Aug. 17, 2004

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Contact: Kevin Boatright, University Relations, (785) 864-7100; Dennis McCulloch, KU Medical Center, (913) 588-1441

KU Medical Center leader Don Hagen to retire; Barbara Atkinson tapped as successor

KANSAS CITY, KAN. -- University of Kansas Chancellor Robert Hemenway announced today that Executive Vice Chancellor Don Hagen, chief administrative officer of the KU Medical Center since 1995, will retire Dec. 31 and be succeeded by Barbara Atkinson, executive dean and vice chancellor for clinical affairs of the KU School of Medicine.

Atkinson will continue to serve as dean, in addition to serving as executive vice chancellor. One of only 12 women nationally serving as dean of a medical school, she will be the first woman to lead the KU Medical Center and the only woman to simultaneously hold the positions of medical school dean and executive vice chancellor of a medical center. She will oversee 2,500 faculty and staff and a $317.8 million budget.

Hemenway announced the leadership change today at the annual medical center faculty and staff convocation. He lauded Hagen for his service during a period of dramatic change in the health care and research environment, locally and nationally.

"Under Don's leadership, KUMC has provided Kansas and the nation with highly skilled doctors, nurses and allied health professionals who are dedicated to serving others," he said. "We've also positioned the university as a leading source of technology transfer and a key research participant in the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute and the new Biosciences Authority.

"All this was accomplished while the hospital was being transformed into a public authority, and in spite of a difficult state funding climate in recent years. Don's achievement at KUMC during such a challenging period is tremendous, and I am grateful for his leadership," the chancellor said. Hagen thanked his staff and other colleagues for their support.

"KUMC is in a strong position as we prepare to celebrate our centennial in 2005 and 2006," he said. "A strong organization is in place and positioned to move forward. We have an excellent relationship with the KU Hospital and the stakeholders in the Life Sciences Institute. The new Biomedical Research Center is under construction, we're hiring and retaining good faculty, and KUMC is a proud neighbor to the Rosedale community and all of Kansas City. After more than nine years in this position, it's a good time to make this transition, for me and for the university."

Irene Cumming, president and chief executive officer of the University of Kansas Hospital, said "Dr. Hagen's vision to look for changes in the hospital governing structure, and his strong advocacy of the plan to the legislature, were critical to the creation and subsequent success of the KU Hospital Authority.

"The hospital is enthusiastic about the many opportunities for the hospital and university to work together to strengthen both organizations. We look forward to continuing to strengthen our collaboration with Dr. Atkinson to capitalize on those opportunities," Cumming said.

Former surgeon general of the U.S. Navy
Prior to coming to KU, Hagen served as the 31st surgeon general of the U.S. Navy, and previously served as commander of the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. He served three tours of duty as a combat surgeon in Vietnam, where he earned a Bronze Star. He also served as director of the Contingency Planning Division of the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. Hagen received his medical degree from Northwestern University, and completed his surgical residency in 1973 at the Naval Hospital, Portsmouth, Va. He is a native of Williston, N.D., and a recipient of Concordia College's Distinguished Alumnus Award, as well as the Sioux Award from the University of North Dakota. The governor and state have also conferred on Hagen the North Dakota National Leadership Award of Excellence.

He is a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons, a member of the KU Hospital Authority Board of Directors, a board member of the Partnership for Children, the Midwest Research Institute Board of Trustees, the Mid-America Coalition on Health Care, The Kansas City Community Development Institute, and the Association of Academic Health Centers, where he is also on the Biodefense Council. He serves on the Governor's Bioterrorism Coordinating Council on Biodefense and Mid-America Regional Council Medical Advisory Board for the Greater Kansas City Metropolitan area.

Atkinson: outstanding job as dean
Hagen's successor as executive vice chancellor is a seasoned academic administrator. Prior to her appointment as executive dean in 2002, Atkinson served two years as professor and chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. She came to that position from the MCP Hahnemann School of Medicine in Philadelphia, where she was dean for three years (1996-99). Before that, she was professor and chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Medical College of Pennsylvania / MCP Hahnemann (1987-96).

"Barbara has done an outstanding job as dean of this high-profile school," said Hemenway. "She has worked hard to achieve the goal of having our cancer program named a National Cancer Institute designated center, and has done much in other ways to reinforce the research and teaching missions of the Medical Center. Having her serve as both dean and executive vice chancellor will further streamline KU's administrative structure."

Atkinson was born in Minnesota and grew up North Dakota and Ohio. She received her medical degree from Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and her bachelor's degree from the College of Wooster. In 1996, she received the Jefferson Medical College Alumni Achievement Award.

She began her career at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where she was director of the hospital's cytopathology laboratory (1978-87). She has edited several books on cytopathology and gynecologic pathology, including Atlas of Cytopathology and Atlas of Difficult Diagnosis in Cytopathology, dealing with the diagnosis of disease based on cellular analysis.

Atkinson was the first woman trustee of the American Board of Pathology and is a past president of that organization. She also served as a member of the Association of American Medical Colleges' Committee on Increasing Women's Leadership in Academic Medicine. In 1997, she was elected to membership in the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

The KU Medical Center is a campus of the University of Kansas and offers educational programs through its Schools of Allied Health, Medicine, Nursing, and Graduate Studies. The campus is comprised of academic units operating alongside The University of Kansas Hospital, which provides opportunities for clinical experience and residency positions. The School of Medicine-Wichita is a clinical campus in the state's largest city.

KUMC enrollment in fall 2003 was 2,458 students, and 535 degrees were awarded during 2002-03. Employment exceeded 2,500 faculty and staff. Total revenue during FY2003 was $317.8 million (of which 32% was provided by the state, 31% was provided by gifts, grants and contracts, and 23% came from patient service revenue). For more information, go to www.kumc.edu. #####

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