KU News Release

April 9, 2012
Contact: Tim Caboni, Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs, 785-864-7100

Atkinson to retire June 30; chancellor names acting EVC and executive dean

Barbara Atkinson

More Information

LAWRENCE – Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and Barbara Atkinson, M.D., announced today that Atkinson will retire as executive vice chancellor of the KU Medical Center and executive dean of the School of Medicine, effective June 30.

“There is no question that the KU Medical Center has benefited tremendously under Dr. Barbara Atkinson’s leadership,” Gray-Little said.

“During her tenure, the Hemenway Life Sciences Innovation Center was completed and is now home to outstanding scientists. NIH-funded research at the KU Medical Center has increased significantly. The size of our faculty has nearly doubled with the recruitment of talented clinicians and scientists. A wonderful medical office building has been completed. And an effective affiliation agreement with The University of Kansas Hospital and the University of Kansas Physicians Inc. is in place.

“Most importantly, and with benefits for the entire region, we are on the cusp of National Cancer Institute designation for the KU Cancer Center. Dr. Atkinson’s vision, inspiration, and leadership were critical to our success in each of these accomplishments.”

With the recent conclusion of the site visit by a team from the National Institutes of Health, all components of the university’s application for National Cancer Institute designation are now complete. Only the final decision on the application is pending.

“I believe that with the conclusion of our application for NCI designation, this is a very good time to pass the torch to new leadership. I am confident that our application to the NCI will be favorably received, and with it will come exciting new opportunities for our KU Medical Center to provide ever better and more effective care to the citizens of our state and region,” Atkinson said.

“We have wonderful schools of medicine, nursing and health professions, and I am very pleased that a new school of public health is on the near horizon.

“My husband, Bill (G. William Atkinson, M.D.), and I have enjoyed our years here at the KU Medical Center. We’ve especially valued the opportunity to work with the many outstanding men and women who comprise our faculty and staff and with our health care students who represent the best and brightest of their generation. They are the key to our future, and I am confident they are receiving the very best of training and education.”

Among her many accomplishments and awards, Atkinson is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, an honor accorded to only the most distinguished and successful pathologists in the country.

Beginning in 1999, Atkinson served as the chair of pathology at the KU School of Medicine, and in 2002 she assumed duties as the executive dean of the School of Medicine. Since 2004, she has served as both executive dean and as executive vice chancellor of the KU Medical Center, overseeing the largest expansion in research operations in the history of KUMC.

Gray-Little has named Steven Stites, M.D., Peter T. Bohan Professor and Chair of Internal Medicine, to serve as acting executive vice chancellor and executive dean, effective immediately.

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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