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Rothman named dean of Johns Hopkins medical school

Paul B. Rothman, the next dean of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, will take the helm as the future of American health care remains all but inscrutable beyond the next election and major Supreme Court decision.

Paul B. Rothman, 14th Dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Rothman described a “a time of turmoil” at his introductory news conference Monday, referring to attempts to overturn President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act and a week’s worth of Supreme Court arguments on the law set for March.

“That being said, some things are very clear,” Rothman said. “We need to continue to develop a health care system that is affordable and provides the safest, highest quality care to our population.”

Now the dean of the Carver College of Medicine at the University of Iowa and leader of that university’s clinical practice plan, Rothman said he was drawn to Hopkins by the opportunity to lead.

“Hopkins has developed innovative new ways to give high-quality care to large populations in a cost-effective way, and I think that’s the future of where the country is going,” he said. “Hopkins is so well positioned because it’s really been leading the nation in describing new ways to provide health care.”

Hopkins President Ronald J. Daniels said Rothman is the “perfect person … to lead Johns Hopkins Medicine into the next era of health care.”

“He sees this not as a time for retrenchment, but as a moment for advancement,” Daniels said.

Rothman will succeed Edward D. Miller, who will retire June 30.

He was chosen from a list of 180 that was whittled down over more than six months, Daniels said.

The school declined to release Rothman’s salary. According to filings with the Internal Revenue Service, Miller’s compensation totaled $765,466 in 2009.

Miller, who oversaw 15 years of rapid expansion for the medical system, said Rothman and other Hopkins leaders will have to decide for themselves whether to continue along that path.

“Whether we participate in more I think will be an open question,” he said. “We’ve got a lot on our plate right now to digest.”

Rothman declined to discuss future growth when asked.

“I think the expansion has been spectacular, and to define more than that I’m going to have to wait and learn more about the institution,” he said, adding that he plans to spend the first few months of his tenure getting to know the sprawling $6.5 billion system.

The medical school has some 1,400 medical and graduate students and the health system includes six hospitals in Maryland, Florida and Washington, D.C. Together, the school and the system employ more than 34,000 full-time faculty and staff.

A rheumatologist and molecular immunologist, Rothman was head of internal medicine at Carver until 2008, when he became dean of the medical school.

Jean Robillard chose Rothman for both of the posts in Iowa.

Robillard said Rothman forged partnerships with liberal arts colleges in the state and brought faculty members from the partner schools to UI to keep up with the latest technological advances. He also recruited doctors for rural practices and worked on IowaCare, a state-sponsored program that serves about 50,000 people who don’t qualify for Medicaid but can’t afford health insurance on their own.

“I think Paul learned a lot from this program when he was here,” said Robillard, vice president of medical affairs at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Rothman has also worked on the early stages of the Pappajohn Institute for Biomedical Discovery during his time as dean in Iowa.

“He has a certain charisma to attract people and bring very good people here,” said Robillard. “More importantly is to develop these people and make sure they continue to be successful. He has a sense of camaraderie, and that’s very important.”

Rothman earned his undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his medical degree from Yale University. He trained at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and was a member of the faculty of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons from 1986 to 2004.

On Monday, he called his soon-to-be-employer “the top institution in the world.”

“Everyone knows Johns Hopkins Medicine,” he said.