July 7, 2020

Board of Governors honors Professor Sobel with dean emeritus title

Jack D. Sobel, M.D., distinguished professor of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, has been awarded the title of dean emeritus.

The Wayne State University Board of Governors unanimously supported the recommendation by President M. Roy Wilson and Provost Keith Whitfield at its June 19 meeting.

Jack D. Sobel, M.D.

“You have provided stable and inspirational leadership in some of the most difficult times in the history of the school,” Provost Whitfield said in a letter to Dr. Sobel. “To recognize your incredible contributions to the leadership and operation of the school … this is a select award we give as one of the highest recognitions for service above and beyond to members of the Wayne State community.”

Dr. Sobel served as interim dean, dean and interim vice president for Health Affairs for the university.

“I am sincerely honored by the title,” said Dr. Sobel, who stepped down as dean in April to return to research and caring for patients. “This is an outstanding school of medicine, and it was my great privilege to serve as its dean. I am proud to have been a part of our 152-year history of training nationally recognized physicians and researchers, and providing much-needed care for the community.”

Dr. Sobel was initially appointed interim dean of the School of Medicine in November 2014. He was named full dean in June 2015. In September 2019, President Wilson appointed him interim vice president for Health Affairs for the university.

A 1965 graduate of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in South Africa, Dr. Sobel served as a research fellow in Infectious Diseases, Laboratory of Clinical Investigation, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, with the National Institutes of Health, and as a fellow in Infectious Diseases at the Medical College of Pennsylvania. He joined the Wayne State University School of Medicine as a professor of Internal Medicine in 1985, and was named chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases.

One of the world's foremost authorities on bacterial vaginosis, Dr. Sobel is a widely published and strongly funded physician-researcher. He has been involved in basic science, translational and clinical research since the inception of his Infectious Diseases Research Fellowship in 1976 at the NIH Laboratory of Clinical Investigation. He has served as a consultant for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's special committee for recommending guidelines for the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

He also served as president of the Michigan Infectious Diseases Society from 1997 to 1999, and is a member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the National State President's Committee and the Infectious Diseases Society of America, Practice Guidelines Committee.

The former chair of the Division of Research in the Department of Internal Medicine, Dr. Sobel also is a professor of WSU Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, and of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

He received the Golden Apple Award for best clinical teacher in 1979 and the Medical House Staff Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching in 1984 at the Medical College of Pennsylvania. He was given the Distinguished Faculty Award from the WSU Department of Internal Medicine in 1986 and the School of Medicine's Teaching Award in 2004. In 2008 he received the Gershenson Distinguished Faculty Award, and in 2011 was elected to the WSU Academy of Scholars.

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