September 14, 2007

Case Western Reserve University names dean of medical school

Interim Dean Pamela Bowes Davis, expert in cystic fibrosis research and member of the Cleveland Medical Hall of Fame, becomes permanent dean

Pamela Bowes Davis, M.D., Ph.D.

Pamela Bowes Davis, M.D., Ph.D., interim dean and vice president for medical affairs and vice dean for research at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, has had the "interim" title removed and been named dean of the school, effective September 14. Davis has served as interim dean since September 2006, when former Dean Ralph I. Horwitz left to take a position at Stanford University.

Davis, an internationally-renowned expert in cystic fibrosis research, has maintained multiple responsibilities at the medical school and at Rainbow Babies and Childrens' Hospital of University Hospitals Case Medical Center since her arrival in 1981. She holds the Arline H. and Curtis F. Garvin, M.D. Research Professor chair at the school of medicine and also is a professor of pediatrics, physiology and biophysics and a professor of molecular biology and microbiology. Davis also served recently as chief of the pediatric pulmonary division at Rainbow.

"I am pleased that such an accomplished educator, doctor and researcher like Pamela Bowes Davis—someone right from our own backyard—has agreed to become dean of our outstanding medical school," said university President Barbara R. Snyder. "Her length of service to the school and to Case Western Reserve University, to our students and to the community at-large, as well as her excellent reputation in the international research community, will provide strength and solid leadership for the medical school."

"It's an honor to be chosen to lead Case Western Reserve University's School of Medicine," Davis said. "My objective is to bring to fruition many of our current initiatives and to create new opportunities for our faculty, staff and students. We have a solid foundation on which to build."

Under Davis' leadership, the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, a partnership of the university, The Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals was awarded $25.5 million by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for continued cancer research and expanded clinical trials, a 10 percent increase in funding to the center and the only one of the 40 designated comprehensive cancer centers to receive an increase in a time of declining funding. The medical school also was awarded a $6.2 million renewal of the Center grant for Cystic Fibrosis from the National Institutes of Health, as well as a $2.5 million renewal of the Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Foundation Research Development Program Center, a grant that was written and by Davis.

"Dr. Davis has earned a superb reputation among her colleagues on a national and international basis due to her academic and clinical accomplishments," said Thomas F. Zenty III, President and CEO of University Hospitals. "She has an extraordinary record of accomplishment and I look forward to continuing University Hospitals' relationship with the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine under the leadership of Dr. Davis to achieve our mission of research, teaching and clinical service."

Last summer, the medical school also launched its new integrated curriculum of medicine and public health awareness, Western Reserve2, a system of medical education that emphasizes the interplays between the biology of disease and social and behavioral context of illness, the care of individual patients and public health, and clinical medicine and population medicine.

Davis directs the university's Willard A. Bernbaum Cystic Fibrosis Research Center, which is the site of a Core Center from the National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), an arm of NIH and a Research Development Center for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The center is devoted to clinical and basic research on cystic fibrosis, an inherited disease that causes thick mucus to form in the breathing passages of the lungs, predisposing the person to chronic lung infections. Her research activities are aimed at discovering new treatments for CF.

A prolific researcher, one of Davis' first novel and important contributions to CF research was a new approach for treating CF lung disease by limiting the excessive inflammatory response. In a four-year double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, she showed that high does ibuprofen dramatically retards progression of the CF lung disease. This remains the only treatment directly demonstrated to alter disease progression. Her work now focuses on a possible definitive treatment of the disease by gene therapy.

Davis has maintained strong independent grant support from the NIH continuously for more than 25 years, including training grants, center grants, and individual research grants, and has served as principal investigator of a State of Ohio Third Frontier grant on nanotechnology.

"Dr. Davis is a renowned researcher, academician, and physician in our community," said Dr. Delos "Toby" Cosgrove, CEO of the Cleveland Clinic. "In her capacity she has conducted important clinical research and provided opportunity for greater collaboration. This is good news for the university and our region."

"Having been on the search committee to select the next dean of the School of Medicine, I couldn't be happier with the University's choice," said Dr. Ben Brouhard, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of MetroHealth Medical Center. "I've known Dr. Davis since I came to MetroHealth more than a decade ago and she has earned the immense respect of her clinical and research colleagues, not only here in Cleveland, but across the country. In her interim capacity she has been very supportive of the many research initiatives here at MetroHealth as well as the new innovative medical education curriculum. We look forward to working with Dr. Davis to reinforce the strong relationship between MetroHealth and the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine."

Davis, who received her medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine in 1974, has published more than 120 original articles, mostly in the area of cystic fibrosis research, edited one book, contributed numerous book chapters and served as associate editor for several journals. She holds seven U.S. patents and is a founding scientist of Copernicus Therapeutics, Inc. She has served on the Advisory Council to NIDDK, on the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), and on advisory boards for the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and several academic cystic fibrosis centers. She has been a recipient of the Rosenthal Prize for academic pediatrics, the Smith College Medal, and has been named regularly in "Best Doctors in America" and "Top Doctors." She also has been inducted into the Cleveland Medical Hall of Fame. In 1998 she received the Maurice Saltzman Award from the Mt. Sinai Foundation. In 2006 she received the Paul diSant'Agnese Award, the highest scientific and clinical honor of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

"I am delighted by Dr. Davis' appointment as dean," said Jerold S. Goldberg, interim provost and dean of the School of Dental Medicine. "Her overall depth of knowledge in the school, in research, and with our partners will allow her to continue the momentum she has initiated as the interim dean."

Davis received a bachelor's degree in chemistry, summa cum laude, from Smith College in 1968, and a doctorate in physiology and pharmacology in 1973 and a medical degree in 1974, both from Duke University.

For more information contact Laura M. Massie, 216.368.4442.

Posted by: Heidi Cool, September 14, 2007 11:49 AM | News Topics: Faculty, HeadlinesMain, Provost Initiatives, School of Medicine

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