Thomas Pearson, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D. will be leaving the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) to become the executive vice president for Research and Education at the University of Florida Health Sciences Center. The appointment will be effective October 1, 2013. Pearson currently serves as URMC senior associate dean for Clinical Research, director of the University of Rochester Clinical and Translation Science Institute (CTSI), and director of the Rochester Prevention Research Center.
Pearson is an internationally recognized authority in how to prevent heart disease by getting proper nutrition and exercise, quitting smoking, and using medications effectively. He is a major contributor to the American Heart Association’s guidelines for prevention of heart disease and stroke and a founding member of the World Heart Forum for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention. He was also among 13 scientific experts chosen to serve on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, which recommended changes to the current Dietary Guidelines, viewed as the cornerstone of American food policy. Pearson is the founding director of the National Center for Deaf Health Research, the world’s first and only research center focusing on the health issues for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.
In 2006, Pearson, along with then School of Medicine and Dentistry Dean David Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., successfully landed a $40 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical and Translational Science Award. URMC was one of the first 12 institutions to be accepted by the NIH for its translational research initiative and the grant still stands among the largest in the Medical Center’s history. As part of that program, Pearson led the organization of UNYTE, a unique network of 18 institutions performing biomedical research in upstate New York.
“Tom has left an indelible mark on the Medical Center’s research and education programs and we are deeply grateful for his contributions,” said Mark Taubman, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. “While his achievements are many, his role in the creation of the CTSI and the Saunders Research Building – which is the culmination of a decade-long effort to create academic home for clinical research at URMC – will stand as lasting testament to his vision and leadership.”
“My 16 years here at the University of Rochester have provided me with a deep appreciation and respect for the collegiality of the faculty, their commitment to the education and training of young people, and the strong commitment to the health and welfare of Rochester and upstate New York,” said Pearson. “Few institutions nationally can compare with the University of Rochester in these important ways. I am grateful for the chance to be part of it.”
An announcement regarding interim leadership of the CTSI will be made in the coming weeks along with the details of the search process by which permanent appointments for both CTSI director and senior associate dean will be selected.