Chair, Department of Health Humanities & Bioethics

University of Rochester

Rochester, NY

ID: 7090890
Posted: December 20, 2021
Application Deadline: Open Until Filled

Job Description

Chair, Department of Health Humanities & Bioethics
University of Rochester, School of Medicine & Dentistry
Rochester, New York


The School of Medicine and Dentistry (SMD) at the University of Rochester is recruiting the first permanent chair for its Department of Health Humanities & Bioethics. This is an exciting opportunity for a dynamic leader to set and implement a vision for the collective work of the department and its important roles across the institution, our community, and nationally.

The new Department was formed out of a previous, longstanding Division of Medical Humanities & Bioethics, which led humanities and bioethics efforts across the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and the University. In creating the Department, the name was changed to Health Humanities to emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of its efforts. The new Department also incorporates the Paul M. Schyve, MD Center for Bioethics; the chair will recommend to the Dean the person to serve as Center Director, with an option to serve in both roles simultaneously.

Earlier in 2021 in preparation for proposing departmental status, the then-Division and relevant University stakeholders underwent a strategic visioning process leading to the department’s creation. Key visioning tenets included that the department’s values and activities are deeply rooted in the SMD’s biopsychosocial approach. The tenets also noted that the department is well poised to advance URMC’s equity and inclusion goals by bolstering academic strengths in the health equity and supporting workplace culture change efforts across the medical center. Additional key priorities included further enhancing innovative education and training, growing the faculty’s scholarship, and raising the national profile of the department.

The key qualifications for this position are a record of excellence and national prominence in health humanities and/or bioethics based on accomplishments in education, scholarship, and (for some) patient care or consultation. A strong track record fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion, which may include scholarship in these areas, also is highly desirable. We seek an innovative, energetic, and visionary leader who can position the department as a national leader in health humanities and bioethics. An ideal candidate has the skills and experiences needed to build the department in alignment with URMC’s Equity and Anti-Racism Action Plan (EARAP). The chair will collaborate closely with leaders, faculty, and staff across the institution, and will serve as a key academic partner for the SMD Office of Equity & Inclusion.

Department of Health Humanities & Bioethics

The Department, although newly formed in December 2021, traces its history back to the founding of the freestanding Division of Medical Humanities in 1984, led by Kathryn Montgomery, PhD. The division included a bioethicist at the time of its founding, and continued to include bioethics throughout its existence, leading to change in name to the Division of Medical Humanities & Bioethics in 2012. The Division was ably led by Jane Greenlaw, JD, from 1988-2012, and then by Stephanie Brown-Clark, MD, PhD, since 2012. Dr. Brown-Clark is now the interim Chair of the Department of Health Humanities & Bioethics, with plans to retire after the end of the current academic year.

The work of the division was conceived initially as a partner to the school’s distinctive biopsychosocial (BPS) approach, building on the work of Drs. John Romano and George Engel at Rochester. Humanities and ethics are foundational to the BPS person-centered model of healthcare. As healthcare has changed, its faculty members have reframed and adapted the integration of relationship-centered practices and human values with data-informed science through a 21st-century lens. Our BPS 21 remains consistent with Engel’s conceptual model and highly relevant to the realities and challenges of current healthcare for patients, families, and colleagues. Our goal is to ensure a humanistic, ethical, and inclusive workplace culture at URMC.

The Department applies perspectives from the humanities, arts, and ethics to understand person- centered relationships and social, cultural, and moral contexts in healthcare. The academic fields include literature, history, literature, philosophy ethics, law, critical studies in gender, race, disabilities, culture, and religion, as well as performing and visual arts and values-based social sciences.

The Department is comprised now of two divisions, Health Humanities and Bioethics. While efforts are closely coordinated, each division has discrete activities supporting the URMC missions of education as well as scholarship and research. For example, health humanities faculty provide innovative interdisciplinary education across multiple educational programs and levels of learners, including offering humanities and arts-based courses, electives, and activities for medical and nursing students and a graduate student enrichment Pathways program integrated with bioethics. The bioethics division also provides `a clinical ethics consultation service and other activities closely affiliated with Strong Memorial Hospital’s Clinical Ethics Program, including the URMC Ethics Committee and broader quality improvement efforts. The Department also offers a Master’s in Science degree program in Medical Humanities, led by faculty across both divisions; the one- year, innovatively interdisciplinary curriculum attracts students from medicine, nursing, and other healthcare disciplines as well as students in humanities and social sciences.

