Thursday, July 26, 2007

On to New Orleans

A message to our staff yesterday.

Another transition here at BIDMC. First, Herb Kressel, our chief of radiology, stepped down to become editor of the most respected radiology journal in the country. Then, Jeff Flier accepted an offer to become Dean of our local medical school. Now, Ben Sachs, our distinguished chief of obstetrics and gynecology, has announced that he has accepted an offer to become Senior Vice President of Tulane University and Dean of the Medical School.

Those of you who know Ben knows that he would not leave us for a "standard" academic appointment at another institution. Here, he is taking on a mission of great humanitarian import. As he says in a letter to his friends today:

"Two years ago, the Gulf region was devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita and yet people today are still struggling. What attracted me to this position was the opportunity to help rebuild the healthcare system of New Orleans and the Gulf coast. Both a redesigned medical system that provides high quality care for all and a marked growth in world class biomedical research are vital for the region's economic recovery. Tulane is absolutely committed to these goals and playing a major role in the region's recovery. I am energized by the thought that I can help make a difference using the skills and experience I have gained over the last 3 decades."

This assignment is so consistent with Ben's philosophy of life and his prior good deeds throughout the world (e.g., in Ukraine, where he was driving force for improvements in the medical system), that we cannot be surprised. Of course, here at BIDMC, Ben has also been known for running a superb department, with an outstanding record in clinical care, education, and research. He has been an innovator in everything from team training to encouraging young researchers in fields like preeclampsia.

All of us at BIDMC take some pride when one of our senior medical leaders - in this moment Dr. Sachs, and also recently Drs. Flier and Kressel - move on to be of service to a broader audience. We wish Ben well and look forward to receiving his favorite recipes for jambalaya!


Ileana said...

Congratulations and best wishes to Ben. What a guy!

And thanks Paul for sharing this with us.

Unknown said...

It's good to see excellent experience coming to our area. I also hear the guy from the VA who is taking the CEO position at Tulane is excellent as well. The area needs it, and it is sure to be a challenge for any hospital leadership.

I hope he knows that Louisiana itself is a big challenge though. I'm sure he will be relaying some excellent political stories that will make your jaw drop.

Tulane is excellent though. My girlfriend is in her undergrad and is wanting to go to Tulane Med School.

Unknown said...

Oh....and tell your friend if he's looking for a place to live, his safest bet is the North shore of the lake. It's best to suck it up and make the commute, it's only 30+ minutes anyway. The area is safe, school districts are best, and the area is fantastic.

If he he wants some good restaurant suggestions let me know. I'll point him in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

New Orleans NEEDS good, bright caring men like your friend. He will be tested in the coming months because it is very difficult to get things accomplished. He will be frustrated and aggratvated and will never feel more alive in his entire life. He is doing very important work in helping reconstruct an wonderful gem of a city and culture. I am excited for the city and I am am excited for your friend.

Anonymous said...

It is wonderful that Dr. Sachs is coming to Tulane Med to be our Dean and SVP, and that he arrives with such praise from his colleagues! It is quite encouraging to hear his motivations: he will find that the students and faculty here are quite determined to rebuild our fractured health care system. We've gone a long way already, but we need a truly committed leader. I'm looking forward to seeing greater and faster progress under his leadership.

Anonymous said...

Good news; you have great people.

Bad news; you have become the J and J of the hospital world. Everybody wants to hire your people.

Elliott said...

What's going on? Isn't this extraordinary (and not in a good way) to lose your chief of anesthesia, radiology, and ob/gyn. Your surgery chief is no longer running the show solo and has created an executive committee and Dr. Flier must be a loss as well.

Perhaps I misunderstand the size of the BIDMC medical staff, but this seems like a mass exodus. Individually, each of these transitions may make sense, but taken together, they seem to form a pattern.

Anonymous said...

Not to worry. Normal transitions. And there is a large and able farm team behind them.