Pescovitz recommended as EVP for medical affairs

President Mary Sue Coleman has named nationally recognized pediatric endocrinologist and researcher Dr. Ora Hirsch Pescovitz as the University's executive vice president for medical affairs and CEO of the U-M Health System, pending approval of the Board of Regents at its March 19 meeting.
(Photo courtesy Dr. Ora Pescovitz)

Pescovitz is executive associate dean for research affairs at Indiana University School of Medicine, where she leads basic and clinical research initiatives. She also is president and CEO of Riley Hospital for Children and interim vice president for research administration at Indiana. She succeeds Dr. Robert Kelch, who has served as EVPMA since September 2003 and plans to retire later this year.

In this new role, which begins May 11, Pescovitz will oversee UMHS; the U-M Hospitals and Health Centers, which have more than 12,000 employees and a 2009 operating budget of more than $1 billion; the Medical School, which has more than 2,600 faculty, 1,600 students and trainees and receives more than $340 million in total research funds; and the School of Nursing. All are ranked among the best in the nation.

"Dr. Pescovitz joins the University at a critical juncture for the Health System, as it positions itself to serve the region and nation in a time of rapidly evolving health care," Coleman says. "The recent decision to purchase the former campus of Pfizer Inc. presents the University with tremendous options for growth and impact in scientific research. The research enterprise of our Health System is vital to this expansion, and Dr. Pescovitz is an exceptional choice for advancing our scholarship and discoveries."

At Indiana University, Pescovitz oversees all research at the School of Medicine, which generates nearly $260 million annually in grants and contracts. She also administers the $155 million Indiana Genomics Initiative (INGEN) and contributed to the creation of the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. Since 2003 she has overseen the construction of more than 700,000 square feet of new research space at the School of Medicine.

As president and CEO of Riley Hospital for Children, she leads an ambitious and wide-reaching strategic plan that includes the fund-raising and construction of a $470 million, 675,000 square-foot addition to the hospital. Riley is the sixth largest children's hospital in the country.

In her role as interim vice president for research administration for IU, Pescovitz is responsible for the research infrastructure at all eight campuses.

"I am excited and honored to be selected to lead the Health System at the University of Michigan," Pescovitz says. "It is a time of great challenges in the economy and health care, as well as a time of unprecedented opportunities in biomedical research. I'm looking forward to working with the extraordinary team at one of the nation's finest universities to meet these challenges and opportunities."

Her accomplishments convinced the EVPMA search committee that Pescovitz was the right leader for UMHS, says committee chair Teresa Sullivan, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

"Dr. Pescovitz is a talented researcher, a skilled clinician and an experienced administrator who brings vision and commitment to her work. This combination of qualities will make her an effective leader at the University of Michigan," Sullivan says.

Kelch was very pleased by the selection of Pescovitz to lead the Health System into a new era of patient care, growth and scientific advancement.

"As a pediatric endocrinologist myself, I have admired her and been amazed by her accomplishments," Kelch says. "I am confident in her ability to lead our Health System to new heights. She is the right person to move this organization forward."

Coleman thanked the 14-member search advisory committee, drawn from many areas of the University, for its work "and commitment to identifying such a stellar candidate."

A graduate of Northwestern University Medical School, Pescovitz has published nearly 180 manuscripts and books and has served as a sub-editor or as a member of the editorial board of six scientific journals. Most of her research has been focused on the physiologic and molecular mechanisms responsible for disorders of growth and puberty with a focus on development of novel therapies for these conditions.

She has served as president of the Society for Pediatric Research, the nation's largest pediatric research organization, president of the Lawson Wilkins (North American) Pediatric Endocrine Society, chair of the March of Dimes Grants Review Committee, a member of the Ad-Hoc Group for Medical Research Funding, the Board of the Hormone Foundation, the Board of the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI), and the Board of the Children's Miracle Network.

Pescovitz is married to Dr. Mark Pescovitz, an organ transplant surgeon, professor of surgery and of microbiology and immunology and vice chair for research in the Department of Surgery at Indiana University School of Medicine. They have three children.