Department faculty span a range of professional disciplines. Five faculty members hold primary appointments in the department, with an additional 13 faculty members holding joint (i.e., secondary) appointments along with primary appointments in other SMD departments. Many other people participate directly or in coordinated fashion with the Department, including faculty members across many departments in the SMD or in the School of Nursing as well as those with staff appointments in hospital nursing practice or other roles across the University. As examples of the department’s broad reach, there are ongoing partnerships with the Office of Equity and Inclusion’s Diversity Grand Rounds, the Eastman School of Music Performing Arts in Medicine program, the Memorial Art Gallery, and the community-based Reel Minds Film & Theatre Series on mental illness and behavioral disorders.

The University of Rochester established the Paul M. Schyve, MD Center for Bioethics in 2015 to advance bioethical training and education throughout the region, help professionals, patients, and families make ethical decisions, and enhance community understanding of ethical issues in medicine and the medical sciences. While residing in the SMD, the Schyve Center unites programs across the entire university, supporting lectures, fellowships, and travel awards. Initially the Center was a standalone entity, led by nationally-recognized faculty including palliative care internist Timothy Quill, MD and psychiatrist Linda Chaudron, MD, MS. The Schyve Center is now integrated into the new department structure.

University of Rochester

The University of Rochester (UR), led by President Sarah Mangelsdorf, PhD, is one of the country’s leading research universities. With more than 3,900 faculty members, UR offers more than 200 academic majors and is home to over 12,000 students. Learning at UR is on a very personal scale; it is among the smallest and most collegial of the top research universities and emphasizes collaborative interactions. The motto of the university, Meliora (“ever better”), captures the continuous progress that has defined UR since its founding in 1850. While the university is one of the smallest Carnegie “very high research activity” research universities, it has a number of departments ranked among the best of their fields. Many areas of UR are key collaborative assets for the Department of Health Humanities & Bioethics, include several humanities, humanities-oriented social sciences, and education-focused departments in the College of Arts and Science, the Eastman School of Music, and the Warner School of Education as well as unique resources such as the Memorial Art Gallery, the Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African-American Studies, and the Susan B. Anthony Center.
University of Rochester Medical Center

One of the nation’s leading academic medical centers, the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) forms the centerpiece of the university’s biomedical research, teaching, patient care, and community outreach missions, accounting for over 85 percent of UR’s revenue. URMC’s overall academic and clinical enterprise has a budget of almost $3.8 billion, and the main campus occupies 5.4 million square feet of space, situated in close proximity to the University’s River Campus. Led by CEO and SMD Dean Mark Taubman, MD, the medical center has an integrated administrative structure, budget, and strategic plan. Together with its health system, URMC is comprised of:

• School of Medicine and Dentistry

• University of Rochester Medical Faculty Group

• School of Nursing

• Eastman Institute for Oral Health

• Strong Memorial Hospital, including Golisano Children’s Hospital and the James P. Wilmot Cancer Institute

• Highland Hospital

• FF Thompson Hospital

• Jones Memorial Hospital

• Noyes Hospital

• St. James Hospital

• UR Medicine Home Care

URMC and its School of Medicine and Dentistry rank within the top quarter among U.S. medical centers for federal research funding. Its healthcare delivery network is anchored by Strong Memorial Hospital, a university-owned teaching hospital boasting programs consistently recognized nationally.

URMC’s clinical enterprise has created a multi-county regional delivery system that cares for its communities, discovers innovative ways to improve care, and trains its future health care workforce. The enterprise across all sites has been branded “UR Medicine” to bring clarity, consistency, and visibility to this growing system. As an integrated campus with university-owned schools, hospitals, and related facilities, URMC is outstandingly well-positioned to make a major impact on the region and to serve as a model nationally.

Accountable Health Partners (AHP) is an integrated accountable care network of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), consisting of six hospitals and approximately 2,000 physicians that exists to deliver quality healthcare and an outstanding patient experience. AHP’s vision is to bring together community and faculty physicians, hospitals and other providers to align incentives, improve population health, to provide patient-centered care and to promote efficient use of resources. Through participation with AHP, providers can ensure the long-term success of patients and providers in an era of value-based payments.

School of Medical and Dentistry

The SMD is organized into basic and clinical Departments as well as interdisciplinary research centers. Faculty have received over $200 million in external funding in basic and clinical research with $160 million in federal research funding. The SMD has an enrollment of over 400 medical and M.D./Ph.D. students, over 800 trainees in GME programs, and almost 500 students training for an M.S. or Ph.D. degree in the sciences, as well as 150 postdoctoral scientific appointees. The undergraduate medical school has an applicant acceptance rate of approximately five percent, making it one of the most highly selective in the nation. The University sponsors 85 residency and fellowship training programs accredited by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education. The SMD has 12 biomedical and health science Ph.D. programs that emphasize interdisciplinary research, allowing students to train in research methods beyond Departmental boundaries. Unlike most U.S. graduate education programs and biomedical science programs, the SMD biomedical graduate program utilizes a research and educational cluster approach, which allows students to train in research methods beyond traditional Departmental and disciplinary boundaries. Over 2,100 full- and part-time faculty are employed by the SMD, with an additional 900 members of the voluntary clinical faculty.

