Newly-Appointed Associate and Assistant Deans will Lead UMSOM Initiatives in Faculty Professional Development, Continuing Medical Education and Culture Transformation Initiative
University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) Vice Dean for Academic Affairs James Kaper, PhD, along with UMSOM Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, announced today that Silke Niederhaus, MD, Associate Professor and Transplant Surgeon in the Department of Surgery, and Ada Offurum, MD, Assistant Professor and Leader of the Hospitalists Program in the Department of Medicine, will together lead the Office of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development as Associate Dean and Assistant Dean respectively. Their joint appointments follow the passing in May 2020 of Nancy Ryan Lowitt, MD, EdM, a longtime University of Maryland School of Medicine educator and Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs & Professional Development.
In their new roles, Drs. Neiderhaus and Offurum will share responsibilities that include leading UMSOM’s faculty professional development opportunities, as well as new faculty orientations; overseeing Continuing Medical Education (CME) initiatives; assisting in the coordination of the annual Festival of Science; serving as co-directors and the public face of the School’s Culture Transformation Initiative (CTI); and working with the Office of Student Affairs to coordinate graduation activities. Both will report to Dr. Kaper on matters related to faculty affairs, professional development and CME, and jointly to the Dean and Dr. Kaper on matters of culture transformation.
“With the appointments of these two highly qualified professionals, the legacy of accomplishments achieved by the late Dr. Nancy Ryan Lowitt will be maintained and further nurtured,” said Dr. Kaper, who is also the James and Carolyn Frenkil Distinguished Dean’s Professor, and Chair, Department of Microbiology & Immunology.
“I know that the Office of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development will be in the best of hands, thanks to the collective expertise of Drs. Neiderhaus and Offurum." “I want to express our deep gratitude to the Office of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development (Robertha Simpson, Chanise Reese-Queen, Althea Pusateri, and Gloria Owens), who have worked so hard to keep things moving forward during this challenging time. We are extremely thankful for their commitment and dedication,” Dr. Kaper added.
Transplant Specialist, Dr. Niederhaus Appointed Associate Dean
Dr. Niederhaus, originally from Germany, is a transplant surgeon who was inspired to pursue a career in medical transplantation by her own experience as a kidney transplant patient on two separate occasions. She received her MD degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine and completed her surgical residency and a two-year fellowship at the University of Wisconsin, as well as two years of sub-specialty training in abdominal transplantation. Dr. Niederhaus has had a number of publications, focusing on organ transplants, organ donors, and recipients. In her current position in the UMSOM Department of Surgery, she specializes in kidney and pancreas transplant, laparoscopic and single-port donor nephrectomy, and dialysis access.
“I am very excited to start working in my new role as the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Professional Development, and I am thrilled to join a dynamic team of fellow medical school leaders,” said Dr. Niederhaus. “Together with Dr. Offurum, and under the guidance of Dean Reece and Dr. Kaper, I hope to build a strong and well-connected team in the Office of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development. After a year of change, it is time to resume our focus on the Dean's Culture Transformation Initiative with renewed enthusiasm. We will work together to expand our faculty development program.”
Hospitalist Leader, Dr. Offurum Appointed Assistant Dean
Dr. Offurum completed her undergraduate degree (BS) at the University of Rochester, then graduated with her medical degree (MD) from New York University (NYU) School of Medicine. She subsequently completed her residency training in Internal Medicine also at NYU Medical Center. She joined the UMSOM in 2001. In addition to her clinical duties, she is the Associate Chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine, and leads the Inpatient Hospitalist Services, leading various activities in recruitment, retention, leadership and guidance to the hospitalist physicians at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). She is also a Faculty Physician Advisor serving as the primary liaison between the UMMC’s Care Management Program and physicians on resource utilization, denials management, as wel as educating clinicians on regulatory and compliance changes. In addition, she is also a UMSOM certified trainer in the Program for Excellence in Patient-Centered Communication through the UMSOM Dean’s Office.
