“America’s Medical School” Dean Arthur L. Kellermann Announces Departure

Dr. Kellermann shakes hands in a white lab coat.
        Will Become VCU Senior VP for Health Sciences and CEO, VCU Health System

By Sharon Holland

Arthur L. Kellermann, MD, MPH, the dean of the F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine -- “America’s Medical School” -- at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, has announced he will leave for a new position at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

Kellermann, who has served as medical school dean at USU for the past seven years, will begin his new role October 1, 2020, as VCU’s Senior Vice President for Health Sciences, overseeing the university's schools of Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry, Pharmacy, and College of Health Professions and VCU’s Massey Cancer Center. He will also serve as CEO of the VCU Health System, including the VCU Medical Center, which has consistently been ranked the top hospital in the region while being the state’s largest safety net hospital; Community Memorial Hospital; Children's Hospital
Richmond at VCU; and the MCV Physicians practice plan. The clinical enterprise includes a collaboration with Sheltering Arms Institute for physician rehabilitation services.

“Serving as dean of ‘America’s Medical School’ for the past seven years has been the greatest honor and privilege of my career.  I arrived with no military experience and depart with a true sense of the culture, values, community and family that comprise our uniformed services. I am in awe of the intelligence, talent and dedication of the men and women who comprise America’s Military Health System. They literally transformed combat casualty care during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, resulting in the lowest fatality rate from combat injury in this history of warfare. It is one of the most remarkable achievements in the history of American medicine. The commitment to a career of selfless service by our students, faculty, staff and alumni to our nation’s servicemembers, retirees, veterans and their families inspires me every day,” Kellermann said.

Official photo of Dr. KellermannAccomplishments during Kellermann’s tenure as dean include serving as a forceful voice and leader for diversity and inclusion efforts, appointing the School’s first associate dean for diversity and inclusion; creating a more structured approach to leader development, integrating it throughout the School’s four-year curriculum, and overseeing development and implementation of a robust faculty leadership development program; forging a strong academic, clinical and research alliance with Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and strengthening collaborative ties with the National Institutes of Health and the NIH Clinical Center in cancer, infectious diseases, traumatic brain injury, PTSD/depression, cardiovascular disease, rehabilitation and human performance optimization. In collaboration with the leadership of Walter Reed, he oversaw the expansion of the clinical enterprise in surgery, trauma and critical care, pathology, radiology, and physical medicine and rehabilitation.

Kellermann and his team dramatically strengthened the School’s expertise and capabilities in health professions education by establishing a center and corresponding graduate program in the field, and sending teams of health educators to military treatment facilities across the country to give multi-day faculty workshops to military health officers who want to develop their skills as educators. Under his leadership, the School’s research centers were more clearly aligned to target the major health challenges facing Service members and a Council of Center Directors was established to enhance integration. New department chairs brought enthusiasm and innovation to the research enterprise. Kellermann oversaw a significant expansion in School of Medicine research by recruiting nationally-recognized physicians, health care professionals and scientists, as well as expanding research opportunities for students in areas such as traumatic brain injury and other neurosciences, infectious diseases, and more. These and other measures helped the School of Medicine increase its research funding three-fold between 2013 and 2020. Under his tenure, the School of Medicine successfully received LCME reaccreditation and received the maximum period of eight years, with full compliance on all monitored elements.

Although a civilian academic, Kellermann quickly embraced the immense value of America’s Military Health System. Through national talks, peer-reviewed publications, lay essays, a book, and work with the Defense Health Agency, he sought to communicate the value and relevance of the Military Health System to the public, to policymakers and to our nation. Under his leadership, all USU medical students were issued Individual First Aid Kits to give them the critical supplies necessary to provide self-aid or buddy-aid to any victim of traumatic injury and to address the primary causes of preventable death on the battlefield -- extremity hemorrhage, tension pneumothorax, and airway obstruction. His advocacy for trauma care was reinforced by USU being declared the first “Stop the Bleed” national campus by U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen in the Congressional Record, and was further illustrated by “Out of the Crucible: How the U.S. Military Transformed Combat Casualty Care in Iraq and Afghanistan.” The book, which he co-edited and has been widely acclaimed, chronicles more than 28 major innovations that were introduced or dramatically expanded during the conflicts, and are now improving trauma care throughout the United States.

A group of soldiers, a few sporting patches signifying foreign countries.

“The School of Medicine is in a very strong position, with outstanding department chairs, faculty, center directors and administrative leadership who have fresh ideas and energy, a robust academic and research enterprise, and thriving academic and clinical affiliations, so the timing for me to accept this new challenge seems right.  I am indebted to the University leadership, especially President Thomas and USU Board of Regents, my outstanding leadership team, and our Military Health System colleagues for allowing me the honor of leading the Hébert School of Medicine - “America’s Medical School” - for seven remarkable years,” Kellermann said.

“Dr. Kellermann has distinguished himself as a leader, a role model and a tireless advocate for his students, faculty and alumni. Under his leadership as dean, the School of Medicine has made significant advances in education, clinical care, research and diversity. His depth of expertise and knowledge have been invaluable to building a strong and respected school that continues to attract world-class faculty and highly-motivated medical and graduate students,” said USU President Dr. Richard W. Thomas in an announcement to the university community, July 29.

Dr. Kellermann discusses a research board Prior to serving as dean of the Hébert School of Medicine at USU, Kellermann was the Paul O’Neill-Alcoa Chair in Policy Analysis at the RAND Corporation in Washington, DC.  His distinguished career is anchored in academic medicine and public health. He was a professor of emergency medicine and public health and associate dean for health policy at the Emory School of Medicine in Atlanta. He founded Emory's Department of Emergency Medicine and served as its first chair from 1999 to 2007.  He established the Emory Center for Injury Control, and holds “excellence in science” awards from two organizations: the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine and the Injury Control and Emergency Health Services Section of the American Public Health Association. In 2017, while serving as dean, Dr. Kellermann and Navy Capt. (Dr.) Eric Elster co-edited “Out of the Crucible: How the U.S. Military Transformed Combat Casualty Care in Iraq and Afghanistan.” The book, published by the U.S. Army’s Borden Institute, chronicles more than 28 major innovations that were introduced or dramatically expanded during the conflicts, and are now improving trauma care throughout the United States.

“VCU Health is unique as an academic health system that is focused on caring for every member of the community, giving young people from all walks of life a great education and generating knowledge and discoveries that will improve the health of Virginians and contribute to the state’s economy. In addition, the university’s history, mission and strengths are aligned with my values,” said Kellermann.  “I look forward to joining their team.”