David Dunn, Prominent Surgeon and Researcher from Minnesota, Named UB Vice President for Health Sciences

By Arthur Page

Release Date: May 11, 2005 This content is archived.


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Surgeon David Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., has been named vice president for health sciences.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., Jay Phillips Professor and chair of the nationally prominent Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota and University of Minnesota Hospitals, has been appointed vice president for health sciences at the University at Buffalo by UB President John B. Simpson.

Dunn, an accomplished surgeon, scientist and administrator who has published more than 400 scientific articles and book chapters in the areas of surgical infectious diseases and transplantation, will assume his new position effective Sept. 1. He succeeds Michael E. Bernardino, who resigned in 2003.

Praising Dunn at a press conference, Simpson said his "powerful combination of clinical, scholarly and administrative expertise promises to have a tremendously significant impact on UB -- not only on the university's five health sciences schools, but also on our contributions to the larger communities we serve in the region and beyond.

"Through fostering vital research and clinical partnerships and collaborations with other institutions in our region, UB's strengths in health sciences education, training and research are essential to our service to our regional community, and to the health-care community-at-large," Simpson added. "This is a pivotal moment at UB as we build on the academic strengths that distinguish us as a leading research university, and as we continue to explore how our academic mission can be more responsive to the important health-care issues facing Western New York.

"Dr. Dunn brings to the table exceptional experience and leadership expertise in addressing such issues, and we are very fortunate that he will be joining us in this critical leadership capacity."

Satish K. Tripathi, UB provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, noted that the search for the vice president for health sciences "attracted a deep pool of absolutely outstanding candidates.  Dr. Dunn, however, emerged as the leader among leaders amidst his colleagues during this extensive international search process.

"Dr. Dunn -- preeminent surgeon and outstanding academic administrator -- has the vision, leadership and experience to develop a framework from which the extensive teaching, research and clinical activities among UB's health science schools and affiliated hospitals can be integrated, enhancing the overall quality of our students' education and clinical preparation," Tripathi added. "I genuinely look forward to working with Dr. Dunn in our pursuit toward academic excellence and achieving the potential of our health sciences schools: national prominence."

Dunn said he is impressed by both the people and programs at UB.

"From the time of my first visit, the friendliness and collegiality of everyone I met and the breadth and excellence of the research, clinical and educational programs in the UB health science schools stood out," he said. "To me, this represents fertile ground to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration in many different areas, recruit new faculty of national prominence and move programs into the top tier nationally."

Dunn added: "I also learned of the challenges facing the community in the delivery of health care, and it seems clear that UB's health sciences schools and programs can assist by taking a leadership role and collaborating with the various health systems to help determine how best to provide the entire spectrum of clinical care to the communities of Western New York in a cost-effective fashion. Concurrently, UB needs to train the next generation of practitioners in all health-sciences disciplines for the area.

"I look forward to tackling these and other exciting challenges with my new colleagues on the faculty at UB."

Dunn will be responsible for leading the strategic integration -- teaching, research, service and clinical activities -- among all of UB's health sciences schools, departments, and hospital and clinical affiliates. UB's five health sciences schools are the School of Dental Medicine, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, School of Nursing, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and School of Public Health and Health Professions.

Dunn was one of five finalists who were invited to campus for interviews from a field of more than 40 applicants.

The chair of the search committee, Kenneth Blumenthal, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Biochemistry in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, said Dunn "stood out in an extremely strong field from the earliest days of the committee's deliberations in documenting an outstanding record as a surgeon, a scientist and an academic administrator. In person, he was, if possible, even more impressive, demonstrating not only the skills apparent in his resume, but also the vision and leadership abilities that will enable him to be an outstanding vice president for health sciences."

A diplomate of the American Board of Surgery, Dunn is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

He is past president of the Surgical Infection Society, Association for Academic Surgery, Society of University Surgeons, Society of University Surgeons Foundation and the Minnesota chapter of the American College of Surgeons.

Dunn is a member of the editorial board of the Annals of Surgery, Clinical Transplantation and Critical Care Medicine and previously served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Surgical Research and Transplantation.

At the University of Minnesota, Dunn has been credited with making its Department of Surgery one of the top in its field in the U.S. Surgeons in the department are the only ones in the world performing intestinal transplants involving living donors as well as cadavers, and are doing pioneering work in islet-cell transplantation as a cure for diabetes and in robotic surgery.

Since he assumed leadership of the department in 1996, it has recruited more than two dozen outstanding new surgeon/scientists, doubled research funding, established seven endowed chairs and formed productive relationships with businesses that have resulted in corporate donations in support of new programs.

A graduate of the University of Michigan and University of Michigan Medical School, Dunn earned a doctorate in microbiology from the University of Minnesota and joined Minnesota's Department of Surgery in 1977 as a resident. He served as medical fellow in general surgery from 1977-85 and fellow in transplantation and transplantation immunology from 1985-86. He joined the medical school's faculty in 1986 as an assistant professor of surgery. He was promoted to associate professor of surgery with tenure in 1989 and then professor of surgery with tenure in 1993. He was appointed interim chair of the Department of Surgery in 1995 and in 1996 was named chair of surgery, concurrently holding the Jay Phillips endowed chair in surgery.

He is a member of the executive committee and board of directors of the University of Minnesota Physicians, Inc., the medical school's practice plan. He serves as chair of the medical school's finance committee and as a member of the Dean's Advisory Council.

Also joining the faculty of the UB medical school will be Dunn's wife, Kelli M. Bullard, M.D., assistant professor of colon and rectal surgery and surgical oncology at the University of Minnesota. A graduate of Stanford University, Bullard also is a graduate of the Harvard Medical School and did her residency at the University of California-San Francisco. She joined the University of Minnesota as a fellow in colon and rectal surgery in 2000. Bullard, a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, conducts research focusing on the cellular mechanisms of colon cancer progression.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York.