Rudolph Navari to depart IU for World Health Organization

Jan. 10, 2014

Rudolph M. Navari, M.D., Ph.D., associate dean and director of the IU School of Medicine-South Bend, will step down from the school at the end of April to take a position with the World Health Organization.

Rudolf Navari

Rudolph Navari, M.D.

An interim director will be named while a search is conducted to identify the next associate dean and director for the IU School of Medicine-South Bend.

Dr. Navari will be based in Geneva, Switzerland, and will serve as director of the Cancer Care Program in Eastern Europe. He will manage physician education and help introduce up-to-date cancer treatment protocols--both which lag behind what is typical in the United States--and he will oversee measurements to determine if both efforts decrease mortality. As happened with the treatment of AIDs around the world, WHO will work with pharmaceutical companies to help provide treatments at a greatly reduced cost in these countries.

“As a practicing oncologist, I have seen remarkable improvements in the fight against cancer as a result of new drugs and discoveries introduced in recent years," Dr. Navari said. "Internationally, though, many die for lack of access to these treatments. I am very privileged and humbled by the opportunity to help reduce suffering for those populations."

Dr. Navari became head of IUSM-SB in 2005, concurrent with the opening of Raclin-Carmichael Hall, where IUSM-SB medical classes are taught. Under his leadership, the faculty transitioned to one that is focused on cancer, genomics and infection disease; annual research grants have grown from about $500,000 to $2 million.

In March 2011, with the opening of Harper Hall, Dr. Navari became clinical director of the Harper Cancer Research Institute, a joint partnership between IU School of Medicine-South Bend and the University of Notre Dame. He stepped down from that position in 2013 to lead a National Cancer Institute (NCI) task force to define research directions for the long-term survival of cancer.

Also in 2013, Dr. Navari received a $2.1 million grant from NCI for a national study on the effectiveness of olanzapine in eliminating chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. He will continue managing that four-year project from his new position at WHO.

“We have greatly appreciated Dr. Navari’s leadership in establishing a model for the expansion of our regional campuses to four-year programs,” said Jay Hess, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the IU School of Medicine and president of university clinical affairs at IU. “In addition, he has developed an impressive national profile in clinical cancer research. He will be missed.”

Maryellen E. Gusic, M.D., executive associate dean of Educational Affairs at the IU School of Medicine, will head the search for a replacement.

“I too, appreciate Dr. Navari’s leadership and partnership in enhancing the educational opportunities available for students at the South Bend campus," Dr. Gusic said. "Rudy has overseen an expansion in class size at the campus and the successful implementation of a full four year curriculum in South Bend.  In addition, he has recruited faculty who are committed to advancing knowledge through teaching and through biomedical research. We wish Dr Navari all the best as he transitions to this new, exciting professional opportunity." 

Dr. Navari and his wife Jane came to the South Bend community in 1999 when Dr. Navari joined the Notre Dame faculty as director of the Walther Cancer Research Center. After joining the medical school, he continued at Notre Dame as an adjunct professor of chemistry and biochemistry. Hundreds of Notre Dame students have taken his popular course “Introduction to the American Health Care Industry,” a course he also teaches to medical students. Dr. Navari, who also serves as a professor of medicine at the IU School of Medicine, also teaches hematology/oncology and a course in physician patient communications.

The Navaris are among Notre Dame and the IU School of Medicine’s most generous donors, having underwritten endowed chairs at both institutions. In 2013, the Navari Family Foundation introduced a research grant program that provides the IU School of Medicine-South Bend faculty with $200,000 in grant support a year.


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