School of Medicine appoints new dean

The School of Medicine has an old face sitting in a new chair.

David Bjorkman, former senior associate dean, was approved on Nov. 8 as the new Dean of the School of Medicine.

Last January, Lorris Betz, former dean of the school, filled in as interim president of the U until the search committee appointed current President Michael Young.

In the meantime, Bjorkman filled Betz’s shoes as Interim Dean of the School of Medicine.

“The dean deserves having more than one person doing the work,” Betz said. “We recognized that Dave was doing more of the dean’s job than other college and universities and other schools nationally.”

Betz said he would split responsibilities with the dean because Bjorkman was already doing the duties during his interim period.

“When asked about my job, I tell people my job is to do whatever the senior vice president wants,” Bjorkman said.

Bjorkman said he is excited “to work with Betz because he is the best head of the academics of health sciences.”

In addition to the day-to-day administrative responsibilities and student issues, Bjorkman now delegates faculty affairs and works more closely with department chairpersons and the financial budget.

According to Betz, the school’s budget is more than a half-million dollars. The economic impact University Hospital has on businesses is important and the finances are prudent, according to Bjorkman. Also, the school has the largest number of faculty.

With the appointment, Bjorkman said he wants to “focus on the students and help them be as successful as possible” by providing better student support in both cognitive and clinical studies and challenging the students.

Also, Bjorkman wants to further the clinical aspect of medical school and integrate research with other colleges on campus.

Bjorkman received his bachelor’s degree from the U in political science and then went to the U’s medical school.

Afterward, he did his internship, residency and fellowship in gastroenterology at Harvard. He has received two master’s degrees since 1985.

The first was in public health at the U and the other in epidemiology at Harvard.

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