The SMD was in the initial cohort of 12 centers nationally in 2006 to receive funding from the NIH for a Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA). The grant has been successfully renewed in 2011, 2016, and 2021. In 2017, the CTSI gained further national prominence when it received $19 million as the coordinating center for the Center for Leading Innovation and Collaboration (CLIC), which supports a network comprising more than 50 of the nation's top biomedical research institutions in the CTSA program.

University of Rochester Medical Faculty Group

All SMD employed faculty physicians and other clinicians are organized into a central faculty group practice plan named the University of Rochester Medical Faculty Group (URMFG). Michael Rotondo, M.D. is the CEO of URMFG and also serves as Vice Dean for Clinical Affairs of the SMD. In both roles, he reports to Mark Taubman, M.D., URMC CEO, and SMD Dean. URMFG’s faculty is made up of approximately 1,600 clinician faculty members representing 24 clinical Departments with nearly 130 subspecialties. URFMG has over 325 practices located throughout the Rochester and Finger Lakes region providing more than 2.7 million visits annually.

School of Nursing

The School of Nursing (SON), established in 1925, has a myriad of high-quality degree programs, a robust research portfolio, and extensive clinical and educational partnerships throughout the Medical Center and larger community. In the 1970s, the SON was an early pioneer of the nurse practitioner model, which has become the most renowned nurse practitioner program in the country. The school strives to expand nursing opportunities, especially through leveraging the unification model. Over the years, the SON’s commitment to unification - the integration of education, practice, and research - has provided the context for its many achievements. The SON offers over 24 undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate degree programs. The SON is consistently honored for its diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, including receiving the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award annually since 2017. The SON consistently ranks among the nation's best for its Master's and DNP programs according to U.S. News and World Report.

Eastman Institute for Oral Health

The Eastman Institute for Oral Health (EIOH) has internationally-recognized dental residency programs, top-tier oral biology research, and robust clinical services in all dental specialties, with a strong community orientation. EIOH faculty members hold their appointments in the Department of Dentistry in the SMD. In turn, the EIOH is comprised of departments of General Dentistry, Periodontics, Prosthodontics, Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, Pediatrics, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and Oral Medicine, as well as Community Dentistry and Oral Disease Prevention. EIOH research interests include infectious diseases (primarily dental caries), developmental biology, including craniofacial development, salivary gland physiology, dental products and materials, implants, lasers, dental erosion, and health services.

Strong Memorial Hospital

Located on the URMC main campus is the 886-bed flagship of the University’s health system Devoted to providing compassionate, patient- and family-centered care that transforms the patient experience, Strong Memoria Hospital (SMH) defines and delivers “Medicine of the Highest Order.” In addition to offering traditional and established medical care services, Strong has numerous distinguished tertiary and quaternary services. Subspecialty services provided to the region include liver, kidney, heart, and bone marrow transplantation; neonatal and pediatric intensive care, cardiac surgery, regional cancer center, spinal cord injury treatment, orthopaedic reconstructive surgery, regional burn unit, high-risk obstetrical care, lithotripsy, designated regional trauma center, and specialized treatment for psychiatric disorders. Many of Strong’s specialty programs consistently rank among “America’s Best Hospitals” and earn top honors in the “Best Regional Hospitals” rankings, according to U.S. News & World Report, and consistently receives Magnet designation for excellence in nursing services by the American Nurses Credential Center'. SMH discharges over 40,000 inpatients per year, has approximately 900,000 outpatient visits, and over 115,000 Emergency Department visits per year. The 55,000 square-foot Frank and Caroline Gannett Emergency Center is the only emergency facility in the region to have a dedicated Children’s Emergency Center. A Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program is part of the Gannett Center. As a teaching hospital, all SMH medical staff members have faculty appointments at the SMD and supervise and teach residents and students. The result is a learning environment immersed in research, education, community, and innovation. SMH is also characterized by having clinicians who are comfortable working in an interdisciplinary, team- based environment, deeply committed to consistently delivering a high-quality patient experience. This includes working to build partnerships with patients and their families, identifying ways to empower patients with information, and recognizing the tools they need to make informed decisions about their healthcare. To manage the growth finance strategies, timelines have been developed for two of the largest construction projects in UR history, the expansion of the emergency department/inpatient bed tower at Strong Memorial and an outpatient Musculoskletal campus.

Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong

Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong (GCHaS) is the leading pediatric referral center in Western New York, serving over 85,000 patients a year. It offers specialized services including critical care, a 148-bed Level III NICU, and a full range of medical and surgical subspecialty care. The hospital moved to a newly-built, eight-story, $145 million facility in 2015. GCHaS features all- private rooms with in-room accommodations for parents, as well as specialized technologies including the first integrated PET/MRI in a children’s hospital in the nation. Since 2011, Golisano Children’s Hospital has been among the top 50 children's hospitals in six out of 10 categories and tracked by the USNWR's “Best Children’s Hospital” rankings.


Rochester is the seat of Monroe County, New York. Situated east of Buffalo, west of Syracuse and northwest of New York City, it is at the center of a large metropolitan area that encompasses and extends beyond Monroe County to include the counties of Genesee, Livingston, Ontario, Orleans, and Wayne. This area, which is part of the Western New York region, has a population of approximately 1,700,000, among the largest metropolitan regions in the state. Located on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, where the Great Lakes meet the vineyard-dotted Finger Lakes, Rochester provides easy access to a wealth of four-season outdoor recreation.

Rochester became America’s first 19th Century “boomtown” and rose to prominence initially as the site of many flour mills located on the Genesee River, then a major manufacturing hub. Today, it is an international center of higher education as well as medical and technological development. The region is known for many acclaimed universities, and several of them (notably the University of Rochester and the Rochester Institute of Technology) are nationally renowned for their research programs. In addition, Rochester continues to be the site of many important inventions and innovations in consumer products. Its lively “knowledge economy” draws its strengths from established companies (e.g., Xerox, Bausch and Lomb, Eastman Kodak) and their many small business spin-offs, including growing telecommunications, biotechnology, and information technology enterprises. In recent years, the University of Rochester has become the largest employer in the Rochester area and the largest private employers in New York State outside the New York City area.

Rochester consistently receives high rankings nationally as a “most livable city,” for overall quality of life, and as among the very best places to raise a family. The region has outstanding, highly ranked public and private schools, with a relatively modest cost of living and a stable, affordable housing market. Home to the renowned Eastman School of Music, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival (among the nation’s most popular and respected), Rochester enjoys economic stability and a level of arts, culture, sports, and dining comparable to that of many larger cities.

For more information about life in Rochester, see


The Department of Health Humanities & Bioethics is dedicated to excellence in its activities spanning the URMC missions of clinical care, education, research and scholarship, and community partnerships. The chair is responsible for the growth and innovation across all these missions as well as strategic planning, development, and all aspects of operations. In doing so, the chair is expected to set and achieve goals related to the URMC Equity and Anti-Racism Action Plan, including fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in the department and across the institution.

Overseeing all departmental activities, the chair has direct oversight of financial and human resources and will have accountability for the department’s financial performance. The chair will develop and execute a strategic plan to lead targeted, robust growth. The chair will work to fully develop key institutional partnerships and strategic relationships, and define and acutely pursue interdisciplinary goals. The chair will strive to strengthen the missions and excellence of the department with recruitment, retention, development, and support of outstanding faculty and staff to enhance the department's national reputation.
The chair is an appointment within the School of Medicine and Dentistry and reports directly to Mark Taubman, MD, in his role as Dean of the School. For the clinical bioethics program, the chair reports in this role to the Chief Medical Officer, Michael Apostolakos, MD, and to the President and CEO of Strong Memorial Hospital and Highland Hospital, Steven Goldstein, as well as to Dr. Taubman in his role as CEO of the Medical Center and University Senior Vice President for Health Sciences. The chair works collaboratively with the CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Faculty Group and Vice Dean for Clinical Affairs, Michael Rotondo, M.D., with the Vice Dean for Research, Stephen Dewhurst, Ph.D., and with other senior institutional leaders and dean’s office personnel.
The following opportunities and challenges are identified for this role. It will be important for candidates to have the skills, professional experience, and personal characteristics to be successful in the environment depicted below.

• The chair, building on the recent strategic visioning process, will need to develop and implement a strategic plan for the new department and center.

• The SMD is well-known for its biopsychosocial approach to educating and training physicians prepared to practice medicine in a humanistic manner. The chair will implement an advanced conception of this approach, steeped in equity and inclusion, across the academic missions and the broad range of disciplines and learners at URMC.

