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  November 13, 2000

Deckers Named to Head UConn Health Center

Peter J. Deckers has been named executive vice-president for health affairs at the UConn Health Center, President Philip E. Austin announced on Thursday at a meeting of the Board of Trustees.

The announcement came after the board approved a bylaw change creating the position and enabling the dean of the School of Medicine to serve in both positions.

Deckers, dean of the medical school, has led the Health Center on an interim basis since fall 1999.

Austin commended the leadership Deckers has demonstrated during the past year. "Peter Deckers has played an instrumental role in guiding the Health Center through a particularly challenging period," he said. "As executive vice president for health affairs, he will continue to advance our commitment to excellence in education, research, patient care and community service. I am delighted that the Health Center will have the benefit of Dr. Deckers' vigilance, dedication and energy in the years ahead."

Deckers thanked President Austin and the board of trustees for their show of confidence. "I am honored to take on the leadership role of the UConn Health Center," he said. "We continue to face new challenges, and I welcome them wholeheartedly. I am grateful for the work of many people who have helped bring us forward and look to them for continued support and cooperation," said Deckers. "One person cannot make change alone, but I will lead, inspire, and support the Health Center community as best I can."

Deckers will also continue in his clinical role as a practicing surgeon in the Cancer Center, Department of Surgery. He will report to President Austin. Peter Robinson, dean of the School of Dental Medicine, will report to Deckers on administrative issues and to Austin on academic affairs.

In October 1995, Deckers was named dean of the UConn Medical School and executive vice-president for Physician Practice Organization , University of Connecticut Health System. Prior to that, he was executive vice president for clinical affairs, interim dean of the UConn School of Medicine and division chief of surgery. He had also served as hospital surgeon-in-chief, and director of the Integrated General Surgical Residency Training Program. From 1987 to 1996, he was the Murray-Heilig Professor, an endowed chair, and chairman of the Department of Surgery. He came to the Health Center in 1987 after three years as chairman of surgery at Hartford Hospital.

Deckers earned his medical degree from the Boston University School of Medicine, where he received the Outstanding Physician Award. He completed his residency in general surgery and was a United States Public Health Service trainee in academic surgery at Boston University Medical Center. His career began at the Boston medical school, where he advanced to the position of professor and vice-chairman for surgical education.

During his career, Deckers has served on many committees and professional societies, often in leadership roles, including interim chairman of the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project and President of both the New England Surgical Society and the New England Cancer Society. He has published nearly 200 papers in professional journals and served on the editorial boards of Breast Surgery and Surgical Oncology.

He and his wife of 36 years, Barbara Ann, live in Avon and have seven grown children.

The UConn Health Center includes the schools of medicine and dental medicine, John Dempsey Hospital, the UConn Medical Group and University Dentists.

Jane Shaskan