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Dartmouth Medical School Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

Vital Signs

New dean aims to connect minds across the campus and around the world

By Amos Esty

Souba (pronounced show-buh) was the dean of Ohio State's medical school from 2006 until his arrival at DMS on October 1.

Dr. Wiley Souba's first meeting with the committee charged with finding a new DMS dean made a good impression. The committee members were "very engaged in the process," he says. "It was clear to me that it was really important to them that they get the best dean possible."

He was also encouraged when he visited the campus and met other members of the Dartmouth community, including the College's president, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, and provost, Carol Folt, and Dartmouth-Hitchcock copresidents Nancy Formella and Dr. James Weinstein. "These are the kind of people I'd like to work with," he recalls thinking.

Souba (who goes by "Chip") became dean of DMS on October 1, succeeding Dr. William Green, who had served as dean since 2008 and has returned to his position as chair of microbiology and immunology.

Dean: Souba came to DMS from Ohio State, where he was dean of the College of Medicine and vice president and executive dean of health sciences. At Dartmouth, he will also be vice president for health affairs of Dartmouth College and a DMS professor of surgery.

Creating leaders in medicine

See an article by Souba on leadership in academic medicine
Read more

Guide: Several principles will guide Souba's work as dean, including the "One Dartmouth" precept: continuing to build strong relationships among the components of Dartmouth—between the College and DMS and between Dartmouth-Hitchcock and DMS, for example. He also wants to forge more partnerships between DMS and communities around the world.

Another principle is emphasizing the basic goals of a medical school: to educate students and develop a strong faculty. "It's about creating an environment where the students can learn together with their professors, and where the faculty are in an environment where . . . they're fulfilled," he says.

Minds: Souba also wants to improve the educational and research missions of DMS. "We have a very good curriculum . . . but it's not as contemporary as I would like it to be," he says. "We have excellent basic research, but it's not connected to the clinical enterprise as much as it needs to be. . . . We have the talent here," he says. "It's really about connecting minds."

Finally, it's important to him that DMS graduates be committed to something larger than themselves. "We need to be a medical school that creates leaders," he says. "It's about building better human beings who can tackle the world's troubles." Souba has written more than 30 peer-reviewed articles on leadership and lectured widely on the topic. His fundamental philosophy: You can't lead effectively on the outside until you're well-grounded on the inside.

Souba's career has given him many chances to practice effective leadership. He earned his M.D. in 1978 at the University of Texas in Houston, then did his general surgery residency there and fellowships in Boston at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. While in Boston, he also earned a doctorate in nutritional biochemistry at Harvard. "I really wanted to learn to do good basic research," he says. "I've always been inquisitive."

"We need to be a medical school that creates leaders," he says.

After six years at the University of Florida, Souba returned to Boston as a professor of surgery at Harvard and the chief of surgical oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital. In 1997, his inquisitive nature led him back to school again, for an M.B.A. at Boston University. In 2006, after seven years as chair of surgery at Penn State, he moved to Ohio.

Home: He was born in Caracas, Venezuela, to American parents and lived there until he was 15. As a child, he says, he was always outside, so he welcomes the outdoor opportunities in the Upper Valley. And his wife's family is from the Boston area, so "we're kind of coming home," he says. It doesn't hurt that he's also a big fan of the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics, and Bruins.

Since October 1, Souba's first impression of Dartmouth has been upheld. "I've been touched, moved, and inspired by how welcoming people have been," he says. "It's always nice to feel like people are glad you're here."


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