University of Arizona President Ann Weaver Hart has named Dr. Leigh Neumayer as interim senior vice president for health sciences. Her appointment will be effective Jan. 1, 2017, following Dr. Joe G.N. "Skip" Garcia's decision to resign his administrative role and step back to faculty.
Neumayer was the first woman to head the UA College of Medicine – Tucson's world-renowned Department of Surgery. A noted breast cancer surgeon, she became department head on Aug. 18, 2014, and also holds the Margaret E. and Fenton L. Maynard Endowed Chair in Breast Cancer Research.
"I am excited about Dr. Neumayer's leadership in the health sciences," Hart said. "She has a distinguished record as a physician scientist and has demonstrated exceptional leadership as chair of the Department of Surgery, building an incredible team and restoring critically important transplant programs. She also has established a tremendous working relationship with our Banner Health colleagues."
Hart said the interim appointment will continue through the UA presidential transition.
In the last two years, Neumayer has led the reorganization of the department from nine divisions to six, recruited nationally renowned surgeons, established faculty development programs and improved the department's National Institutes of Health ranking from 50th to 29th in the nation. The department also has revitalized kidney, liver, heart, pancreas and lung transplant programs and more than doubled the number of kidney transplants over last year, having already performed 100 in 2016.
"I am honored to serve in this interim position," Neumayer said. "Dr. Garcia recruited me here and the University of Arizona has benefited greatly from his leadership. He has built a strong foundation for additional growth in the health sciences at the University of Arizona."
Neumayer recently was elected vice chair of the board of regents of the American College of Surgeons. She has been a fellow of ACS since 1994. She is an acknowledged leader in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer and innovative surgical education. She also has mentored numerous faculty, residents and students.
Neumayer earned her medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and a Master of Science degree in clinical research design and statistical analysis from the University of Michigan.
Statement by UA President Ann Weaver Hart
I am pleased to let you know that Dr. Leigh Neumayer, the current Chair of the Department of Surgery at the College of Medicine-Tucson, has accepted the appointment to serve as the Interim Senior Vice President for Health Sciences beginning January 1, 2017. As Chair of Surgery Dr. Neumayer has already made important contributions to the future of the UA, and she will continue the positive trajectory you have all helped to create over the past three years.
Dr. Neumayer’s accomplishments as a surgeon and researcher are many, and she has a distinguished and established record of leadership and team building. In just two and one half years she has built an incredible team for the COM-T Department of Surgery, led the restoration of critically important, high-end programs such as the kidney, liver, lung, heart and pancreas transplant programs, and established a tremendous working relationship with our Banner colleagues. I know that those of you who work with her closely value her expertise and experience, and I know with her leadership we will continue building the positive impact of the colleges of medicine and all of the health sciences at the University of Arizona.
Please join me in thanking and congratulating her for accepting this important new role, and thank you for all that you do on behalf of the University of Arizona and health sciences in our state.