprehensive strategic plan for the University of Rochester Medical Center that integrates the research, teaching, patient care, and community health missions

"Brad has a genuine appreciation for the ways in which our research, education, and patient care missions must interplay," said Steven I. Goldstein, CEO of Strong Memorial and Highland Hospitals. "Plus, he's a decisive, clear-thinker who intimately understands the challenges and opportunities that face academic medicine nationally. In my opinion, there is no better choice than Brad Berk to lead this medical center. This is a very exciting day for URMC."

The Search Process

Berk's selection comes after a national search chaired by Seligman and involving a main Search Committee plus four advisory committees, a Board of Trustees Advisory Committee, a Community and Clinical Advisory Committee, an Education and Research Advisory Committee, and a Student Advisory Committee. Witt-Kiefer, national executive placement consultants, assisted with the search.

"I deeply appreciate the participation of dozens of individuals throughout the University in this pivotal appointment for both the University and the Rochester community," Seligman said. "Their perspectives have led to the selection of a candidate that will help to lead this University, its medical center, and indeed our community, to an exciting and productive future."

Additional information on Bradford C. Berk

For further information:
Teri D’Agostino
(585) 275-3676