Weekly Features


IU School of Medicine's new dean is ready for a new school year

Sept. 12, 2013

Jay L. Hess, M.D., Ph.D., M.H.S.A., became the 10th dean of the IU School of Medicine on Sept. 1. In addition to his welcome message to the school, he will be a special guest this week on Inside Indiana Business, which airs at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, on WFYI TV; 11 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 15, on WTHR Channel 13; and across the state on air and online.

Dear colleagues:

Jay hess

Jay Hess, M.D., Ph.D.

After an energizing first week at IU following a busy summer working behind the scenes, I thought it was time to reach out to you. Let me start by saying I am thrilled to be chosen as your next dean and vice president for university clinical affairs. My wife, Robin, and I greatly appreciate the warm welcome we have received at every turn. We have been uniformly impressed by your talent, the dedication and pride all of you have in IU, and most importantly, how you aspire to make the institution and the care given to patients even better. With the strong support of the president, chancellor, the trustees, IU’s clinical partners, and the business and philanthropic community, I am confident that we can build on your accomplishments under Dean Brater’s leadership to become one of the nation’s preeminent academic health centers.

Having been through many leadership transitions myself, I imagine that you have many questions about me, particularly since I have been an outsider to IU. I thought it might be helpful to share some thoughts on what you can expect and how I see us working together successfully.

Our mission charges us to improve the health of patients in Indiana and beyond, through excellence in research, education and clinical care. We need to aim high, striving for excellence in each of these areas. However, with finite resources, I would like us to selectively prioritize investments in areas where we can have the most impact, areas in which we can be #1 or #2 in the nation. This requires major investments, recruiting top talent, and the fortitude to make difficult choices, deciding what to pursue and what not to pursue. Inevitably this involves conflict. I see my role as managing this conflict so the best ideas are heard and then acting decisively. While the decisions from my office won’t always be “yes,” they will be timely and the reasons behind them clear.

A “virtuous cycle” exists between the School of Medicine and its clinical partners. We need to tap this energy by building and maintaining collegial, synergistic relationships between Indiana University Health, Wishard-Eskenazi Health and the Roudebush VA. In addition, we will work to develop other “virtuous cycles” with our extraordinarily engaged Indiana business community through innovative public-private partnerships. It is only by doing this that we can achieve the kind of “systemness” required to be a world-class academic health center.

And finally, I will try to communicate well. I will be periodically sending out brief messages like this to update you on current developments, priorities, and progress toward our goals. We will be transparent about finances and share the good news and bad in real time. We will communicate priorities and goals clearly and broadly so that they reach all in the organization. Conversely you are one of my best sources of information. I highly value your candor and assure you that your input will be carefully considered and “elephants in the room” dealt with. As I visit the different areas in the organization, I hope that when you see me coming, you will run toward me, not away.

Thank you again for the warm welcome and for your support. I am greatly looking forward to beginning our work together.



Jay L. Hess M.D., Ph.D., M.H.S.A.
Dean of the School of Medicine
Vice President for University Clinical Affairs
Indiana University

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