William R. Brody Named Hopkins' 13th President Former Hopkins Professor Leaving Post at Minnesota Dennis O'Shea ------------------------------------- Homewood News and Information William R. Brody, provost of the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center and a former Hopkins professor, was elected Monday as the 13th president of The Johns Hopkins University. Brody, 52, a physician and electrical engineer, will take office no later than Sept. 1. "Johns Hopkins is, obviously, an extraordinary university with an extraordinary past," Brody said. "The opportunity to lead it into the 21st century is an exciting one indeed." Brody called Hopkins "well-positioned" to address what he said is the critical issue facing all American research universities: "How to provide a high-quality education, with a strong research component, in an era of increasing competition for resources." "Hopkins has got to face that issue squarely," he said. The lessons learned in recent years by academic medical centers like those at Hopkins and Minnesota are important for their parent universities and all of higher education, Brody said. "The issues of cost, quality and access--which is what healthcare reform is supposedly all about--are going to hit higher education," he said. The rate of tuition increase, an issue already under study at Hopkins, threatens to price private universities out of the market, Brody said. "People say, 'We love your education, but it's too costly,'" he said. "'We want lower cost, the same quality if not better, and we want access to it in different ways, different locations.' I think that's a major challenge that's going to be facing all of higher education." Morris W. Offit, chairman of the board of trustees and of the search committee that recommended Brody to the board, said he was influenced by Brody's commitment to addressing these concerns. "Cost of delivery is critical for education, just as cost of delivery has made managed care critical for health care," Offit said. "With new technology, how are you going to educate more effectively and efficiently in the future? What is a classroom going to be? What is a campus? "Bill Brody really understands these issues. He understands delivery systems and the application of technology." Brody's election Monday by the trustees ends a search that began in December 1994, when President William C. Richardson announced he would leave Hopkins to become president of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Daniel Nathans, who has been interim president since June, will return to the School of Medicine, where he has been a member of the faculty for more than 30 years. Brody has been at the University of Minnesota since 1994, responsible for 5,000 students and 14,600 faculty and staff in two medical schools, five other health professions schools and a hospital and health system. He oversees a combined budget of $750 million. He has been a vocal and active advocate for the "radical change" necessary to resolve the serious financial problems of an academic health center, highly dependent on patient revenue, in a market more heavily penetrated by managed care than any other in the country. Brody has commissioned a faculty-led re-engineering of the university's entire health and medical enterprise. While continuing to emphasize innovative education and leadership in research, he said, it must focus much more precisely on the communities it serves. In terms of "what we do and how we do it ... everything is on the table for change," he told colleagues in Minnesota. "There are no sacred cows." Johns Hopkins has been grappling with the same issues as Minnesota, and over the past year has created a new governance structure that will soon lead to the appointment of a chief executive officer for Johns Hopkins Medicine. The CEO will report to the university president, with authority over both the School of Medicine and The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, a corporation separate from the university. "That's very positive," Brody said, "because it will align the health system and the medical school in order to address marketplace needs." But Brody also said the situation at Hopkins is very different from what he found at Minnesota. Managed care is not yet as pervasive in Baltimore as in Minneapolis, giving Hopkins more time to adjust. Johns Hopkins Medicine is in far better shape financially than the Minnesota Academic Medical Center was when he arrived, Brody said. "I suspect that the need for change (at Hopkins) is every bit as great, but the magnitude of change in many areas is probably going to be different," he said. "That does not mean, however, that the change will be any less painful. "I think it's important," he said, "to recognize that all academic health centers in America are being subjected to the same set of challenging issues. The changes required are very, very painful, because they challenge the very core mission of academic health centers, which have in some sense been deemed irrelevant by healthcare reform. "This is a very unfortunate and very shortsighted consequence of healthcare reform, but one cannot ignore the power of market forces ... even if they are not necessarily moving in the appropriate direction." Brody graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1965 and earned a master's degree in electrical engineering at MIT a year later. He received his medical degree from Stanford in 1970 and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the same university in 1972. He trained in cardiovascular surgery at Stanford and in radiology at the University of California at San Francisco. He served in the Radiology and Electrical Engineering departments at Stanford and was founder of Resonex Inc., a medical imaging company. At Hopkins, Brody was director of the Department of Radiology in the School of Medicine from 1987 to 1994, with a joint appointment in the Whiting School of Engineering. His research focus was on cardiovascular imaging and minimally invasive therapy and on non-invasive imaging methods such as computerized imaging and MRI. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and a founding fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. He also is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology, the American College of Radiology, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. He served from 1991 until this year on the MIT Corporation, the institute's board of trustees. He and his wife, Wendy, have two children, a daughter, 21, and a son, 15.
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