• In the past year, URMC has developed its Equity and Anti-Racism Action Plan (EARAP). The chair will embed EARAP goals across all missions and aspects of the department’s activities, and will position the department as a major resource for others at the institution as they pursue EARAP goals in their own endeavors.

• The department currently has a modest number of primary-appointed faculty members, and conducts much of its work through the efforts of a larger number of faculty members with primary appointments in other departments, some with and some without secondary appointments in Health Humanities & Bioethics. The chair will increase the scope and depth of departmental activities through carefully planned strategic growth in both primary and other faculty members.

• As part of the growth of the department, the chair will need to develop systematic approaches to mentoring and career development, and to recruiting and retaining faculty and staff.

• While department faculty are already at times stretched thin with their current educational responsibilities, the department continually receives requests to provide additional education for many areas and programs of the institution. The to-be-developed strategic plan should provide a framework for prioritizing educational activities, growing where appropriate, and potentially providing ‘tiered’ levels of educational services (including consultations) for others when the department is not primarily leading and providing the education.

• The scholarship profile of the current department faculty is modest. Under the chair’s leadership, the department will expand its contributions to scholarship in ways that reflect its strategic priorities, balanced with the expertise and passions of the faculty members themselves.

• Community engagement is among the key URMC missions, and is prominent among the activities of many SMD departments. The chair will incorporate community partnerships into strategic planning as most helpful to the department and its collaborations within and beyond the institution.

• Developing relationships with colleagues, alumni, the community, and other constituents may also lead to opportunities for fundraising; such resources hold potential to expand the scope of departmental activities.

• The Schyve Center has had limited activities as a freestanding entity and is only now incorporated into the department. The department chair has responsibility to recommend to the Dean the Director of the Center, with an option to serve in both roles simultaneously. The chair and center director will need to develop a vision for the Schyve Center that is distinct enough to elevate the profile of the Center, yet also is closely coordinated with other activities of the department.

• The group has had both medical humanities and bioethics foci throughout its over 30-year history. However, with becoming a department and with the growth of its faculty, it will be more important than ever to balance the unique activities and needs of its two component divisions (health humanities and bioethics) with an appropriate level of collaboration and coordination between these divisions.

• The activities described, and others encapsulated in the new strategic plan, should include elements that further raise the national profile of the department and center. Doing so will benefit the faculty members’ careers, increase the reach of its activities, aid the recruitment of faculty and trainees, and elevate its value to URMC and the University.

Professional Qualifications/Experience:

• Doctoral degree in a discipline relevant to the Department’s and Center’s missions

• If a clinician, eligible for professional licensure in the State of New York and appointment
to their discipline’s clinical staff at Strong Memorial Hospital

• Educational and scholarship achievements (and, as applicable, achievements in clinical
care) that qualify for appointment to the faculty of the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry at the rank of Associate Professor or Professor depending on experience and accomplishments

• Prior leadership experience and accomplishments are highly desirable

Desirable Personal Characteristics and Attributes:

• Builder and strategic thinker

• Innovative, creative, and visionary leader

• Inspiring role model as a teacher, scholar, and (if applicable) clinician

• Honest and open communicator

• Strong interpersonal skills

• Passionate about the missions of the Department, Center, and Medical Center

• Skilled at mentoring and developing the careers of faculty, staff, and trainees

• Comfortable in a matrixed environment

• Promotes diversity and inclusion in the workplace

• Entrepreneurial spirit

• Leadership and organizational skills required to lead the missions, people, and finances
of the Department and Center

• A strong track record of integrity, credibility, and a demonstrated capacity to build
trusting relationships

Please direct inquiries by emailing or calling Dr. Lyness, chair of the recruitment committee, as below. Those wishing to apply should please send a cover letter and curriculum vitae directly to Dr. Lyness, via email if possible. Thank you.

Jeffrey M. Lyness, MD, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry
Office of Academic Affairs, Box 706
University of Rochester Medical Center
601 Elmwood Avenue
Rochester, NY 14642
phone 585-275-6741 | fax 585-276-2061
email [email protected]

The University of Rochester is committed to fostering, cultivating, and preserving a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion to advance the University’s Mission to Learn, Discover, Heal, Create – and Make the World Ever Better.

In support of our values and those of our society, the University will select faculty and staff without regard to age, color, disability, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, military/veteran status, national origin, race, religion/creed, sex, sexual orientation, citizenship status, or any other status protected by law. This commitment extends to non-discrimination in the administration of our policies, admissions, employment, access, and recruitment of candidates from underrepresented populations, veterans, and persons with disabilities consistent with these values and government contractor Affirmative Action obligations.