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Eric Schoch
IU School of Medicine

Last modified: Monday, March 2, 2009

Ora Pescovitz, leader at IU and Riley Hospital, takes executive role at University of Michigan

March 2, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS -- Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D., who oversaw dramatic growth in research at Indiana University School of Medicine and excellence in children's health care at Riley Hospital for Children, has accepted the top leadership position at the University of Michigan Health System.

Pescovitz has been named executive vice president for medical affairs at Michigan and CEO of the U-M Health System. She will be assuming her new posts at the Ann Arbor campus on May 11.

Pescovitz has served as executive associate dean of research affairs at the IU School of Medicine since 2000. During that time the school's research enterprise nearly doubled in size, from $133 million to nearly $260 million per year in grants and contracts. She also oversaw the construction of 700,000 square feet of new research space at the School of Medicine since 2003.

In 2004 she was named president and CEO of Riley Hospital for Children while continuing in her School of Medicine post. As the leader of the nation's sixth-largest pediatric hospital, she oversaw the expansion of Riley's services across the state as well as the construction of the $470 million, 675,000-square-foot Simon Family tower.

More recently she added another leadership hat when IU President Michael McRobbie appointed her interim vice president for research administration, tasking her with a restructuring of the management of research at all of Indiana University's campuses.

"I am honored and excited to take on a new challenge at the University of Michigan," Pescovitz said. "But as I leave I could not be more proud of the remarkable advances that Riley Hospital, Clarian Health, Indiana University and its School of Medicine have made in the past two decades. Together, our partner institutions have truly transformed our community and the entire State of Indiana. The opportunity to participate in major advances in research, education, patient care and advocacy has been most gratifying to me."

Leaders at IU and Clarian praised Pescovitz' service.

"Over the years, Ora Pescovitz has made significant and lasting contributions to Indiana University," said IU President McRobbie. "Her energy, intelligence and leadership will be missed throughout the entire university. On behalf of Indiana University I want to thank Ora for the outstanding work she has done during her years at IU. We all wish her continued success at the University of Michigan."

"Ora's leadership has been instrumental in Riley Hospital for Children being recognized as one of America's best children's hospitals," said Clarian Health President and CEO Dan Evans. "While her leadership and tireless commitment will be missed by us all, we congratulate her and wish her all the best as she tackles this new endeavor.

"As with any effective leader, a key part of Ora's legacy will be the strong leadership team she has built at Riley," Evans said. "I am confident that we will continue to forge ahead in our quest to provide the highest quality care to children across Indiana and from around the country," Evans said.

"Ora is a valued colleague and friend who has made enormous contributions to the school, Riley, the health of our citizens and to our community in general," said Dr. Craig Brater, dean of the IU School of Medicine and the Walter J. Daly Professor. "We truly regret her departure, but we celebrate her success and wish her well."

Brater said he will appoint an interim executive associate dean for research affairs and convene a search committee to nominate Pescovitz' successor. Dan Fink, chief operating officer at Riley, has been named interim CEO. A search committee had already begun work to select her successor in the IU research administration position.

In her new role, Pescovitz will direct the University of Michigan Health System, a premier academic medical center with a total operating budget of $2.9 billion. UM's medical school brought in more than $412 million in research funding from all sources and ranks seventh overall, and second among medical schools affiliated with public universities, in grants from the National Institutes of Health.

The University of Michigan Health System consists of the University of Michigan Medical School and its Faculty Group Practice, the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers, Michigan Health Corp. and the clinical activities of the School of Nursing.

Pescovitz is a nationally recognized expert in disorders of growth and puberty with nearly 180 research manuscripts and books published. She is the Edwin Letzter Professor of Pediatrics and served as the director of pediatric endocrinology and diabetology at IU School of Medicine and Riley Hospital between 1990-2004. She has served as president of the Society for Pediatric Research, the nation's largest pediatric research organization, and president of the Lawson Wilkins (North American) Pediatric Endocrine Society.

As research executive associate dean at the IU School of Medicine, Pescovitz also administered the Indiana Genomics Initiative (INGEN), which was funded by $155 million in grants from the Lilly Endowment. INGEN laid the foundation for the next generation of IU research building on the discoveries of the Human Genome Project and helped jump-start the state's life sciences economic development efforts. She also contributed to the creation of the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, a statewide collaboration of university scientists, business and government to translate the discoveries of basic science into improved health care for patients.

She has served on several early BioCrossroads task forces, the initial selection support committee for the Indianapolis Zoo Prize, the Dean's Advisory Board of the Herron School of Art, the Board of the Borns Jewish Studies Program at Indiana University, the Board of Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, the Board of Clarian North Hospital, and the Central Indiana United Way Board, where she is also a member of its Executive Committee.

Pescovitz is married to Mark Pescovitz, M.D., an organ transplant surgeon, professor of surgery and of microbiology and immunology and vice chair for research in the Department of Surgery at IU School of Medicine.

"Indianapolis has been a wonderful community for Mark and me to raise our family," said Pescovitz. "Our now-adult children, Aliza, Ari and Naomi, thrived here. For now, Mark will continue his fulfilling work at Indiana University School of Medicine and like many other dual-career couples, we will tackle the four-hour commute between Ann Arbor and Indianapolis. I look forward to maintaining my relationships here on my return visits to Indianapolis."