School of Medicine and Dentistry Names Senior Academic Dean

May. 6, 2012

Jeffrey M. Lyness, M.D., professor of Psychiatry, will become the senior associate dean for Academic Affairs for the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry July 1.

He succeeds Richard I. Burton, M.D., who has served in the position since 2003. Burton will take a year’s sabbatical to write a book on leadership in an academic medical center.

The Office for Academic Affairs supports the processes for appointments, reappointments and promotions and oversees chair and department reviews and conflict-of-interest issues.

“Jeff Lyness is an excellent successor to Dick Burton,” said Mark B. Taubman, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. “Jeff has extensive experience and a deep interest in the needs of the faculty, students and our curricula.”

Lyness, who was appointed associate dean for Academic Affairs a year ago, has been director of curriculum for medical student education since 2008 and medical director of continuing medical education since 2010. He has served on numerous committees and task forces assessing or developing programs, curricula and strategic plans. He has led clinical investigations and research training programs supported by National Institutes of Health grants over a 15-year period.

A graduate of the School of Medicine and Dentistry, Lyness joined the faculty as a senior instructor and fellow in 1990. He was associate chair for education in the Department of Psychiatry from 2007 until January. He was director of the Medical Center’s geriatric psychiatry program from 1999 until January. He is past president of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry.

“I am very excited about this opportunity to work with Dean Taubman, and other Medical Center leaders, to help our faculty members advance their careers and the missions of our Medical Center. I also am grateful to Dr. Burton for his ongoing advice and support,” Lyness said. 

Burton, a graduate of Harvard Medical School who was a resident at the Medical Center, was recruited back to the Medical Center in 1974 to help build the then new Department of Orthopaedics. In 1988, Burton, an orthopaedic surgeon was named department chair and subsequently the Marjorie Strong Wehle Professor in Orthopaedics, a professorship endowed by one of his grateful patients. During his 12-year tenure as chair, he is credited with building the department into one of the country’s top five orthopaedics research programs in National Institutes of Health funding.

Burton also led the team that developed a breakthrough surgery for patients with a common type of arthritis of the thumb. The operation, known internationally as the “Burton procedure,” is recognized as the gold standard therapy for this condition.

Earlier this year, Burton and his wife, Margaret, committed $1 million toward the establishment of the Richard and Margaret Burton Distinguished Professorship in Orthopaedics, with a goal of raising a total of $2 million to fund the director of the department’s internationally recognized Center for Musculoskeletal Research.

During his sabbatical year, Burton will write a book he said he hopes will “serve as a resource to new and existing department chairs and others in the Medical Center on how to be an effective leader in an academic medical center.” When he returns from the sabbatical, Burton will remain on the faculty in the dean’s office developing mentoring programs for department chairs and leaders in the Medical Center.

“It has been a true privilege and honor and very gratifying to have played a positive role in so many essential, progressive and creative steps in moving the Medical Center forward,” Burton said.