CHICAGO — A top executive of the University of Illinois health system has resigned to take a position in Arizona.
Dr. Joe G. N. "Skip" Garcia, appointed just over two years ago by then-UI President Michael Hogan to be the system's vice president for health affairs, will be the new senior vice president for health sciences at the University of Arizona.
As vice president for health affairs at the UI, Garcia oversaw the UI's roughly $1.2 billion health enterprise, including the University of Illinois at Chicago Hospital, its clinics and medical colleges in Chicago, Rockford and Peoria.
An interim vice president for health affairs has not been named yet, but an announcement is expected soon, according to UI spokesman Tom Hardy.
Garcia will assume his new position on Sept. 1, according to the University of Arizona.
"President Easter wishes Dr. Garcia the best in his next position at the University of Arizona and thanks him for the work accomplished at the University of Illinois since Dr. Garcia joined the UIC campus," Hardy said.
The office of Vice President for Health Affairs was a new position created by then-President Hogan in 2011 as part of an administrative restructuring approved by the UI Board of Trustees. He was named the permanent vice president for health affairs later that year. Prior to his assuming the vice presidency, Garcia was vice chancellor for research at the UI's Chicago campus from 2010 to 2012. A lung disease specialist, he also held an endowed professorship at UIC in medicine, pharmacology and bioengineering.
Prior to the UI, Garcia chaired the Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago and was director of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Johns Hopkins University.
"Skip is a very talented medical administrator, scientist and teacher. And he has helped us advance the nature of the health enterprise at UIC and the other sites of Rockford, Peoria and Urbana," said Don Chambers, a longtime professor at the UI College of Medicine and vice chair of the University Senates Conference. Chambers chairs that group's health affairs committee.
Garcia "has helped put this critical arena into shape and made some very good appointments," he said. However, "there's a long way to go," he said, citing challenges such as the change in funding formulas because of the Affordable Care Act.
At a retreat later this month, UI trustees, faculty and administrators will focus on the university's endeavors in the health affairs arena, including the office of Vice President for Research.
"We are going to assess where we are, where we should be," Chambers said. "We've got to learn how to meet our needs, the public responsibility and our private responsibilities (training medical students)," he said.
"President Easter is convinced that the University of Illinois is in the best position of any university in this country to be an innovator in new health delivery models and practices," Hardy said. "A conversation on how we continue to do that will take place at the board of trustees retreat later this month, when the university's health affairs enterprise coincidentally will be the singular center of attention,"
"We anticipate a smooth transition as Dr. Garcia heads west by Sept. 1, and decisions about the position and organization will be made at the appropriate time," Hardy said.
At the University of Arizona, Garcia will oversee undergraduate and graduate education, research, service and clinical activities, according to the university's announcement. "He also will be charged with the critical task to ensure the UA realizes its goal to become an international leader in biomedical research," a release from the University of Arizona said.
The Arizona Health Sciences Center colleges include the UA College of Medicine in Tucson, the UA College of Medicine in Phoenix, plus pharmacy, nursing and public health colleges. Garcia also will oversee the University of Arizona Cancer Center.
Garcia's bachelor's degree is from the University of Dallas and his medical degree is from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School.