News and Analysis


James Scott

Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012 10:18 a.m.

GW Hospital searches for new CEO

The GW Hospital

The position of CEO for the GW Hospital has been vacant for more than three months. Hatchet file photo

Updated Jan. 8, 10:51 a.m.

The GW Hospital is looking for a new leader after CEO Trent Crable stepped down more than three months ago.

Crable’s resignation was announced in a brief letter to hospital employees eight days before his departure Sept. 30, but the change in leadership was only made public Friday through an article in the Washington Business Journal.

The letter, which came from the outside company that maintains primary ownership of the hospital, called Crable’s decision to resign “mutually agreeable.”

Crable served in the post temporarily beginning in June 2008 before assuming the permanent title of chief executive officer and managing director of the hospital in January 2009. Chief Operating Officer Kim Russo and Chief Financial Officer Rick Davis will share the responsibility of overseeing hospital operations during the ongoing national search for a replacement.

Lisa McDonald, director of marketing and business development for the hospital, said Crable’s resignation was not related to the recent reorganization of the medical center, which split the three medical schools of the University into separate entitles after a yearlong review, or recent leadership shifts in the medical center.

McDonald declined to comment as to why the change in hospital leadership was not previously made public through its communication arm. The hospital has not published a press release on its website since Sept. 20 and it has not yet updated all of the site’s pages to reflect Crable’s resignation.

The top levels of University leadership were informed of the vacancy, but as a legally distinct body, the hospital has no obligation to report such news to the broader GW community.

McDonald also declined to provide a target date for naming a new leader.

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The chair of the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences will step into the interim role of vice provost for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, GW announced Thursday.

Jeffrey Akman will serve in the newly combined position of dean and vice provost during a review of the Medical Center – the center that houses the Medical School – making him one of GW’s top administrators.

“While it’s been very much a whirlwind for the past two days, the reality is I feel like I’ve been preparing for this for a long time,” Akman said.

He will transition into the dual role as the senior vice provost for health affairs, John “Skip” Williams,  prepares to leave the University for a yearlong sabbatical and as Dean James Scott steps down from his position as dean of the Medical School.

The Washington Post reported that both Williams and Scott were being pushed out of their jobs by senior University officials.

“Dr. Akman brings to the position more than 33 years of service to the school, including 25 years as a full-time faculty member and numerous leadership roles,” University provost Steven Lerman said.

This staffing switch comes on the heels of the first phase of a multi-part review of the Medical Center, which will look at the organizational structure and strategy for the Medical Center. The review committee suggested GW create a “double-hatted” position that combines the roles of the vice president for health affairs and the medical school dean. This new administrator would be tasked with “managing the Medical Center-partner relationships and running the school.” The committee also suggested shifting the reporting relationships of the deans of the public health school and the nursing school to the provost.

“There is a need to clarify the vision, strategy and financial plan, including philanthropy, shared among the University, [GW University Hospital] and [the GW Medical Faculty Associates],” according to documents explaining the review.

University President Steven Knapp said having interim officials will avoid a situation where officials would be determining the future of their own positions at the Medical Center.

“This is not a response to a crisis in the financial right or the academic right,” Knapp said. “It is looking to the future.”

Akman will step down as chair of the psychiatry department while interim dean, and an interim chair will be named, Lerman said. Akman will assume his new leadership role on Jan. 3 and will stay on until GW finishes its search for a new dean.

Dr. Vincent Chiappinelli, the chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, will serve as interim associate dean of the SMHS and associate vice provost for health affairs during the review.

Priya Anand contributed to this report.

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Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010 10:45 p.m.

Top Medical School official resigns

Dr. John “Skip” Williams, senior vice provost and vice president for health affairs, will leave the University at the end of the year, after sources said senior officials at the University pushed him out of his position, the Washington Post reported Tuesday night.

Williams said he is leaving GW because the University “no longer wants him in that position,” the Post reported. The Post, who quoted three anonymous sources within the medical school, said Williams “has hired an attorney and is negotiating an agreement.”

Williams is the second high-ranking medical school employee to resign from top positions at the University six months into to a review of the Medical School’s organizational structure. Medical School Dean James Scott announced he would be stepping down from his position just before the Thanksgiving break, but no one would go into detail regarding the move.

According to the Post, Scott was pressured to resign by “top university officials” or else “risk jeopardizing his severance package.”

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