David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., named new executive vice president for health affairs

David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., named new executive vice president for health affairs

Internationally renowned transplant surgeon leaves Buffalo for Louisville

David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., vice president for health sciences and professor of surgery, microbiology and immunology at the University at Buffalo, is the new executive vice president for health affairs at the University of Louisville. The UofL Board of Trustees today voted on his appointment, which is effective July 1.

Dunn fills the position left by Dr. Larry Cook, who announced his resignation last year. Cook returns to the faculty in the Department of Pediatrics on July 1 after serving since 2003 as the executive vice president for health affairs.

“Dr. Dunn brings to UofL a skill set that will help move us to the next level as a premiere academic medical center in very short order. He has experienced and resolved many of the issues associated with a rapidly growing research enterprise, and he has harnessed that energy so that it becomes very constructive and enables further expansion in the future,” said Dr. James Ramsey, president of the University of Louisville. “We sought a national leader for this position and we have found one.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t pay appropriate tribute to Dr. Larry Cook and all he has done in his nearly 40 years of service with UofL,” Ramsey continued. “As one of the nation’s fathers of neonatology, he helped to put UofL on the map. He has helped us grow from a small private medical school producing new clinicians to a major academic medical center. His vision for what we are capable of doing is the driving force behind the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center.”

As  vice president for health sciences at the University at Buffalo (UB)/State University of New York (SUNY), a position he has held since 2005, Dunn was responsible for leading the strategic integration of teaching, research, service and clinical activities of UB’s five health sciences schools (Dental Medicine, Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Nursing, Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Public Health and Health Professions), and their departments, programs, centers and hospital and clinical affiliates.

Dunn has either led or co-led the following initiatives at or on behalf of UB:

  • Segregated duties, intramural reporting and external relationships, as well as the financial structure of vice president for health sciences (VPHS) and dean, School of Medicine and Biomedical Science. Formerly, these positions were one in the same, and as part of his recruitment to UB,  Dunn chose to separate them.
  • Reconfigured UB’s five health science schools as the UB Academic Health Center (AHC), symbolic in principal, but tangible by initiation of strategic planning on the part of all AHC deans in concert and the creation of AHC-wide committees with highly focused missions and deliverables:
  1. Curriculum
  2.  Simulation
  3.  Smoke Free Campus
  4.    Space and Facilities Planning
  • Appointed to and chaired the Western New York Regional Advisory Committee of the Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century (known as the “Berger Commission”) by former New York Gov. George Pataki and drafted the report for the eight counties of western New York. These recommendations were included in large part in the final report and adopted into state law. From an academic standpoint, the critical part of this report concerns the inclusion of UB leadership on this new health system board.
  •  As president and CEO of University at Buffalo Associates Inc., initiated and achieved widespread consensus among key stakeholders for the formation of a single clinical practice plan—UBMD—from 18 separate not-for-profit clinical practice plans.
  • Finalized financial and oversight mechanisms and implemented IME/GME funds flow to School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and School of Dental Medicine faculty.
  •  Successfully recruited stellar candidates for the dean’s positions of the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, UB School of Nursing, UB School of Public Health and Health Professions and UB School of Dental Medicine.
  • Played key role in a number of major philanthropic initiatives including the $3 million Behling gift to support simulated learning in the AHC.
  • Appointed by the New York state Commissioner of Health as a member of the newly formed Great Lakes Health System, and subsequently elected secretary/treasurer of this entity.
  • Proposed concept and became chief academic officer for a $330 million capital project to create a joint venture with Kaleida Health to build a 10-story Global Vascular Institute/Clinical and Translational Research Center/Biosciences Incubator (CTRC/BI).
  • Elected President of Buffalo 2020 Development Corp., the not-for-profit entity that manages the CTRC/BI funds flow and construction.
  • Principal investigator of a $7 million HEAL NY award from the New York state Department of Health to study prevention and prediction of disease progression and effective management of chronic renal disease using a patient-centered medical home model within UBMD practices.
  • Spearheaded the creation of the UB Institute for Healthcare Informatics, funded through a $20 million HEAL NY 17 award and a partnership with Perot Systems/Dell Services that entails $15 million in support.
  • Prior to joining the University at Buffalo, Dunn was the Jay Phillips Professor and Chairman of Surgery at the University of Minnesota. He also was the division chief of General Surgery, head of Surgical Infectious Diseases, director of Graduate Studies and Residency Program director of the Department of Surgery. He was a full member of the faculty of the graduate programs in Surgery and the Biomedical Sciences. During his tenure in this position, clinical revenue and extramural grant support dramatically increased and a number of new clinical and research programs emerged, including the Lillihei Heart Institute, the Diabetes Institute for Immunology and Transplantation (newly renamed as the Schulze Diabetes Institute) and the Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery.

Dunn has published more than 400 articles and book chapters in the areas of surgical infectious diseases and transplantation, and he is considered an authority nationwide and worldwide in the areas of endotoxin antagonist development and testing; immunomodulation during sepsis; intra-abdominal sepsis and host defenses of the peritoneal cavity; cytomegalovirus disease after solid organ transplantation; and pancreas transplantation. He received support from the Institute of General Medical Sciences of the NIH for more than 20 years. Postdoctoral fellows that he supervised consistently obtained NIH support and prestigious research awards from academic societies. He conducted a number of large-scale, randomized prospective studies investigating the prophylaxis, treatment and pathogenesis of cytomegalovirus disease in solid organ transplant recipients.

Dunn has received regional and nationwide recognition in many surgical organizations, holding office as:

  • Past-President, Surgical Infection Society
  •  Past-President, Association for Academic Surgery
  • Past-President, Minnesota Chapter of the American College of Surgeons
  • Past-President, Society of University Surgeons
  •  Past-President, Society of University Surgeons Foundation

He is a former member of the National Institutes of Health’s Surgery, Anesthesiology and Trauma Study Section, Division of Research Grants. He is an active member of a number of academic societies including the American Surgical Association, Association for Academic Surgery, Society of University Surgeons and is a member of the editorial board of Annals of Surgery and Surgical Infections. He also is an associate editor of the 9th edition of Schwartz’s Principles of Surgery and its companion texts.

Dunn earned a bachelor of science degree in zoology from the University of Michigan in 1973 and his M.D. degree from Michigan’s School of Medicine in 1977. From 1977-1985, he was a medical fellow in general surgery and from 1985-1986, he was a fellow in transplantation and transplantation immunology, both at the University of Minnesota. He received his Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Minnesota Graduate School in 1985.

“I am very impressed with the breadth and scope of the programs at the University of Louisville and the desire everyone has to enhance its national and international stature,” Dunn said. “It clearly is an exciting time on campus and I welcome the opportunity to be a part of continuing the growth.”

The executive vice president for health affairs at UofL provides leadership for the university’s Health Sciences Center. The Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Public Health and Information Sciences, as well as 14 centers and institutes, all fall under the oversight of the executive vice president for health affairs, who also serves as a key member of President James Ramsey’s leadership team. The executive vice president also has principal responsibility for external affairs including hospital relations and other affiliated entities.