Johns Hopkins Gazette: January 21, 1997 Form

Miller To Lead
Hopkins Medicine

New post created:
Interim SOM dean
tapped for unifying role

Steve Libowitz

As Johns Hopkins Medicine looks outward at the challenges facing academic medical centers, it has turned inward for the person who will lead it through those challenges and into the 21st century.

Edward D. Miller Jr., the highly regarded interim dean of the faculty of the School of Medicine, was named last week the first chief executive officer of Johns Hopkins Medicine and the 13th dean of the medical school faculty. His selection came after a nearly one-year national search to find the person to coordinate the tripartite mission of research, teaching and patient care and serve as its spokesperson. Miller, 53, assumed his new position on Jan. 17.

While Miller was flanked by university and hospital officials, the man often spoken of at the Jan. 14 press conference announcing the appointment was Johns Hopkins, whose 1873 bequest led to the establishment of the hospital and university.

"It is important to recognize that we're here to fulfill the wish of Johns Hopkins to establish a hospital that will provide the best health care anywhere in the world and to advance medical knowledge through the discovery of how the human body works," said university President William R. Brody. "We are the inheritors of a drive for excellence that has propelled Johns Hopkins to the apex of world medicine."

That drive for excellence, while not dimmed, has been tested in recent years as economic and competitive challenges--like managed care--have taxed the resources of major academic medical centers like Hopkins. The creation of the position of CEO for Johns Hopkins Medicine, and its linkage with the post of medical school dean, is an attempt to bring the various internal interests together with one voice and one direction.

Johns Hopkins Medicine was developed in the summer of 1995 to integrate operations and planning of Hopkins' teaching, research and patient care initiatives--and related business enterprises--through the School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Health System and its affiliates, including Johns Hopkins Hospital, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and Johns Hopkins Medical Services Corporation. Johns Hopkins Bayview Physicians, Johns Hopkins HealthCare and Johns Hopkins Home Care Group also are part of Hopkins Medicine.

President Brody added that "[we] need someone with proven administrative skills, but also require someone who understands what has made Johns Hopkins great and can build a consensus to bring about the changes necessary to continue Hopkins' leadership role in American medicine."

In a letter to faculty and friends of Johns Hopkins Medicine, President Brody and chairman of the board of Johns Hopkins Medicine George L. Bunting Jr. said Miller was selected because of his "outstanding performance" as interim dean and because "he combines impeccable academic credentials, a fine reputation as a researcher, educator and clinician, and extensive administrative experience in major academic medical centers."

Miller, who came to Hopkins two and a half years ago laughed when asked if it was somewhat exhilarating to rise so quickly within the Hopkins institutions from physician and chief of the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine to interim dean and now to what some refer to as "medical czar."

"Well, I've had a fair amount of administrative experience," he said. "And remember that anesthesiology and critical care medicine is such a focal point of a hospital's operation. So that has brought some extra skills, and I think that was one of the things that made me an attractive candidate."

Miller arrived at Hopkins from Columbia University where he chaired the Department of Anesthesiology for eight years and served as vice president of the executive committee of Presbyterian Hospital's medical board. For 11 years before that, he was on the faculty of the University of Virginia and was president of the clinical faculty at the time he left for Columbia. A graduate of University of Rochester Medical School, Miller became an expert on anesthetic drugs. His research has focused on vascular smooth muscle relaxation and the cardiovascular effects of anesthetics and other pharmacologic agents. He has authored or co-authored more than 150 scientific papers, abstracts and textbook chapters in his field and received numerous NIH peer-reviewed grants as well as an NIH Research Career Development Award. He also spent a sabbatical year as senior scientist in the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology at l'Hopital Necker, in Paris.

"Dr. Miller brings to the table a sense of understanding of the clinical dimension," said Ronald R. Peterson, the recently named president of Johns Hopkins Hospital and acting president of the Johns Hopkins Health System who now will report to Miller. "As a scientist, he also understands the importance of research and the way in which that mission ties to the teaching and [patient care] missions. And we feel as though his sensitivity and understanding of these interrelationships are terribly important as the hospital deals with some very difficult issues.

"I have had the opportunity to work with him now for the past 10 months, and his style is such that he seeks out the opinions of others, he causes us to work with a team approach to problem resolution, and we have still been able to have some fun with it and to really enjoy the cause we are pursuing. I am personally delighted by the outcome."

Miller was selected by a 17-member search committee which considered several hundred potential and actual applicants.

"I was pretty certain we would go outside for this appointment," said Johns Hopkins Medicine trustee and search committee chairman Edward K. Dunn Jr. "Our goal was to preserve and build on the Hopkins tradition and to keep Hopkins a pre-eminent medical institution. As we conducted our search, the troika of leadership of President Brody, Ron Peterson and Ed Miller was very, very effective. As we did our work, we saw that they were not just custodial, holding the fort together until fresh troops arrived. Particularly at the urging of Ed as interim dean, they were taking on material, substantive challenges in areas that were delicate and important to all the individuals involved and the institutions involved.

"As we kept looking outside, we kept looking back over our shoulders, seeing Ed as a candidate who was showing remarkable administrative abilities to complement his already impressive credentials as an academic, a physician and chief of service."

"Something else seemed important," Dunn said. "Although he was not one of those people who arrived here at about the same time as Johns Hopkins, he understood the culture, those things that make Hopkins both unique and very good. So it wasn't very hard as we rounded out our search to look inward to see the man we thought could provide the leadership we were looking for to carry through material external changes in medicine and carry us well into the next century."

In their letter, Bunting and Brody wrote: "A year ago, when we announced that Ed would serve as interim dean, [then President] Dan Nathans said, 'We used to speak of the ideal Hopkins leader as having triple-threat strengths in research, teaching and patient care. Ed Miller adds a fourth strength, administration, to which he brings wisdom, decisiveness and generosity of spirit."

"My job is to bring people together, identify the issues, provide solutions and hold people accountable," Miller said. "Now there is someone to speak with one voice, to articulate the joint mission of Johns Hopkins Medicine."

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