On Thursday, Jan. 27, the UConn Health Board of Directors formally endorsed the appointment of Dr. Bruce T. Liang as the Interim CEO and Executive Vice President of Health Affairs at UConn Health, effective Feb. 1.
Liang will succeed former CEO of UConn Health and Interim UConn President Dr. Andrew Agwunobi, who announced in mid-January that he would be stepping down from both positions to take on a leadership position at Humana, a private sector healthcare company .
Starting Feb. 1, Agwunobi will assist Liang with the Interim CEO transition until his official departure from the university on Feb. 20.
Liang started as a physician-scientist faculty member at UConn Health in 2002 after serving as an associate professor of medicine and pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine for 13 years. He became the UConn School of Medicine’s dean in 2015.
Liang is expected to keep his current positions as School of Medicine Dean and Ray Neag Distinguished Professor of Cardiovascular Biology and Medicine while he serves as Interim CEO and EVP of Health Affairs.
“Traditionally, the roles of Dean of the Medical School and CEO of UConn Health have been held by the same individual,” said Dr. David D. Henderson, UConn Health’s Associate Dean of Multicultural and Community Affairs and chair of the Department of Family Medicine, in an email. “Therefore, reverting to that structure is nothing new or unusual.”
“Additionally, Dr. Liang and Dr. Agwunobi have worked closely in recent years to coordinate their activities,”Dr. David D. Henderson, UConn Health’s Associate Dean of Multicultural and Community Affairs
Under Liang’s leadership as dean, the School of Medicine has received “record-breaking research grant funding of over $100 million year after year,” according to a UConn Today article published last Thursday. The medical school has completed several successful Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) accreditation surveys with Liang as the dean.
“[Liang’s] tireless effort in supporting basic wet lab, dry lab and clinical research has fueled the success of the record-breaking year with hopefully many more to come,” Dr. Anthony T. Vella, UConn Health’s Senior Associate Dean of Research Planning and Coordination, said in an email. “His guidance and leadership directed the School of Medicine to reach for the highest levels while never losing sight of the importance and value of collaboration, collegiality, compassion, rigor and integrity.”
According to the article, UConn was the first medical school in the U.S. to eliminate lectures, and it continues to offer early, hands-on clinical care exposure to medical students.
“[Liang] has over two decades of experience with the institution, and has demonstrated skill in leadership in the three domains that comprise academic health centers, namely, education, research and clinical care,” Henderson said. “…The medical school has continued to grow under his leadership.”