UC Davis names new medical vice chancellor and dean

Julie Freischlag, currently the William Stewart Halsted professor and department director and surgeon-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, has been named the UC Davis vice chancellor for human health sciences and dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine, Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi announced today.

“When Dr. Freischlag became surgeon-in-chief at Johns Hopkins, she became the first woman to hold this position. Throughout her career, she has served as a role model for her students, a respected colleague within the medical community, and a proven leader in advancing excellence and promoting health and wellness,” Katehi said. “As we grow our mission of national recognition in areas like food and health, she was our unquestioned vision of someone who would take us to new heights.”

Freischlag came to Johns Hopkins in 2003, after serving as the chief of the vascular surgery division and director of the Gonda (Goldschmied) Vascular Center at the David Geffen Medical School at the University of California, Los Angeles — where she also completed her surgical residency and post-residency vascular fellowship.

She was a professor of surgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin, where she served as the vice chair of the vascular surgery section and chief of surgery at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center. Her faculty appointments began at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine in the department of surgery and progressed to UCLA, Wisconsin and Johns Hopkins.

Freischlag holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois and her doctor of medicine degree from Rush University in Chicago. A member of many national and international surgery associations, she is the editor of Archives of Surgery/JAMA Surgery and currently serves on the editorial boards of Annals of Vascular Surgery, Journal of the American College of Surgeons and the British Journal of Surgery.

Freischlag has mentored numerous students, residents and young faculty; has been published in numerous journals; and is a frequent speaker on topics ranging from her professional training in the vascular diseases to women succeeding in the health professions. She has been recognized as an outstanding alumna by her alma maters, named a Baltimore Magazine “Top Doctor,” and selected in 2010 by Working Mother Magazine as one of the “10 most powerful moms in health care.”

She is a fellow, former governor and present chair of the Board of Regents of the American College of Surgeons — the first woman to do so. She is the current president of the Society for Vascular Surgery — also the first woman to hold that position.

“It is truly an honor and privilege to accept the position of vice chancellor-Human Health Sciences and dean-School of Medicine at the UC Davis Health System,” Freischlag said. “I was so impressed with the people at UC Davis — clinicians, researchers, teachers, administrators, trainees and students — the energy was amazing, and I am excited to be able to become part of it. As many know, I was trained and also worked in the UC system, so it is delightful to come back.”

The UC Davis search for the vice chancellor and dean was led by Diana Farmer, chair of the UC Davis surgery department; Chancellor Katehi; and a team of representatives from the faculty, community and the health professions.

Thomas Nesbitt has been serving as the interim vice chancellor and dean since spring 2013 and, upon Freischlag’s arrival on Feb. 10, 2014, he will resume his position as associate vice chancellor for strategic technologies and alliances.

“I am most grateful for the calm and respected leadership that Dr. Nesbitt provided in this interim period,” Katehi said. “As we welcome our new vice chancellor and dean, he will ensure the continuity of excellence already found at UC Davis and help us grow toward the new future we anticipate under Dr. Freischlag’s guidance.”

As vice chancellor, Freischlag will oversee the UC Davis Health System, an integrated organization that includes the UC Davis Medical Center, the UC Davis School of Medicine and Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, and the physician practice group known as UC Davis Medical Group. She also will serve in a dual role as dean of the School of Medicine. The health system has an annual budget exceeding $1.4 billion and more than 12,000 faculty, staff and students.

UC Davis Medical Center is a 619-bed academic medical center where clinical practice, teaching and research converge to advance human health. Centers of excellence include the National Cancer Institute-designated UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center; the region's only Level I pediatric and adult trauma centers; the UC Davis MIND Institute, devoted to finding treatments and cures for neurodevelopmental disorders; the UC Davis Children's Hospital; and a world-renowned Telehealth network, which gives remote, medically underserved communities throughout California unprecedented access to specialty and subspecialty care. It is recognized as one of the “Most Wired” hospitals in the U.S., and is certified at HIMSS Level 7, an accomplishment shared by the top 1.9 percent of hospitals. It also has been recognized by the Leapfrog Group as a “Top Hospital” for delivery of high-quality care.

UC Davis Medical Group is a 1,000-member physician practice group offering primary and specialty care in more than 150 areas of clinical expertise. Medical group physicians provide care at offices in Sacramento and in 10 other communities around the region, from Marysville and Elk Grove to Davis and Auburn.

UC Davis School of Medicine is one of the nation’s leading medical schools, ranked 37th in NIH funding and designated as one of the nation’s inaugural Clinical Translational Science Centers. A national reputation for life-changing biomedical discoveries, a passion for clinical care and a commitment to engaging people from underserved communities are the hallmarks of the UC Davis School of Medicine. In addition to the M.D. degree, the school offers fully accredited master’s degree programs in public health and in informatics, and its combined M.D.-Ph.D. program is training the next generation of physician-scientists to conduct high-impact research and translate discoveries into better clinical care.

The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing is the newest professional school at UC Davis. It was established in March 2009 with a $100 million commitment from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the nation’s largest grant for nursing education. The school’s first programs, doctoral and master of science degrees, opened in fall 2010. It recently added master’s degrees for nurse practitioners and physician assistants, with a focus on preparing primary-care providers for rural and underserved communities.

Media Resources

Pat Bailey, Research news (emphasis: agricultural and nutritional sciences, and veterinary medicine), 530-219-9640, pjbailey@ucdavis.edu

Luanne Lawrence, UC Davis Strategic Communications, (530) 752-6888, lmlawrence@ucdavis.edu