March 25, 2024

President Espy announces health sciences realignment, new senior vice president for health affairs position

Aerial shot of Wayne State campus.
President Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D.
President Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D.

DETROIT – In a significant move to address Southeast Michigan’s rapidly evolving health care landscape, Wayne State University President Kimberly Andrews Espy recently announced a strategic realignment of the university’s health sciences enterprise to enhance its focus on clinical relationships and affiliations, leverage new opportunities, and deepen Wayne State’s commitment to interprofessional education, interdisciplinary research and integrated service outreach.

The realignment will see the creation of a new senior vice president for health affairs position that will oversee Wayne State's health sciences enterprise, including the School of Medicine, the College of Nursing, and the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. The senior vice president will also head the Health Affairs division, which will oversee interdisciplinary functions that aim to tackle health disparities in the region.

This leadership role will be crucial in developing and optimizing Wayne State's institutional relationships with health service delivery organizations and community partners, positioning the university for continued success in a landscape shifting toward value-based care, and promote and support new avenues for grant applications, particularly those with large-scale collaborative partnerships. The senior vice president for health affairs will coordinate and collaborate with Wayne State’s provost, who will retain final approval for all faculty hires, academic programs and standards, and matters pertaining to student affairs.

“In our increasingly complex and rapidly changing health care environment, it is essential to have dedicated leadership focused on advancing our institutional position and seizing new opportunities,” said President Espy. “This reorganization will bring tremendous value to Wayne State, support our health-oriented schools and colleges, and advance the health of Detroit and Southeast Michigan."

This strategic realignment reinforces Wayne State's commitment as a key anchor institution in Detroit, dedicated to advancing its academic, clinical and research missions to benefit students, patients and the city at large. It also aligns with President Espy’s recently announced Prosperity Agenda, a key pillar of which commits to empowering the health of Wayne State’s urban neighborhood.

President Espy is convening a search advisory committee to interview and identify qualified candidates for this new leadership role. The committee will be chaired by Boris Pasche, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the WSU Department of Oncology and president and chief executive officer of the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, and co-chaired by Debra Schutte, associate dean for faculty affairs in the College of Nursing. Espy said the Search Advisory Committee will be composed of representatives from each of Wayne State’s health science colleges, university and shared governance leadership, transdisciplinary research centers, and others. Committee members will be named shortly. 

SP&A Executive Search will assist Wayne State in generating candidates for the revised role, with the anticipation for a completed search by the end of the summer semester. Espy said the national search will kick off soon through campus listening sessions by SP&A and the search chairs with, in addition to Wayne State’s Board of Governors, each of the health sciences colleges and across the university, university leadership, shared governance, independent practice plans and other key external stakeholders. SP&A also requests the assistance of the campus community in developing a strong pool of outstanding candidates; more information on how to submit nominations will be issued after the position profile is completed and posted on the president’s executive search page.

President Espy thanked Dr. Mark Schweitzer, vice president of health affairs, as well as the faculty representatives on the Exploratory Committee and the ongoing working groups for their work toward creating a school dedicated to addressing the public health needs of Detroit and the surrounding communities. Moving forward, Dr. Schweitzer will focus his efforts on spearheading the next phase of planning and resource acquisition for this initiative by serving as a special associate to the president and provost for public health planning, a task that will require considerably more time in the coming months as the project approaches accreditation.

"With the creation of a new school focused on addressing the public health needs of our community, we deepen our commitment and impact,” said Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Laurie Lauzon Clabo. “This strategic direction allows us to enable and support interprofessional education and interdisciplinary research that meets the critical health needs of Detroit and the surrounding areas."


Matt Lockwood
Phone: 248-622-8060

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