Earlier today, I accepted the resignation of Dr. Vivian Lee as Senior Vice President of Health Sciences, CEO of University of Utah Health, and Dean of the University of Utah School of Medicine. Dr. Lee joined the university faculty in 2011.
She has been described by her colleagues as a visionary leader who maintains high standards for herself as well as others. Dr. Lee has led a remarkable transformation of our academic and research operations and has been at the forefront of innovations in health care delivery at the national level.
During Dr. Lee’s tenure, the university has received national recognition from media and our academic peers for our focus on providing high-quality and patient-centered care, while stabilizing and reducing costs. Because of her leadership, the university is attracting and training more top-quality medical school students than ever before, and the university’s research portfolio has increased dramatically through both public and private fundraising support — including the launch of key initiatives in neuroscience, diabetes, global health, medical innovation, health services research, precision medicine, and the Utah Genome Project.
Dr. Lee was instrumental in recruiting nationally renowned leaders, and during her tenure, more than 400 new faculty members from top institutions around the country joined the university. She has propelled the drive to transform the University of Utah Health campus, successfully securing substantial public and private financing toward a new medical school building, rehabilitation hospital, ambulatory care center, and innovation and discovery center.
While leading the organization to new heights, Dr. Lee has continued to advance research in her MRI laboratory. She has now authored more than 175 papers in scientific journals. She also has become a major thought leader in health care reform — publishing the university’s work in leading journals like JAMA, Academic Medicine, and the New England Journal of Medicine. The impact of her academic work and her standing among peers nationally were recognized by her election in 2015 to the National Academy of Medicine (formerly, Institute of Medicine), selection for the Council of Councils for the National Institutes of Health, and here in Utah, by her receipt of the Governor’s Medal of Science and Technology this year.
On behalf of the entire leadership at the University of Utah, I want to express my gratitude for Dr. Lee’s extraordinary achievements and the courage and commitment she has shown over the past six years. Dr. Lee will remain at the University of Utah as a tenured professor of radiology.
To ensure that the extraordinary progress Dr. Lee and her team have made in advancing University of Utah Health and our research and teaching, I will be announcing an interim to replace Dr. Lee as we launch a national search to fill her position permanently.
I want to thank Dr. Lee for all she has done for the University of Utah.
I am confident that with the support of our remarkable team of faculty, administrators, staff, and students at University of Utah Health, our progress will continue.
President David W. Pershing
University of Utah