President Teresa A. Sullivan announced today the appointment of Dr. Richard Patrick Shannon as the executive vice president for health affairs at the University of Virginia.
Shannon joins U.Va. after a distinguished career that has included increasingly important roles in medicine, biomedical research and higher education. He currently serves as the Frank Wister Thomas Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, and as chairman of the Department of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania Health System. An internist and cardiologist, Shannon is widely recognized for his work on patient safety.
“Rick Shannon is a clear choice for this important leadership position,” Sullivan said. “He is nationally recognized for patient-care innovation, research, educational and clinical experience. The University will benefit greatly from a leader like Dr. Shannon, who has a strong management track record within a complex, academic health center.”
The executive vice president for health affairs reports directly to the president. The position, part of a reorganization of the university’s health efforts, will combine both academic and clinical responsibilities. The deans of the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing will report to the executive vice president for health affairs for clinical responsibilities, and to the executive vice president and provost for academic responsibilities. In addition, the CEO of the Medical Center and associate dean and director of the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library will report to the executive vice president for health affairs.
In his new role, Shannon will work closely with Executive Vice President and Provost John D. Simon and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Patrick D. Hogan to advance University goals. In addition, he will work closely with the U.Va. Physicians Group and regional clinical and educational partners. Shannon’s primary responsibility will be to align the key components of the U.Va. Health System to position it to achieve the goal of becoming a top-decile academic medical center.
“I am delighted Dr. Shannon will be joining the University’s leadership team,” Rector George Keith Martin said. “Dr. Shannon’s experience working at complex academic health centers and his knowledge of the evolving health care environment will serve U.Va. well. I am confident he will help advance the strategic vision for the organization.”
The Health System consists of five components: the School of Medicine, School of Nursing, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, U.Va. Medical Center and the U.Va. Physicians Group. The system also operates several regional clinical programs throughout Virginia.
The U.Va. Medical Center's operating budget is $1.2 billion. With more than 28,000 inpatient admissions and 787,800 outpatient visits, the Medical Center plays a critical role in providing health care for the region and the state.
Among the primary responsibilities of the executive vice president for health affairs is implementation of the recently adopted strategic plan for the Health System. Shannon will have executive responsibility for the clinical enterprise that includes clinical faculty and staff of the U.Va. Medical Center, U.Va. Children’s Hospital and Transitional Care Hospital, multiple ambulatory clinics, and home health care. The position also requires a close working relationship with the U.Va. Physicians Group to respond to the changing healthcare environment that focuses on clinical care, patient safety and quality outcomes.
“The U.Va. Health System is poised to earn even greater national prominence in patient care, medical education and research that benefits society,” Shannon said. “I am honored to have an opportunity to play a leadership role in this continued growth and positive evolution during a period of unprecedented transformation in health care.”
The executive vice president for health affairs position represents the combination of the executive leadership responsibilities of two vice president positions. The dean of the School of Medicine and the CEO of the Medical Center will not be designated as vice presidents for future appointees.
“The creation of this new position is an organizational change that reflects the importance of the Health System and the elevation of the leadership role as a direct report to me,” Sullivan said.
A search advisory committee, formed last year, considered more than 50 highly qualified candidates for the position.
“Dr. Shannon is a proven leader with exemplary academic credentials and I am confident he will provide strong guidance to support and expand health professional education, patient care and research activities for the University," said Board of Visitors member Dr. Edward D. Miller, who chairs the Medical Center Operating Board and served on the search advisory committee.
Shannon currently oversees the largest academic department at the University of Pennsylvania, with more than 400 faculty members, 360 residents and fellows and 1,200 staff. He also has focused efforts on biomedical research, including oversight of a $160 million research portfolio and recent efforts to increase the commercialization of new discoveries across the medical school and university. As a top executive within the health system, Shannon led efforts to eliminate hospital-acquired infections and advanced efforts to improve patient outcomes – and the system’s bottom line – through an approach that establishes and fosters a culture of continuous improvement through continuous learning.
A native of Bridgeport, Conn., Shannon earned his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and his M.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. He did his internal medicine training at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. Prior to joining Penn in 2006, Shannon served previously as a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and at the Drexel University College of Medicine, and chaired the Department of Medicine at Allegheny General Hospital.
Shannon’s research focuses on cardiovascular disease and the use of incretin-based therapies in the treatment of heart failure. His work in improving patient safety has garnered national attention, including from The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, ABC’s “20/20” and was featured in the PBS documentary “Remaking American Medicine.” He is a member of the board of directors of the American Board of Internal Medicine and is the recipient of numerous awards for his work as an educator, researcher and physician.
Shannon will begin work in Charlottesville on or before Nov. 1.