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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


UW initiates search for new ‘thought leader,’ chief health director

UHS looks for new leader to maintain and build strong relations with campus community, School of Nursing Dean Scott will select finalist Spring 2018
Katie Cooney
Badger Herald archival photo of University Health Services. March 15, 2016.

Following the departure of former University Health Services Executive Director Sarah Van Orman, University of Wisconsin begins its search for a new campus health leader.

Van Orman left the post in June after nearly a decade at UW to serve as the Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Chief Student Health Officer positions at the University of Southern California. Now, the university announced it is looking for a qualified replacement to take her place.

The committee will review the credentials of those who submit their application by Nov. 30th and conduct preliminary interviews to recommend finalists for consideration next spring.


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Linda Scott, Dean of the School of Nursing, will be leading the 15-member search team and screening committee for applicants to replace Van Orman.

Committee members include faculty, staff, and students, who represent key groups of campus stakeholders, will bring their expertise and insight about the UW community and campus needs, Scott said. The new hire is expected to lead UHS for a number of years, so she said it is important the next UHS Executive have a very particular set of skills suited for a successful transition into this position.

“A successful candidate will be a clinician who has a strong population health orientation and an interest in advancing positive health outcomes on our campus,” Scott said. “UHS serves a critical function within the larger University ecosystem and its integrated care model promotes and protects the health of the campus community.”

Scott said UHS programs and policies aim to protect and promote the overall health of faculty, staff, and students, and the next leader must be able to build and maintain those critical relationships across the university. She said the new director must be a thought leader along with being a college health expert, leverage technology for both a data and evidence-based decision-making approach to care and service, evaluate the optimal infrastructure and respond to campus health issues and crises as they emerge.

“[UHS directors provide] leadership to maintain existing momentum and innovate new services that align with evolving the health of members of our university community,” Scott said.

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The university’s expectation is that the new executive director will assist in maintaining the UHS as a leader regionally and nationally in the area of college health.

Laurent Heller, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, said the position is crucial to maintaining the university’s success as a health care leader.

“University Health Services plays a major role in ensuring the health and safety of our campus community and has consistently been ranked as one of the best college health services in the country,” Heller said in a press release.

Princeton Review ranked UW number one for “best health services” among universities, a rank it held last year as well.

In light of all the awards, Scott said the successor to Van Orman has big shoes to fill. She said she has no criticisms of the former Executive Director.

“Dr. Van Orman advanced positive health outcomes on campus. She was an effective leader who built relationships across campus and in the community to meet our campus health needs,” Heller said.

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The university has hired an out-of-state search firm, Isaacson, Miller to receive inquiries, handle logistics and process applications for review and discussion by the search and screen committee.

Scott doesn’t know the updated cost of searching for a new Executive Director, however, she said the university has been efficient with financial resources in the past and will continue that trend now.

Scott said it is standard for the next UHS Executive Director to also serve as the university’s Chief Health Officer, which is currently filled by UHS Chief Medical Officer Bill Kinsey in the interim. The additional title does not include a second salary, but the new Executive Director will receive pay that will compensate for all the responsibilities in the position.

Scott said she is ready to build a strong culture of health on campus and form a highly collaborative partnership between the new director and the school of nursing.

“[The next UHS director will be] an accomplished leader with proven experience in managing a high-functioning team as part of a dynamic health setting who will also serve as a thought leader on college health issues,” Scott said.

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