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  June 17, 2002

Health Center Oversight Board Established
Replaces Health Affairs Committee
By Jane Shaskan

A new 17-member Board of Directors has been established as the main oversight and leadership group for the Health Center, replacing the Health Affairs Committee, a subcommittee of the UConn Board of Trustees that had half a dozen members.

The new board was approved by the trustees and the state legislature late last year and will hold the first of its four yearly meetings in September. Subcommittees will be convened on academic affairs, clinical affairs, and finance. These subcommittees will tap the skills and knowledge of board members who hold high positions in education, the pharmaceutical industry, health care, economics, law, insurance, and government.

"The expanded board will be able to offer key advice in many areas, and serve as the critical counsel that a modern health care facility such as ours needs in order to thrive in these times of continual change," says Peter J. Deckers, executive vice president of the Health Center and dean of the School of Medicine. "They will provide diverse opinions and expertise vital to the management of the Health Center."

Claire Leonardi, who served as chair of the Health Affairs Committee, has been named chair of the Board of Directors. "I am honored and excited to serve with these extraordinary, talented individuals," she says. "It is a time of both great opportunity and great challenge.

This group is committed to the institution's mission of quality patient care, education, and community outreach, and will lead the way in changing times."

The new board is responsible for many areas, including grants and contracts; compensation plans and labor contracts; faculty promotion, tenure, reappointment, and sabbatical leaves; medical staff appointments; reappointment, compensation, and merit or incentive pay; staffing levels; business contracts and arrangements; and general operating policies and bylaws of the schools of medicine and dental medicine related to operations, administration, and clinical affairs.

The Board of Trustees will retain control of the annual operating and capital budgets; changes in the fundamental mission of the Health Center; declarations of fiscal emergency, closing of academic departments, or changes in tenure policies; and certain statutory areas.

"The multiple missions of academic health centers, along with the complexities that have resulted from changes in healthcare financing, are best addressed by a wide variety of input from our governing body," says Scott Wetstone, director of health affairs policy planning and chair of the group that recommended the organizational structure of the new board to replace the Health Affairs Committee. "We join a growing number of institutions that have empowered boards that can focus their efforts on matters specific to the academic health center rather than to the university at large."

The new board is made up of nine members nominated by the Health Affairs Committee, three selected by Gov. John G. Rowland, and three by the Chair of the Board of Trustees Roger Gelfenbien. The Secretary of the Office of Policy Management, Marc Ryan, and President Philip Austin are ex officio members.

James Abromaitis is commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development and administers economic development and affordable housing programs for the state. Abromaitis, who previously held management positions at Fleet Bank and the Connecticut Bank and Trust company, serves as a member of the University's Board of Trustees and its Health Affairs Committee. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from UConn.

Philip E. Austin is president of the University of Connecticut. He earned master's and doctoral degrees in economics from Michigan State University, and serves on the Board of Directors of Connecticut United for Research Excellence Inc., the Governor's Council on Economic Competitiveness and Technology, and the MetroHartford Regional Economic Alliance.

Bruce Chudwick is a partner and a member of Shipman and Goodwin's Business Law Department where he specializes in municipal and public finance law and is chair of the firm's Public Finance Practice Group. He holds a J.D. degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law. He also is a certified public accountant.

Aldrage Cooper is a retired vice president of corporate relations for Johnson & Johnson, where he was active with the company's various organizations, including its Minority Organization Task Force. He received his bachelor's degree from UConn. He is an emeritus director of the UConn Foundation, a member of the Founders' Society, which recognizes UConn's most generous benefactors, and was inducted into the School of Business' Hall of Fame.

Thomas Devers is an attending physician at New Britain General Hospital and a consultant at the Hospital for Special Care in New Britain. Dr. Devers, who completed his residency at the UConn School of Medicine, serves on the Patient Care Committee and the Quality Assurance Committee at New Britain General Hospital and on the Curriculum Elective Committee and the Volunteer Faculty Council at the Health Center.

