Ruth O’Regan Named Department of Medicine Chair

Sep. 23, 2020
Ruth O'Regan, M.D.

Ruth O’Regan, M.D., chief of Hematology, Medical Oncology and Palliative Care at the University of Wisconsin, has been named the next Charles A. Dewey Professor and Chair of Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center’s School of Medicine and Dentistry, pending approval by the University Board of Trustees.

O’Regan brings more than 20 years of experience in academic medicine and a distinguished history of research and publication to her new role, which she will begin Jan. 1, 2021.

“Dr. O’Regan’s career to date is a testament to excellence, and we’re both pleased and fortunate that she will be joining URMC,” said Mark Taubman, M.D., CEO of URMC. “Not only is she an engaging, upbeat leader with a history of innovation: She has a bold vision for our Department of Medicine, and a strong track record as a clinician, mentor and outstanding investigator in breast cancer. We’ll be able to rely on her wide-ranging expertise to help us to grow our program locally and enhance its national reputation, building on the strong foundations that already exist.”

O’Regan succeeds Paul Levy, M.D., who is stepping down after a transformative decade as chair. Medicine has nearly 500 faculty across 14 divisions, making it URMC’s largest clinical and academic department.

“Dr. O’Regan rose to the top in a highly competitive search that drew a broad range of strong candidates from across the nation,” said Michael Rotondo, M.D., CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Faculty Group. “Her expertise will guide our Department of Medicine into a successful future across its patient care, research and educational missions. And her background as a distinguished hematologist and oncologist will open the way for important synergies as the Wilmot Cancer Institute continues to pursue National Cancer Institute designation.”

O’Regan has held her current position at the University of Wisconsin since 2015. She is also an endowed professor of Hematology/Oncology, deputy director of the University’s Carbone Cancer Center, chief scientific officer of the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium and vice chair of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s Board of Directors.

“The Department of Medicine includes many different subspecialists and disciplines,” said Jeffrey Lyness, M.D., senior associate Dean for Academic Affairs, who chaired URMC’s search committee. “Dr. O’Regan has a great deal of experience and an outstanding record of successfully convening and leading interdisciplinary groups of people in tasks that span our missions of clinical care, education, research and scholarship, and community partnerships.”

A native of Galway, Ireland, O’Regan grew up in Dublin. She earned her medical degree at University College, Dublin, in 1988, and completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Mater Hospital, Dublin. She moved to the United States for subsequent residencies at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Northwestern University and a fellowship in hematology/oncology at Northwestern.

Prior to joining the University of Wisconsin, she was a professor at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Ga., where she was the Louisa and Rand Glenn Family Chair in Breast Cancer Research and led the Translational Breast Cancer Research Program. She also served as medical director of the Emory Breast Center (now the Glenn Family Breast Center), as chief of Hematology and Medical Oncology at the Georgia Cancer Center for Excellence at Grady Memorial Hospital and as director of the Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program.

"I’m excited and honored to be joining the University of Rochester at this important time," O’Regan said of her appointment. “URMC’s Department of Medicine has a solid research program, a strong commitment to education and an impressive clinical enterprise. Everyone I’ve met is highly invested in the success of the department and the University as a whole. In addition, I find URMC’s community outreach efforts especially compelling. One of my passions is working with patients from traditionally underserved urban and rural populations, and I look forward to continuing that work in Rochester.”

O’Regan’s research centers on developing novel therapeutic approaches for treatment-resistant breast cancers, with a focus on triple negative and endocrine-resistant metastatic breast cancers—areas in which she is a nationally known thought leader. O’Regan’s work has been supported with funding from the NCI, foundations and industry.

She has written more than 100 peer-reviewed publications that have appeared in leading oncology, radiology, molecular biology, surgery and pathology journals.  She currently serves as editor-in-chief of Clinical Breast Cancer and as Breast Section Editor for Cancer.

Along with her research, O’Regan has a record of leadership in education and career development for trainees and faculty and has been invited to speak widely across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.