“After working with our faculty as a hospitalist leader for the past 20 years, I am excited to bring that expertise to the Office of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development as its Assistant Dean,” said Dr. Offurum. “I look forward to working closely with Dr. Niederhaus to ensure that every School of Medicine faculty member is supported in their growth and advancement in a pleasant, diverse and inclusive professional environment.
We will never forget the profound contributions of Dr. Nancy Lowitt and will continue her legacy in collaboration with the school’s leadership of the Dean’s Culture Transformation Initiative and more. Dr. Lowitt has left behind big shoes to fill, but I am confident that with the support that we have received from the Dean’s office and the climate of change, we will be successful.”
Other faculty members involved in faculty development and culture transformation were excited about the appointments of Dr. Niederhaus and Dr. Offurum.
“Dr Niederhaus and Dr. Offurum will be dynamic leaders for Faculty Affairs, and will continue to implement Dr Lowitt's Culture Transformation Initiative throughout the institution,” said Kimberly Lumpkins, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery and Director of Medical Student Engagement in the Department of Surgery, and who is also President of UMSOM Women in Medicine and Science. “A vibrant, reimagined Office of Faculty Affairs will be a tremendous boon to UMSOM, as faculty are a cornerstone of all our academic activities, whether clinical, educational, or research.”
Added Sheri Slezak, MD, Professor of Surgery, Division Head, Plastic Surgery and Vice Chair of Faculty Affairs in the Department of Surgery: “I know that Nancy Lowitt would also be thrilled with these selections. These energetic and progressive physicians will continue the UMSOM’s commitment to provide a diverse and professional environment in which all of our faculty can thrive. Their renewed enthusiasm after a year of COVID will ensure that the Culture Transformation Initiative will continue to move forward and allow our faculty to excel as they teach the next generation of physicians,” said Dr. Slezak, who is also a member of the Executive Council of the UMSOM Women in Medicine and Science.
Dean Reece, who is also Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, UM Baltimore, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor, commented: “I am convinced that Dr. Niederhaus and Dr. Offurum are the perfect persons to continue the legacy of Dr. Lowitt in these critical areas for the UMSOM. This new leadership team will provide perspectives that will continue the strong momentum of the CTI program. In addition, they are ideally suited and committed to advancing the programs in Faculty Affairs, Professional Development and faculty CME. I am delighted that they have agreed to join the team of dedicated and committed professionals in the Dean’s Office.”
“I also want to extend my appreciation to the Faculty Affairs and Professional Development Team for all they have done to manage all aspects of the Office over the past several months. We are grateful to each one of them for the critical roles they each play in this outstanding operation.”
About the University of Maryland School of Medicine
Now in its third century, the University of Maryland School of Medicine was chartered in 1807 as the first public medical school in the United States. It continues today as one of the fastest growing, top-tier biomedical research enterprises in the world -- with 45 academic departments, centers, institutes, and programs; and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians, scientists, and allied health professionals, including members of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and a distinguished two-time winner of the Albert E. Lasker Award in Medical Research. With an operating budget of more than $1.2 billion, the School of Medicine works closely in partnership with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide research-intensive, academic and clinically based care for nearly 2 million patients each year. The School of Medicine has more than $563 million in extramural funding, with most of its academic departments highly ranked among all medical schools in the nation in research funding. As one of the seven professional schools that make up the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine has a total population of nearly 9,000 faculty and staff, including 2,500 student trainees, residents, and fellows. The combined School of Medicine and Medical System (“University of Maryland Medicine”) has an annual budget of nearly $6 billion and an economic impact more than $15 billion on the state and local community. The School of Medicine, which ranks as the 8th highest among public medical schools in research productivity, is an innovator in translational medicine, with 600 active patents and 24 start-up companies. The School of Medicine works locally, nationally, and globally, with research and treatment facilities in 36 countries around the world. Visit medschool.umaryland.edu