David Friend leads Watson Wyatt's Consulting Operations in the United States, together with two other senior partners, and is a member of the company's Management Committee, which oversees operations worldwide. He previously held senior management positions at High Voltage Engineering, an international medical and specialty industrial firm, and at Sanus Corp., an HMO. Dr. Friend received his medical degree from the University of Connecticut and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Jon Goldberg is a professor in the Department of Prosthodontics and Operative Dentistry and director of the Center for Biomaterials at the UConn Health Center. He has held positions at the University of Connecticut Health Center for more than 25 years. He is a member of UConn's Institute of Materials Science and is former president of the Dental Materials Group of the American Association for Dental Research.

Nancy Hutson is senior vice president of Pfizer Global Research and Development and the director of Groton Laboratories. She was formerly the head of the U.S. Exploratory Development and U.S. Development Sciences at Pfizer and has held leadership positions there for more than 20 years. She currently serves on the boards of Lawrence and Memorial Hospital, Illinois Wesleyan University, Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, Mitchell College, and the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.

Lenworth Jacobs is director of the Emergency Medical Services/Trauma and Rehabilitation Medicine program at Hartford Hospital, and professor and chair of the UConn School of Medicine's Department of Traumatology and Emergency Medicine. He graduated from the University of West Indies Medical School and earned his master's in public health at Harvard University School of Public Health. He serves as vice chair of the UConn Board of Trustees, chair of its Finance Committee, and is a member of its Health Affairs Committee.

Paul Johnson recently retired from Gaylord Hospital in Wallingford, where he held the positions of president and chief executive officer. He holds a law degree from the UConn School of Law and completed a program for management development at the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. He is a director of Cooper Instrument Co. in Middlefield, Advanced Plastic Manufacturing in West Haven, Rafal & Associates in Essex and S/L/A/M, Inc., an international architecture firm. He also has served as president and director of the United Way of Greater New Haven, as a trustee of Brown University, and as director of Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Gerard Lawrence has been an orthopedic surgeon at Windham Community Memorial Hospital for more than 30 years. He is a former member of the UConn Board of Trustees and the UConn Foundation Board of Directors. He has also served on various boards at Windham hospital and Connecticut Children's Medical Center. He earned his medical degree from New York Medical College after military service in the Marine Corps, and earned an MBA from the University of Connecticut. He has been physician and consulting physician for sports teams at UConn, Eastern Connecticut State University, and the United States Olympic Program.

Claire Rochat Leonardi is a general partner of Fairview Capital L.P., a minority-focused private equity investment firm based in Farmington. Previously she was vice president for Institutional Markets for Phoenix Home Life Mutual Insurance Co. She is a vice-chair of the UConn Board of Trustees and chair of its Health Affairs Committee. She is a graduate of Rutgers University and holds an MBA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She is a founding member and member of the Board of Directors of the New Dance Collective, a concert jazz dance company in Danbury.

David Marks is a partner of Green Mountain Partners in Quechee, Vt., a buyout firm specializing in medium-size manufacturing companies. A chartered financial analyst, he holds a master's in business administration from UConn and an executive MBA from Dartmouth. He serves on UConn Business School Board of Overseers and as the independent director of the U.S. Allianz Mutual Funds, and is a past-president of the UConn Alumni Association Board of Directors and a past chair of the UConn Foundation Investment Committee.

Michael Meacham is vice president of Integrated Health Services at Eastern Connecticut Health Network. He previously served as director of Certification and of Health System Development for the state Office of Health Care Access. His career includes experience in investment banking, law, higher education and health care. He served for eight years in the Kansas House of Representatives and served on the Board of Trustees of Wichita State University for five years.

John Rowe is chairman and CEO of Aetna Inc., the nation's largest healthcare insurer. He holds a medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in Rochester, N.Y. Dr. Rowe was the founding director of the Division on Aging at Harvard Medical School and is past-president of the Gerontological Society of America. He serves on the Board of Trustees for Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

Marc Ryan is Secretary in the Office of Policy and Management, and is responsible for policy, planning, budgeting, and management of Connecticut's state government. He earned a bachelor's degree from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, and holds a master's in public administration from the University of New Haven. He has also studied in Warsaw and Moscow. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Children's Medical Center.

Robert Samuels was one of the founders of ABS Development Company, a shopping centers development firm. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston and the Board of Chancellors of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in New York, and is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Institute of Living.

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