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Release: Dec. 18, 2001

Kelch announces interim leadership duties in UI College of Medicine

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Following the death last Wednesday of its executive dean, Richard P. Nelson, M.D., the University of Iowa College of Medicine has announced the interim reassignment of leadership responsibilities. The announcements were made by Robert P. Kelch, M.D., dean of the college and vice president for statewide health services.

The college will call upon two experienced and proven leaders to assume additional interim responsibilities while a previously announced search for a new dean proceeds. Allyn L. Mark, M.D., Roy J. Carver Professor of Internal Medicine and associate dean for research and graduate programs in the college, has been given the additional appointment of interim executive dean, effective immediately. He will report to Kelch in Kelch's role as dean.

François M. Abboud, M.D., Edith King Pearson Professor of Cardiovascular Research, director of the Cardiovascular Research Center (CVRC), head of the UI Department of Internal Medicine, and professor of internal medicine and professor of physiology and biophysics, has been appointed interim associate vice president for statewide health services. The appointment is effective Jan. 1, 2002 when Abboud steps down as head of internal medicine. Abboud will continue as director of the CVRC. He will report to Kelch in Kelch's role as vice president.

"This has been an extremely trying week for all of us in the College of Medicine," Kelch said. "The college is fortunate to have an abundance of experienced leaders who are willing to assume more responsibilities in order to keep us moving forward.

"In Allyn Mark and François Abboud, we have enormous depth and breadth of experience, and an intimate knowledge of the culture and the vision of the University of Iowa College of Medicine."

UI President Mary Sue Coleman voiced her strong support for the appointments. "During these trying days in the College of Medicine, Bob Kelch has once again proved his mettle by staying focused on the needs of the college even as he has grieved deeply for a colleague and friend," Coleman said. "Allyn Mark and François Abboud have long and distinguished records of achievement as physician-scientists and as leaders. I will do everything in my power to support the college during this difficult time."

Coleman's sentiments were echoed by UI Provost Jon Whitmore, to whom Dean Kelch reports on academic affairs. "Both Allyn and Frank have proven their deep commitment to academic and clinical excellence. I am confident the educational, research and clinical missions of the college will continue to advance during their interim appointments."

Mark will assume the interim role of chief operating officer of the college. Among his new responsibilities will be coordination of the efforts of the associate and assistant deans in the college, oversight of collegiate external and alumni relations efforts, facilitating faculty recruitment, and standing in for Kelch in his role as dean when necessary. One of his first important duties will be to fill the key position of associate dean for student affairs and curriculum. That position will become vacant on Jan. 1, 2002 when the current incumbent, Peter Densen M.D., will become interim head of the UI Department of Internal Medicine, replacing Abboud, who has served as head for 25 years.

Mark will remain as associate dean for research and graduate programs, with assistance in that position from Marc Wold, Ph.D., who is assistant dean for research and graduate programs.

Allyn Mark is a native Iowan who earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from the UI. He joined the UI College of Medicine faculty in 1967. A distinguished cardiologist who is nationally renowned for his work on hypertension, Mark has held a succession of leadership roles in the UI Department of Internal Medicine, the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the college. He has served as associate dean in the college since 1995.

He served as director of the cardiovascular division of internal medicine from 1977 to 1995. During that same period, he was chief of cardiology at the Iowa City Veterans Administration Medical Center. From 1991 until 2000, he was director of the UI’s National Institutes of Health Hypertension Specialized Center of Research (SCOR). He served as director of the UI Clinical Research Center from 1975 to 1977. Throughout his years as an administrator, Mark has continued to treat patients, train medical students and conduct research.

Mark has been active in numerous professional and scientific organizations and has served in editorial and advisory board positions with more than a dozen scholarly journals. He is a former editor-in-chief of the journal Hypertension. Among his numerous honors are the 1998 American Heart Association's Meritorious Achievement Award and the Merck, Sharp and Dohme International Award from the International Society of Hypertension, which he won with Abboud in 1994.

As interim associate vice president for statewide health services, Abboud's duties will include facilities development, strategic planning, external relations for the health sciences center, and representing Kelch as necessary in his duties as vice president for statewide health services. The UI is in the middle phases of an extensive expansion of its capital facilities and a major redesign of the health sciences campus. The first major building of the expansion is scheduled to be dedicated in May 2002. Construction on the second building, the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver Biomedical Research Building, will commence next summer.

"François Abboud will play a pivotal role in making sure our capital planning process continues forward," Kelch said.

Abboud earned his medical degree at Aims Chams University in Cairo, Egypt. He joined the UI College of Medicine faculty in 1960.

In addition to directing the largest medical department at the UI, Abboud also is director of the UI Cardiovascular Research Center, a position he has held since 1972. Under his leadership the department grew immensely both in research and patient care, attaining eminent national stature. The Cardiovascular Research Center is internationally acclaimed as one of the most successful research and training centers in cardiovascular disease.

In 1988, Abboud was elected to the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. In 1997, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has received numerous honors and awards, including the two highest awards presented by the American Heart Association (AHA): the Research Achievement Award and the Gold Heart Award. In addition, he has won the W. Richards Memorial Award from the Council on Circulation of the AHA; the Wiggers Award and Medal of the American Physiological Society Cardiovascular Section; the CIBA Award and Medal for Hypertension Research from the Council of High Blood Pressure Research of the AHA; the Merck Sharp and Dohme International Award for Research in Hypertension; and the Robert H. Williams Distinguished Chairmen of Medicine Award from the Association of Professors of Medicine. He has served as president of the American Heart Association, the Association of American Physicians, and the American Federation for Clinical Research.

Kelch said administrators and others across the college would be asked to contribute more effort in the months ahead. "While Allyn Mark and François Abboud will play key roles in moving the college forward while we conduct our leadership searches, we will be calling on people in the departments and in the central collegiate administration to help us during this time," Kelch said.

Search committees are currently being formed to identify candidates for the deanship of the College of Medicine and for the chief executive officer position in the UI Hospitals and Clinics. The CEO position is open as the result of R. Edward Howell's acceptance of a position at the University of Virginia. Ann Madden Rice serves as interim CEO during the search.

Following Howell's announcement, Kelch's duties as vice president for statewide health services were expanded in order to provide continuity of vision for UI Health Care, the partnership between the college and the UI Hospitals and Clinics. The expansion of those duties led to Kelch's decision to step down as dean, effective with the successful completion of the search for his successor.

The two searches will be conducted simultaneously, with Kelch responsible for the oversight of both. Both the CEO and the dean will report to Kelch as vice president for statewide health services. The dean also will report to Provost Whitmore on academic matters.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at