UM chooses new dean for school of medicine

May 23, 1991|By Sue Miller | Sue Miller,Evening Sun Staff

Dr. Donald E. Wilson, chairman of medicine at the State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn, today was named dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Wilson, 54, becomes the nation's first black dean of an accredited medical school that is not predominantly minority.

Wilson, who assumes his duties in September, is the first black dean at the University of Maryland at Baltimore, a campus of six professional schools. His salary will be $225,000 a year.

Wilson replaces Dr. Richard D. Richards, who has served as acting dean since July 1990 when Dr. John M. Dennis retired as dean, a post he had held for 16 years.

There were three other finalists for the post that has been vacant for a year.

Dr. Errol L. Reese, president of UMAB, announced Wilson's appointment at the Medical School Teaching Facility at 10 S. Pine St.

"I am deeply honored, this is wonderful day for me," Wilson said after the announcement. "I will work hard and long on your behalf."

The new dean said his first order of business will be to look at curriculum reform, "to make the curriculum more relevant to the 1990s." One emphasis will be on medical ethics, "which we don't spend enough time talking about now," he said.

Wilson's medical specialties are gastroenterology -- the study of the digestive tract and its diseases -- and internal medicine.

UMAB sources said Wilson's 11-year association with urban medicine in New York and his reputation as a good administrator and an outstanding clinician weighed heavily in his favor.

"With his experience, strength and enthusiasm, Donald Wilson is the very best person to lead our medical school and continue its climb toward national eminence," Reese said. "Donald Wilson has 100 percent of my support, and I ask all students, faculty and staff to join me in welcoming him to the campus."

Roger J. Bulger, president of the Association of Academic Health Centers in Washington and a longtime associate of Wilson's, called him "a demonstrated leader and a man of integrity."

Wilson, a native of Worcester, Mass., did undergraduate work at Harvard University and earned his medical degree at Tufts University.

In Baltimore, he will head the fifth oldest medical school in the country. It was founded in 1807 and graduated its first class in 1810. The UM School of Medicine has about 5,700 living graduates, 50 percent of whom live and practice in Maryland.

Maryland's only state-supported medical school enrolls 585 students.

Before his association with SUNY in Brooklyn in 1980, Wilson was chief of gastroenterology at the Abraham Lincoln School of Medicine at the University of Illinois and the University of Illinois Affiliated Hospitals in Chicago for seven years. In 1977-78, he spent a year in London as a visiting professor at King's College Hospital Medical School at the University of London.

Wilson is a member of many medical societies, including the Association of American Physicians, and was founder of the Association for Academic Minority Physicians.

Among a number of special appointments, he has served as chairman of the National Digestive Diseases Advisory Board of the National Institutes of Health and as chairman of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Gastrointestinal Drugs Advisory Committee.

Wilson is married to the former Patricia C. Littell. They have four children.

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