Houpt resigns as medical dean

Medical School Dean Jeffrey Houpt has announced his resignation, effective June 1. Houpt has been dean since 1988.

Vice President for Health Affairs Charles R. Hatcher Jr. said a committee will be named shortly to conduct a national search. The three top candidates identified will be presented to the University administration for possible appointment, and Hatcher anticipates a new dean of the medical school will be in office by Sept. 1 this year.

"I'm sorry to see Dr. Houpt leave Emory at what I believe will be another exciting epoch in its history," said Hatcher. "But I know that he will be as successful in his new ventures into social policy as he has been as dean of the medical school. During the past six years, he has done an excellent job of increasing the school's standing as an institution known world-wide for its teaching, research and patient care. We are grateful for his contributions, and we wish him every good fortune."

Houpt plans to continue at Emory as a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences when he returns from a year-long sabbatical during which he will focus on an issue that has been of growing concern and interest for him. In a letter to the medical faculty, he wrote "I believe the loss of a growing proportion of our young people is the single most important and far-reaching problem of our times, with symptoms that include substance abuse, violence and teenage pregnancy. Many of these symptoms, if not the central problem itself, take place at the interface between the healthcare structure and society. I want to spend some time thinking through policies at that societal/healthcare interface, policies that might staunch the flow of loss. My years as dean have shown me that problems must be addressed at both the personal level and at the economic one, and I believe my expertise and experience as both a psychiatrist and an administrator will enable me to bring a new perspective to these issues. "

Houpt tried to take this sabbatical several years ago and was persuaded against it by Hatcher and then-President James T. Laney, who argued that the times were too critical in terms of the changing healthcare environment. Emory has since developed a strong healthcare structure, complete with a large primary care network and managed care capability, that enables it to compete effectively in the current climate. That capability, together with the arrival of a new Executive Vice President for Health Affairs scheduled for July, convinced Houpt this was "as good a time as it ever was going to be" to place the school in transition.

Houpt made his announcement to the medical school chairs Jan. 10, and sent a letter to the medical school faculty the following morning.

-- Sylvia Wrobel