Noted Health Administrator, Researcher Dr. William Crist Appointed Vice President for Health Affairs

Aug. 14, 2008
Dr. William Crist
Dr. William Crist

Dr. William M. Crist, dean of the University of Missouri School of Medicine and a nationally noted pediatric cancer investigator, has been appointed vice president for health affairs at The University of Arizona. The Arizona Board of Regents approved the appointment today at its meeting in Flagstaff.

Crist, who is scheduled to begin his new duties Oct. 31, will be responsible to UA President Robert N. Shelton for the coordination and administration of overall academic and medical services in the UA College of Medicine (in Tucson and at the UA College of Medicine Phoenix in partnership with ASU); the UA College of Nursing; the UA College of Pharmacy; and the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.

He also will oversee all UA agreements with University Medical Center, University Physicians Healthcare (UPH) and UPH Hospital. Crist will work in partnership with Meredith Hay, UA executive vice president and provost, in the development and execution of strategic academic priorities for the health sciences academic units.

President Shelton said, "As our vice president for health affairs, we believe Bill Crist will take the UA's Arizona Health Sciences Center to the next level in terms of growth and success. His excellent track record as a medical school dean and successful fundraiser, as well as his noted work as a physician-scientist, provide the exact background we were seeking for this important new position. Arizona must address a severe shortage of physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other health professionals. Under Dr. Crist's leadership we will redouble our efforts to help address this crisis."

Hay, who oversaw recruitment for the newly created vice president position, said, "We're absolutely thrilled Dr. Crist has accepted this key position at the UA. With his vast experience as a health administrator and as a world-class research scientist and physician, he is the perfect individual to help guide development of our health sciences colleges and expansion in Phoenix."

Crist said, "I'm extremely excited to have the opportunity to lead the fast-emerging Arizona Health Sciences Center. I truly believe the `sky is the limit' for the UA's health colleges and its clinical enterprise if we work together, plan appropriately and are successful in gaining additional resources. The Arizona Health Sciences Center in Tucson provides first-class facilities that house excellent academic, research and clinical programs. And the new campus in Phoenix provides a remarkable opportunity for innovative health education, research and patient care. However, to ensure successful growth at both campuses we must emphasize collaboration among the three state universities and the Arizona Board of Regents; with the Legislature and the Governor's Office; and with private industry and foundations. I believe such collaboration is absolutely key to the kind of success we hope to achieve."

A 1969 graduate of the MU School of Medicine, Crist became its dean in September 2000; in October 2004, he was named MU's first Hugh E. and Sarah D. Stephenson Dean. During his tenure, he contributed greatly to the recruitment of renowned physicians, a tripling of the school's endowment, significant increases in grant support for research, extensive construction of new labs and an ongoing effort to integrate continuous quality improvement into the curriculum and patient care.

Also a professor in the MU Department of Child Health, Crist is among the scientists credited with dramatically improving our understanding of childhood leukemias and their treatments. He came to MU from the Mayo Medical Center in Rochester, Minn., where he served as chair of pediatric and adolescent medicine since 1997.

Prior to that, he served as director of pediatric hematology and oncology at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis and as chair of hematology and oncology at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis.

From 1976-85 he served as director of pediatric hematology and oncology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. From 1969-70, Crist completed an internship in pediatrics at the University of Michigan Medical School, Mott Children's Hospital, Ann Arbor, Mich. He was a resident fellow in pediatrics and pediatric hematology at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis Children's Hospital, St. Louis, Mo., 1970-71.

From 1971-72 he was a fellow in pediatric hematology at St. Louis Children's Hospital. Crist has published extensively in the medical literature, has received a wide range of honors and awards and has served on numerous editorial boards and professional societies.

He led the merger effort that formed the Children's Oncology Group, which designs and directs clinical trials for children with cancer throughout North America and beyond.