Gilbert S. Omenn chosen as executive V.P. for medical affairs

September 4, 1997

Gilbert S. Omenn chosen as executive V.P. for medical affairs

ANN ARBOR—University of Michigan President Lee C. Bollinger has selected Gilbert S. Omenn, M.D., Ph.D., to be the University’s executive vice president for medical affairs. He will submit his recommendation for approval of the appointment to the U-M Board of Regents at its Sept. 18 meeting. If approved, the appointment will be effective retroactive to Sept. 4. Omenn is dean of the School of Public Health and Community Medicine and professor of medicine (medical genetics) and environmental health at the University of Washington in Seattle.

“Gil Omenn emerged after an exhaustive, careful search as the very best person for the new vice presidential position,” said Bollinger. “His capacity to think comprehensively about the Medical Center and its relations with the wider university, together with his extraordinary array of relevant professional accomplishments, made him the University’s choice. I am extremely pleased he will join Provost Nancy Cantor and me in helping our already distinguished academic medical center.”

A 15-member faculty-student-staff advisory committee was appointed last December to conduct a search for the newly-formed position of executive vice president for medical affairs. Max S. Wicha, professor of internal medicine and director of the U-M Cancer Center, chaired the advisory committee.

Omenn will have responsibility for the leadership and management of the University’s Medical Center, which consists of the Medical School and the Health System (the Hospitals, Michigan Health Corp. and M-CARE). He will serve as the Medical Center’s chief executive officer, reporting directly to the president. He will be a member of the senior leadership group and work closely with the provost and other vice presidents. The dean of the Medical School, the executive director of the Hospitals, and the president of M-CARE will report to Omenn.

“The search advisory committee is delighted with President Bollinger’s choice of Gil Omenn as the executive vice president for medical affairs,” said Wicha. “We considered over 200 applicants for this position before arriving at our recommendation. Dr. Omenn combines a keen intellect, impressive academic credentials in both medicine and health policy, financial expertise, and a clear vision for the future of academic health centers. He is ideally suited to lead this Medical Center in facing the challenges that lie ahead.”

Omenn received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School and earned a Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Washington. He completed his internship and residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He holds an A.B. from Princeton University.

Omenn came to the University of Washington in 1969 as a Fellow in Medical Genetics, and joined the faculty in medicine in 1971. He became an NIH Research Career Development Awardee and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator as he applied genetic concepts and protein, DNA, and pharmacogenetic techniques to the brain. He was responsible for several “firsts” in prenatal diagnosis of inherited conditions, and was a well-regarded clinical teacher. He was founding director of the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program. In 1978, he was elected (at age 37) to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

Nationally, he served his military duty in research at the National Institutes of Health (1967-69), was a White House Fellow at the Atomic Energy Commission in the Nixon-Ford years (1973-74) and was deputy to Dr. Frank Press, President Jimmy Carter’s science and technology adviser, and then associate director of the Office of Management and Budget (1977-81). He was a visiting professor at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School in 1981 and the first Science, Technology, and Policy Fellow at the Brookings Institution. His most recent advisory role has been as chair of the Presidential/Congressional Commission on Risk Assessment and Risk Management (“Omenn Commission”).

He returned to the University of Washington in 1982 to resume his role as professor of medicine and become chair of environmental health, and was appointed third dean of the School of Public Health and Community Medicine later in 1982.

Omenn has published extensively on issues related to the chemoprevention of cancers, risk analysis, and the genetic predisposition to environmental and occupational health hazards. He has been principal investigator for CARET, the trial of beta-carotene and vitamin A as preventive agents against lung cancer and heart disease. He is the creator of a new university-wide initiative on Public Health Genetics in Ethical, Legal, and Policy Context.

He is a musician and tennis player. He has served on the boards of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Chamber Music Festival, Pacific Science Center, and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

U-M News and Information Services University of Michigan

RegentsSchool of Public Health and Community MedicineNancy Cantorinternal medicineUniversity’s Medical CenterNational Institutes of HealthU-M News and Information Services