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Finalists For Top UK Healthcare Post Take The Stage

Josh James
Three finalists for the executive vice president for health affairs post at the University of Kentucky gave presentations and took questions from staff, faculty, and other attendees during forums starting on June 26, 2017.

The three remaining hopefuls officially vying to become the next executive vice president for health affairs at the University of Kentucky toured the grounds and met with clinical and campus leaders this week.

A search committee created several months ago by UK President Eli Capilouto recently sat down with candidates and extended invitations to the trio of finalists to appear on campus. School officials plan to make an offer to one of them in the coming weeks.

The next EVPHA inherits a fast-growing healthcare complex that's seen major expansions under Dr. Michael Karpf, who helped shape the medical center into a $1.5 billion enterprise, in a time when the industry is grappling with tricky variables on the regional and national level. 

Karpf announced his decision to retire in September.

Dr. Mark Newman

A leading healthcare administrator with Duke University became the first candidate for the top job to introduce himself to a UK audience.

The current president of Private Diagnostic Clinic, the physician practice plan for Duke University’s Medical Center, took part in a public job interview of sorts Monday afternoon, first giving a short talk on his vision for UK Healthcare in front of about 100 attendees and then fielding questions on the still-evolving GOP healthcare bill, integrative medicine, and his plan for tackling health problems disproportionately affecting Kentuckians.

Quizzed on efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the Owensboro, Kentucky native said he opposes those plans and would lobby Gov. Matt Bevin to that effect.

The candidate said he would advise Bevin that "trying to either cut at this point or trying to reduce the programs that are essential to your constituents" doesn't "make sense."

Newman has held the position at Duke University since 2014.

Dr. Cam Patterson

Tuesday, Dr. Cam Patterson made the rounds on campus.

The second finalist serves as the senior vice president and chief operating officer at Weill-Cornell Medical Center/New York Presbyterian Hospital, one of the top-ranked hospitals in the country.

Asked why make the move to UK, Patterson answered, "Because I've seen what has happened over the past 12 years... I wouldn't have predicted that UK Healthcare would be where it is today 10 or 12 years ago."

New York Presbyterian Hospital currently ranks No. 6 among hospitals, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Dr. Wesley Burks

Wesley Burks, the dean at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was the last of the finalist candidates to meet with campus leaders and take questions from UK employees at twin forums.

The now-delayed Senate healthcare bill once again drove some discussion of the candidates’ philosophy on healthcare. Speaking personally on the proposed health reforms, Burks told the audience, "I feel like it's a fundamental right that we as a society should be able to take care of each other from a healthcare standpoint. Not everybody necessarily feels that way and so I understand that."

Burks also stressed the need to understand other points of view and work toward a productive dialogue with those holding the levers of power.

How To Weigh In

UK Healthcare staff and all those interested still have a chance to offer their opinions.

"We're asking everyone to provide feedback through the EVPHA website that's available on online. They can choose the candidate name, put the feedback form in. That will collected and evaluated by the president to look toward a final decision," says search committee co-chair Eric Monday.

Comments are due by the close of business on Friday, June 30.

Find the EVPHA feedback form here.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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