Lawley named medical school dean

Thomas J. Lawley has been named dean of the School of Medicine and vice chair of the Emory University System of Health Care, effective Sept. 1. The appointment gives Lawley full titles to roles he has played since mid-May, when he was named interim dean and vice chair following the resignation of the previous dean, Jeffrey L. Houpt.

A national search for a permanent dean began at that time. In the year before becoming interim dean, Lawley had served as executive associate dean of the School of Medicine, dividing his efforts between the responsibilities of the deanship and the chairmanship of the Department of Dermatology. Becoming dean means that Lawley will step down as chair of dermatology and director of the dermatology section of The Emory Clinic, positions which brought him to Emory from the National Institutes of Health in 1988.

This is the first major appointment of Michael M. E. Johns, executive vice president for Health Affairs and director of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center. Johns says he is "delighted with Dr. Lawley's acceptance. His experience as a researcher and builder of research programs and his in-depth understanding of the National Institutes of Health from his own days there will serve the medical school well, as it continues its rapid rise among NIH-funded schools. Widely regarded as both a teacher and clinician, he has taken on increasing responsibilities in the business operations and expansion of the Emory University System of Health Care, assuring our educational missions will mesh well with our response to the changing healthcare delivery system. We expect the medical school to become one of the nation's top 10 on all counts, and I believe Dr. Lawley is the dean who can help that happen."

Johns took office July 1, but was deeply involved in the search process from Johns Hopkins where he was himself dean of the medical school. "New to Emory myself," Johns added, "I also value Dr. Lawley's knowledge and experience with the institution. Even more importantly, it became clear during the job search that he has the total confidence of an outstanding faculty."

Provost Billy Frye is equally enthusiastic about Lawley's appointment. "As chair of dermatology and interim dean of the medical school, Dr Lawley has clearly demonstrated not only his solid commitment to the academic mission of Emory, but also his strong administrative and leadership skills, and his capacity to garner the respect and support of his colleagues throughout the medical center," said Frye.

"I am pleased and delighted to have been chosen as dean at Emory," Lawley said. "It is clearly a great honor. I look forward to the challenge of helping Emory enter the ranks of the top 10 medical schools in the nation."

Lawley is a member of the executive committee of The Emory Clinic's board of directors and also serves on the committees for finance and managed care. He is president of the Emory Medical Care Foundation, part of Emory's contractual arrangements with Grady Memorial Hospital.

Among numerous national honors, Lawley was selected for membership in the American Society for Clinical Investigation, whose members are invited based on their accomplishments in research, and the Association of American Physicians. He is on the board of directors of the three major dermatology organizations: the American Academy of Dermatology, the Society for Investigative Dermatology, and the American Professors of Dermatology.

Lawley is a 1968 graduate of Canisius College. He received his medical degree in 1972 and was an intern in 1973-74 at State University of New York (SUNY) School of Medicine in Buffalo. He completed residencies in dermatology at Yale University and SUNY. In 1975, he went to the National Cancer Institute as a clinical associate and remained to move up through the ranks to become senior investigator at the Dermatology Branch before coming to Emory in 1988.

He and his wife, Christine, have two sons and a daughter.

--Sylvia Wrobel

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