IOWA CITY — An opportunity to lead the School of Medicine at renowned Johns Hopkins University was “impossible to pass up,” a University of Iowa leader said.
It was announced Monday that Dr. Paul Rothman, dean of the UI Carver College of Medicine since June 2008, will become the 14th dean of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and chief executive officer of Johns Hopkins Medicine, effective July 1, 2012.
“We love Iowa. This has been very difficult for us on an emotional level,” Rothman said by phone Monday from Johns Hopkins, where he was on campus for the announcement.
Johns Hopkins Medicine is a $6.5 billion academic medical center and a health system with a global reach, officials there said.
“It is the No. 1 medical center in the world. It is the best,” Rothman, 53, said. “It’s a great challenge, but a great opportunity for me.”
At the UI, a transition plan and a search committee process for a new dean will be announced early in 2012, officials said.
“The College of Medicine search will be national,” UI Provost Barry Butler said. “We will attract some very, very solid candidates for that, there’s no question.”
Rothman, who earns a base salary of $548,000 at the UI, said he will remain with the UI through the spring, as he prepares for his move to Johns Hopkins, where he will lead a School of Medicine with more than 2,500 full-time faculty members, more than 1,400 medical and graduate students and more federal research support than any other U.S. medical school. Rothman also will help govern a system of six hospitals in Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Florida.
The move came about quickly, Rothman said, after he was contacted by the search committee in early fall.
“I really didn’t know that I was a finalist until less than a month ago,” he said. “It was very rapid.”
The family will maintain a home here for the future because “We’ve raised our kids here. We have such a great love for Iowa,” Rothman said.
The soon-to-launch search for a new Carver College of Medicine dean will be the fourth deanship turning over at the UI. A search is underway for a new dean in the College of Engineering, after Butler left that role to become UI provost. New deans also are being sought in the Tippie College of Business, where Dean Curt Hunter is retiring, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, where Dean Linda Maxson is stepping down to return to the faculty.
Those searches are making good progress and department leadership in each college remains strong, Butler said.
“They’re not treading water,” Butler said. “They’re all moving the colleges ahead. And in two of those three cases we have sitting deans who are still serving.”
Optimally, a university would not be searching for four deans at one time, Bob Downer, an Iowa City attorney and member of the state Board of Regents, said. But the UI central administration remains strong and stable, Downer said.
“I have every expectation that they will be filled with high-quality individuals,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anything indicative of deeper problems that need to be addressed.”
Rothman joined the UI in 2004 as head of internal medicine. He was appointed in 2008 as dean, and UI leaders on Monday praised his leadership in growing programs and in helping develop the Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building and the UI’s Des Moines medical campus.
Before joining the UI, Rothman was an instructor and vice chairman for research in the department of medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. During his time at Columbia, from 1986 to 2004, he was the founding chief of its division of pulmonary, allergy and critical care medicine. A rheumatologist and molecular immunologist, Rothman received his medical degree from Yale University.