(COLLEGE STATION, TX) — After nearly seven years as dean of the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, Christopher C. Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., has accepted a position as chancellor for health sciences at the West Virginia University Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center.

Dr. Edward Sherwood will serve as interim dean for the HSC-College of Medicine. Dr. Sherwood has just retired from the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System where he was chief medical officer. He brings experience with academic medicine, administrative expertise and a working knowledge of the HSC-College of Medicine.

“Over the past seven years, the College of Medicine faculty, staff and administration have advanced all areas of the college’s mission because they commit themselves to expanding the boundaries of medicine, maintaining the college’s centers of excellence and elevating the level of care in our communities,” said Dr. Colenda, also HSC vice president for clinical affairs. “I am confident in the College of Medicine’s continued success and bolstered by the outstanding quality of its faculty, staff and students. With their steadfast efforts, I am certain that they will continue to set the pace of exceptional medical education, research and clinical care.”

A geriatric psychiatrist by training, Dr. Colenda is a member of the Liaison Committee for Medical Education, the National Board of Medical Examiners, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, and the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He also serves on the Psychological Health External Advisory Subcommittee for the Defense Health Board, U.S. Department of Defense, and the Administrative Board of the Council of Deans for the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Serving as HSC-College of Medicine dean since January 2003, Dr. Colenda’s awards are numerous. He was selected as a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging in Washington, D.C., in 2005. Some of his past recognitions include the American Psychiatric Association’s Jack Weinberg Award in Geriatric Psychiatry, the Alumni Star for the School of Medicine of the Medical College of Virginia, Outstanding Faculty Award from the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University and a Special Commendation from the Council of Aging of the American Psychiatric Association. He is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha and Sigma Xi honorary societies, was elected to the American College of Psychiatrists in 1998, and been listed among the Best Doctors in America since 1994.

“Dean Colenda was instrumental in the College of Medicine class-size expansion project, initiated shortly after his arrival,” said Roderick McCallum, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs and chair of the search committee. “Local planning efforts within the college were extended across the HSC, and academic, financial and political strategies were developed and implemented. Years later, the result is the presence of two 4-year medical programs in Bryan-College Station and Temple and a new clinical campus in Round Rock. Colenda’s vision and guidance will clearly lead to more well-trained physicians for Texas. The growth in the research enterprise has also been substantial under his leadership.”

Dr. Colenda received a B.A. in Chemistry from Wittenberg University in 1974, followed by his M.D. degree in 1977 from the Medical College of Virginia. He completed his training in psychiatry at the University of Virginia Hospitals and at Emory University where he served as chief resident and fellow. Dr. Colenda also received a Master of Public Health degree in Health Services Administration from Johns Hopkins University in 1982.

“(My wife) Kathy and I want to thank all of you for making us part of the ‘Aggie Tradition,’” Dr. Colenda said. “We have been blessed by your support.”

A search committee has been formed to find a successor to Dr. Colenda, who begins his new job at the WVU Health Sciences Center on Nov. 1. The HSC-College of Medicine dean is chief administrative and academic officer of the college. The individual is responsible for the organization, operation, development and evaluation of instruction and research programs, as well as leading the faculty and administration for all academic programs.

“As we now embark on the search for a new dean and vice president for clinical affairs, we will look for a person of vision with strong leadership abilities to continue the efforts started by Dr. Colenda and to take the college to the next level,” Dr. McCallum said. “This is a unique time in the history of the College of Medicine and the HSC.”

According to Dr. Nancy Dickey, president of the Texas A&M Health Science Center and Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs for The Texas A&M University System, “The role of dean of medicine in our rapidly expanding College of Medicine is central to our plans for the next decade. We are in the midst of a significant size expansion, tremendous facility growth, faculty recruitment and increases in research. Our multi-campus model of education will require someone with good communications skills, excellent leadership and the ability to dream big enough to accommodate all of the opportunities available to us.”

“We are sad to see Dr. Colenda depart, but we wish him well with his new opportunities,” Dr. Dickey continued. “Seeing our leaders step up to new challenges is a compliment to the Texas A&M Health Science Center. Selection of his successor is an opportunity for the HSC, and in the interim, we have selected an excellent leader to keep us moving forward.”

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