Health Team

UCLA exec to head Duke Health System

Posted January 13, 2015

Dr. A. Eugene Washington, Duke University chancellor of health affairs and chief executive of the Duke University Health System

— The chief of the UCLA Health System in Los Angeles was named Tuesday as chancellor of health affairs at Duke University and chief executive of the Duke University Health System.

Dr. A. Eugene Washington will begin at Duke in April, succeeding Dr. Victor Dzau, who resigned last June to become president of the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences.

“Gene Washington has a track record of outstanding leadership in every aspect of the work of an academic medical center – research, education and patient care,” Duke President Richard Brodhead said in a statement. “A gifted communicator, he has special skills at getting people to work together in support of the larger mission. He has been at the forefront of the national effort to make patient outcomes the focus of health care. And he is a champion of community health who will bring that commitment to Durham.”

Washington, 64, has been at UCLA for almost five years, also serving as vice chancellor for health sciences, dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine and a distinguished professor of gynecology and health policy.

He is considered a leader in assessing medical technologies, translating research into health policy and shaping health care practice. He helped spearhead efforts to change clinical practice and policy guidelines for prenatal genetics, cervical cancer screening and prevention and reproduction-related infections. He also has called for academic health systems to reconfigure themselves and assume the lead in creating new models for research, education, clinical care and community engagement.

“In the world of health, this is a particularly promising time,” Washington said in a statement. “Without question, Duke is uniquely positioned among the very top health sciences institutions to take advantage of the opportunities available, given its extraordinarily accomplished people, exemplary programs across mission areas and enormously supportive partners. I feel honored and privileged to assume this key leadership role, and I look forward to working with my new colleagues to realize our full potential. Together, we will continue to build the future of science, education and health – to the benefit of the communities and populations we serve.”

Before UCLA, he served as executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of California, San Francisco, where he helped train medical students, residents, fellows and junior faculty, oversaw the research enterprise and steered strategic planning. He co-founded a research center that studied medical effectiveness for diverse populations and co-founded the UCSF-Stanford Evidence-based Practice Center. He also previously worked at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

A native of Houston, he earned a bachelor's degree at Howard University, graduate degrees at the University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard University and a medical degree at UCSF.

In November, he received the David E. Rogers Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for his “major contributions to improving the health and health care of the American people.” His work also has been recognized with the Outstanding Service Medal from the U.S. Public Health Service and election to the IOM and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

“Gene Washington understands the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for health and health care,” Thomas Gorrie, chairman of the Duke University Health System’s Board of Directors, said in a statement. “His experience, knowledge and proven leadership make him the ideal person to oversee Duke Medicine at a time of great change and innovation.”


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