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Paul Rothman to lead Johns Hopkins Medicine

Watch video of Paul Rothman's introduction as dean and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine »
Paul B. Rothman
Paul B. Rothman, dean of the Carver College of Medicine at the University of Iowa, was appointed Monday as the next dean of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and chief executive officer of Johns Hopkins Medicine. He will join Johns Hopkins on July 1.
Photo: Will Kirk/Homewoodphoto.jhu.edu

Paul B. Rothman, a distinguished physician, scientist, educator and academic health care leader, was appointed Monday as the next dean of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and chief executive officer of Johns Hopkins Medicine, a $6.5 billion academic medical center and a health system with a global reach.

Rothman, a rheumatologist and molecular immunologist, serves now as dean of the Carver College of Medicine at the University of Iowa and leader of that university's clinical practice plan. He will join Johns Hopkins on July 1, succeeding Edward D. Miller, who will retire after 15 years as both dean and the first Johns Hopkins Medicine CEO.

"Paul Rothman is a visionary leader with a deep and highly sophisticated understanding of the challenges facing health care today," said Ronald J. Daniels, president of The Johns Hopkins University, who recommended Rothman's appointment to the trustee boards of the university, Johns Hopkins Medicine, The Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Johns Hopkins Health System. "Instead of being daunted by those challenges, he sees them as opportunities to do better, to serve our patients in ways that improve clinical outcomes while also improving our employment of scarce health care resources."

Rothman, 53, called the role "my dream job."

"I'm thrilled, humbled and honored to have been chosen," he said.

Rothman became dean at the University of Iowa in 2008, and since then has recruited new leadership for nine departments, stabilized the medical college's finances despite cuts in state support, begun an overhaul of the medical curriculum and opened a branch campus in Des Moines. He also has helped to establish a strategic new administrative structure for University of Iowa Health Care, developed interdisciplinary research programs and solidified the clinical practice plan.

Two prominent members of the search committee who have followed Rothman's work for years say he has brilliantly managed his evolving career and multiple, increasingly responsible roles.

Myron "Mike" Weisfeldt, professor and director of the Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins, was chair of medicine at Columbia University early in the young Rothman's faculty tenure there and was impressed with his work as a physician, researcher and educator.

"I saw young, talented people flock to his laboratory, publish and progress in their careers," Weisfeldt said. "I also saw his clinical commitment to excellence and heard reports of a flair for teaching. I knew he had it all, including leadership and administration."

Weisfeldt appointed Rothman to a divisional leadership post at Columbia and later nominated him for the Department of Medicine chairmanship he held at Iowa before stepping up to the dean's office there.

As a researcher at Columbia, Rothman investigated the signaling pathways required for allergic immune responses and cancer, a focus he has maintained while at Iowa.

"Paul is an outstanding basic scientist. He is as rooted in basic science as he is in clinical medicine," said search committee member Carol Greider, professor and director of the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Johns Hopkins and a winner of the Nobel Prize in medicine in 2009.

"Paul's work in the late '80s laid a foundation for our understanding of cell-to-cell communication in the immune system and its role in allergic diseases," Greider said.

In 1992, Greider noted, Rothman was appointed a Pew Scholar, recognition given to "the very top young biomedical investigators in the country."

Now, with that "dream job" at Johns Hopkins Medicine before him, Rothman is coming to an institution he has long admired and where he has many professional friends.

"Johns Hopkins leads the world in research and discovery, and in innovations in teaching and in the delivery of health care," he said. "It's the leader because of the outstanding faculty, students and staff who work there. It has recruited the best and brightest from around the world for years and continues to do so. There's a culture of collaboration and a culture of excellence in everything they do."

Rothman also greatly admires Miller, who took Johns Hopkins Medicine from a mid-1990s concept for joint governance of the School of Medicine and health system and turned it into a global health care brand name.

"He's been an outstanding leader," he said. "I'm honored to be his successor. I hope I can be as successful as he has been."

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