News Release

May 8, 2008

Contact: Maureen McGuire, 860-679-4523

UConn President Names New Vice President for Health Affairs and Medical School Dean

Dr. Cato T. Laurencin will join UConn Health Center in August

Farmington, Conn. – University of Connecticut President Michael J. Hogan today announced that Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D., a nationally prominent orthopaedic surgeon, professor and administrator from the University of Virginia, will become the new Vice President for Health Affairs at the UConn Health Center and the seventh dean of the UConn School of Medicine. Dr. Laurencin will also hold the Van Dusen Endowed Chair in Academic Medicine and will be a professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to make this appointment,” President Hogan said. “Dr. Laurencin is an exceptionally accomplished scientist, doctor, and community leader, with outstanding administrative skills.”

Dr. Laurencin will join the Health Center on August 11. He is currently the Lillian T. Pratt Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Virginia, as well as the Orthopaedic Surgeon-in-Chief at the University of Virginia Health System. In addition, he was designated as a University Professor at the University of Virginia, one of the university’s most prestigious titles, and holds professorships in Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering.

Dr. Laurencin is an expert in shoulder and knee surgery and an international leader in tissue engineering research. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American College of Orthopaedic Surgeons, is widely published in scholarly journals and holds more than 20 U.S. patents. Among Dr. Laurencin’s numerous awards and accolades, he was recently honored by Scientific American Magazine as one of the top 50 innovators for his groundbreaking technological work in the regeneration of knee tissue.

“The University of Connecticut is a wonderful institution with an outstanding young medical school. I am excited about leading this great medical center,” Dr. Laurencin said.

Dr. Laurencin’s selection follows a comprehensive national search to find a successor to Peter J. Deckers, M.D., who is leaving his position on August 10, after 13 years as dean, eight years as Executive Vice President and more than 20 years of service to the UConn Health Center. Dr. Deckers will take a one-year leave and will formally retire in 2009. During his retirement, however, Dr. Deckers, who is an accomplished surgical oncologist, will remain involved with the Health Center and will see patients, teach, and assist with philanthropic and outreach efforts.

“We’re indebted to Dr. Peter Deckers for his many years of dedicated service and leadership of the School of Medicine and Health Center. I am so pleased that he will continue to play a valued role in our academic, clinical, and outreach activities at the Health Center,” President Hogan added, noting that under Dr. Deckers’ leadership, UConn’s School of Medicine and Health Center has emerged as a leader in academic medicine.

“I’m grateful that Peter has agreed to continue in his role and assist with the leadership transition until Dr. Laurencin begins his appointment on August 11,” said President Hogan. “Throughout my transition here, Peter has provided not only assistance and advice, but also personal friendship that I deeply value.”

The search committee for Dr. Deckers’ successor was led by Richard Garibaldi, M.D., who is the Health Center’s former chairman of the Department of Medicine.

“Dr Laurencin is inspirational, an outstanding candidate,” Dr. Garibaldi said, noting that the search committee was a diverse one, with representatives from all parts of the Health Center. “The search was a great team effort; everyone approached the task in good faith with the best interests of the Health Center in mind. It was a great job of really pulling together to get a great new leader.”

“The opportunities for the Health Center and for the university are enormous. I look forward to working with faculty, students, staff, and the community,” Dr. Laurencin added.

Dr. Laurencin has been with the University of Virginia and its Health System for five years. Prior to that, he was at Drexel University, Drexel University School of Medicine and Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia where he served as the Helen I. Moorehead Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering, Vice Chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Clinical Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Director of Shoulder Surgery.

Raised in North Philadelphia, Dr. Laurencin earned his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University and his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, where he was a Magna Cum Laude graduate and the recipient of the Robinson Award for Excellence in Surgery. During medical school, he also earned his Ph.D. in biochemical engineering/biotechnology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he was a Hugh Hampton Young Scholar.

Upon completing both of his doctoral degrees, Dr. Laurencin joined the Harvard University Orthopaedic Surgery program, ultimately becoming the chief orthopaedic surgery resident at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. He also completed a fellowship in sports medicine and shoulder surgery at Cornell University Medical Center and the prestigious Hospital for Special Surgery, where he worked with the team physicians for the New York Mets and St. John’s University in New York.

Among his many national responsibilities, Dr. Laurencin has served as Speaker of the House of the National Medical Association, and currently serves as Chair of the Board of the National Medical Association’s W. Montague Cobb Health Institute. He has been a member of the National Institutes of Health National Advisory Council for Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and the National Science Advisory Board for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He currently sits on the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Directorate Advisory Committee.

Dr. Laurencin has been named to America’s Top Doctors and America’s Top Surgeons for his clinical achievements and is profiled in the current edition of Black Enterprise magazine which features “America’s Leading Doctors.” In research, he has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the Department of Defense. He has won the prestigious Nicolas Andry Award from the Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons for his work in musculoskeletal regeneration.

Dr. Laurencin is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He is married to Cynthia Laurencin and they have three children, ages 9, 11, and 13.


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