09:37 AM

Drake answers questions about search for new academic health care leader

Six months to a year: That is the timeline The Ohio State University President Michael V. Drake set to complete the search for the university’s new executive vice president and chancellor for academic health care.

Drake answered questions about the search and the new role for an hour at a town hall in Meiling Hall Wednesday night. In November, Ohio State launched a national search for a new leader of the university’s growing academic health operation. Executive Vice President and Provost Bruce A. McPheron is chairing a search advisory committee of faculty, staff and students.

“We have continued to grow and we now have a massive enterprise in the health sciences,” Drake said.

He said the new leader would take over a medical center operation that accounts for about half of the university’s budget and is on the verge of a major expansion.

The university announced plans last year to develop a new hospital and ambulatory centers. The new hospital tower would be the largest single facilities project ever undertaken at Ohio State.

“We really need someone focused entirely on helping our university be the best academic health center it can be. And to set the tone for the model academic health center in the 21st century,” Drake said.

Faculty and staff who attended the town hall had a range of questions about the position. Drake was asked about the importance of recruiting a candidate who understood Buckeye culture.

Witt/Kieffer, the firm the university is using to help in the search for the position, has experience in helping identify people who are compatible with institutional culture, Drake said.

“That this person is a good Buckeye is actually a critical criterion,” he said. “That will be a requirement.”

Drake was also asked about the timeline needed to get the new leader hired and up to speed. He said having a person hired by the fall would require candidates to be identified and interviewed in the spring and summer – a tall order.

“What we want is someone who can hit the ground running. And then over time, build more and more connections with us,” he said. “The first thing we can do is get the best person for us.”

The town hall was the latest effort to involve the university community in the search process. In February, the search committee held listening sessions to get feedback on the position. The university has also set up a website to allow people to ask questions, offer input or make recommendations.

Drake noted the medical center closed out its most financially successful fiscal year in June, and the demand for patient care and medical education is greater than ever. He wants a leader to help continue the momentum but to also appreciate all of the great work already being done by faculty and staff in the health sciences and medical center.

“At the end, we’re looking for a person we’ll love and admire.”