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Cynthia J. Johnson, PhD
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Kaiser to step down April 1 as president of UTHealth

Published: March 04, 2011 by Meredith Raine, Office of Advancement


Larry R. Kaiser, MD

Larry R. Kaiser, MD

In February 2011, Larry R. Kaiser, MD, announced he will step down as president of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), effective April 1.

Kaiser, who in 2008 became UTHealth’s fifth president, will join Temple University as chief executive officer of the Temple University Health System, senior executive vice president for health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine.

“Larry Kaiser has served The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston as president with distinction, and the UT System is fortunate to have had his leadership and contributions at this very important comprehensive academic health center,” UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, MD, said. “During his tenure, he and his leadership team have fostered an environment of excellence and have led the institution to greater success.”

Cigarroa appointed Giuseppe N. Colasurdo, MD, dean of UTHealth Medical School, as interim president. The appointment is effective April 1.

Giuseppe N. Colasurdo, MD

Giuseppe N. Colasurdo, MD

“Dr. Colasurdo’s knowledge of the institution and administrative experience will serve the institution well, and we are extremely fortunate to have him help guide the health science center in this important time of transition,” Cigarroa said.

Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Kenneth I. Shine, MD, said, “Larry Kaiser’s leadership of the health science center has been remarkable. Larry immediately won the hearts of the faculty, staff and students as well as the larger community of the Greater Houston area. He set the institution on a course of enhanced service to the community, the state and nation and he worked tirelessly to raise the stature of the health science center and its partners in the Texas Medical Center. We thank him for his dedicated service and wish him great success in his future endeavors.”

Under Kaiser’s leadership, the university launched a new brand, UTHealth, and was named a top workplace by the Houston Chronicle. In addition to raising the profile of the university, he continued to strengthen UTHealth’s relationship with Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, the Harris County Hospital District and other institutions in the Texas Medical Center.

“Being president of an institution of this caliber and potential has been the greatest professional experience of my life,” Kaiser said. “Making this decision has required extremely difficult deliberations on my part, but personal and family considerations overwhelmingly influenced my decision.”

Kaiser holds the Alkek-Williams Chair and serves as a professor of surgery and a professor of cardiothoracic and vascular surgery. He serves on the boards of the Greater Houston Partnership, Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, BioHouston, Houston Technology Center, Texas Heart Institute, John P. McGovern Museum of Health & Medical Science and American Heart Association in Houston. He chaired the 2009-10 Houston March of Dimes “March for Babies” Walk.

A search for a new president will begin in April 2012. Presidents of UT institutions are selected by the UT System Board of Regents. A presidential search advisory committee will be appointed by the chairman of the Board of Regents. The committee will be asked to present the names of candidates – unranked – to the Board, which will choose a finalist or finalists. The committee membership is made in accordance with the Board of Regents’ Rules and Regulations, which includes a provision for representation on such committees by various constituencies of the institution.

The interim president, Colasurdo, will remain dean of the medical school. He is an internationally known researcher and pediatrician. He became the UTHealth Medical School Dean and H. Wayne Hightower Distinguished Professor in the Medical Sciences in 2007 and holds the David R. Park Professorship in Pediatric Medicine.

He earned his medical degree summa cum laude from G. D’Annunzio School of Medicine in Chieti, Italy, and completed his residency at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. He completed his fellowship at the University of Colorado Health Science Center and the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver. He joined the Medical School faculty in 1995 as an assistant professor of pediatrics in the Division of Pulmonary Medicine. He became the division head in 1997 and has directed the fellowship training program in pediatric pulmonary medicine since 2001. He was named chair of the Department of Pediatrics in 2005.