Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017 | 3:38 p.m.
Just weeks after its initial class, the UNLV School of Medicine appointed an acting dean on Wednesday as founding dean Dr. Barbara Atkinson recovers from surgery.
Dr. Shawn Gerstenberger, current dean at the School of Community Health Sciences, will serve as the acting dean.
“Selecting Shawn makes sense for a number of reasons,” UNLV President Len Jessup said. “He is a very successful dean, leading his college to incredible growth and achievement, and his team at Community Health Sciences already has a very close working relationship with the School of Medicine and its leadership group.”
Jessup and Diane Chase, executive vice president and provost at UNLV, sought the input of UNLV staff and the Association of American Medical Colleges. They concluded that choosing someone within the school to serve as acting dean was the best option.
Gerstenberger will continue to implement the School of Medicine's strategic plan developed by Atkinson, ensuring the school's team is focused on core responsibilities and day-to-day operations.
Gerstenberger is already familiar with the Board of Regents, knows the governing system, and is regularly involved with the community, Jessup said.
“His selection allows for an immediate transition without spending time getting up to speed on university operations, policies, and procedures,” he said.
Dr. Patricia Cruz was appointed as interim associate dean of the School of Community Health Sciences while Gerstenberger is at the helm of the School of Medicine.
UNLV will remain in close contact with the Liaison Committee for Medical Education and the AAMC to ensure the School of Medicine’s full accreditation remains on schedule.
Atkinson continues to steadily improve from her July 4 surgery, and members of UNLV’s staff speak with her during regular visits.
“Barbara has built an excellent team, and we will rely on Shawn and Barbara’s staff to keep things running smoothly,” Jessup said. “We wish Barbara a full recovery and thank her and her family for all they’ve done for UNLV, and for all they will continue to do in the future.”