Announced just this past Saturday, the UR Medical Center now has a new man in charge. C. McCollister “Mac” Evarts takes over the role of permanent CEO of the UR Medical Center after acting as interim CEO and Vice President for Health Affairs since July 1.

UR President Thomas Jackson supported the search committee’s choice of Evarts and, in turn, recommended him to the Board of Trustees on the Executive Committee, who gave the final approval of Evarts. Evarts was officially named to the position on Sept. 13.

“It was pretty clear Dr. Evarts was a home run at the Med Center,” Jackson said. “All the people that worked for him were really impressed.”

Evarts is looking forward to his future in the new position.

“I think it’s an honor and an opportunity to help move the UR and the UR’s Medical Center towards being one of the very best academic health centers in the [United States],” he said. “I’m honored also to be able to work with Thomas Jackson in bringing this institution forward.”

Evarts replaces Jay Stein, who abruptly resigned his position in May after alleged disagreements with the university over the direction of the UR Medical Center. In a press release from Jackson discussing Stein’s resignation, he mentions the point of conflict.

“I recently have had increasingly serious concerns about issues and methods of coordination involving the Medical Center and University,” he wrote.

Jackson also noted it was not a single reason that Stein resigned last spring.

“It was a lot of reasons,” he said. “It was time. He was a wonderful change agent for the Med. Center but there were other issues growing between the university and the Med. Center. It was a matter of needing a different style and a different type of leader.”

Provost Charles Phelps, originally placed in the position of acting CEO in May after Stein’s departure, relinquished his interim role to Evarts after two weeks.

Phelps also helped transition the staff change and chaired the search committee. The committee then examined a nationwide range of candidates to find a suitable successor.

The committee chose to appoint Evarts in mid-August instead of continuing the search. They conducted an interview with him for the position after he had been in the interim arrangement for less than two months.

“[Evarts] was so good at this and the people at the Med. Center were so comfortable with him that the Provost stepped out of the picture,” Jackson said.

“We basically flipped roles in July,” Phelps said. “Dr. Evarts was running the Med. Center on his own. We were getting vibes from the staff that ‘Hey, this is working out great.’ We convened the search committee and had to decide if we should continue the national search or consider Dr. Evarts as the permanent person.”

By Sept. 6, the committee was ready to make their recommendation.

“The committee recommended Evarts, with which I enthusiastically concurred,” Jackson said.

Evarts seems to have the full confidence of all involved.

“He has had very good reviews from his colleagues,” Associate Vice President of University Public Relations Robert Kraus said . “The search committee, after reviewing his leadership as the interim CEO, decided on Evarts. He is knowledgeable about the Med. Center – he seemed to be the perfect candidate for the role.”

Evarts is a Rochester graduate himself, having earned his M.D. at UR’s School of Medicine and Dentistry in 1957.

In 1964 he went on to serve on the faculty of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and in 1970 became the clinic’s Chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

He returned to UR in 1974 to become the UR Medical Center’s Chair of Orthopaedics and a Dorris H. Carlson Professor of Orthopaedics.

From 1987 to 2002, Evarts took on the position of CEO, Senior Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean of the College of Medicine at Penn State University and the Hershey Medical Center.

Upon his retirement in the fall of 2002 after serving for 14 years at Penn State, Evarts returned yet again to Rochester, acting as the Senior Advisor to the Senior Vice President for Health Affairs.

His experience in the health field, is invaluable to Evarts. “It’s absolutely critical that I bring with me experience of having been CEO of an academic health institution,” he said.

Evarts will have no problem continuing Stein’s progress, and carrying on the goals of improvement for the Medical Center.

“They are complementary in goals,” Jackson said. “[Evarts] will be continuing with the direction that the Med. Center is going. It’s more about fine-tuning than wholesale new initiatives.”

“We’re following a four part mission – education, research, patient care and community outreach,” Evarts said. “Dr. Stein was following the mission also.”

Some points of focus for Evarts will be reorganizing and restructuring primary care and better integrating the Aab Institute of Biomedical Sciences and the Arthur Kornberg Medical Research Building with the other departments, according to Jackson.

Monetary issues will also require some examination. “There’s a real need to exercise fiscal responsibility now,” Jackson said.

Evarts has strong support among administrators and confidence in the continued smooth operation of the UR Medical Center from his predecessor’s progress.

“The fact that we can pick up where movement was going and pick up with bigger enthusiasm is good evidence of the work that was done,” Phelps said. “He’s a fabulous guy. He is perfect for the job right now.”

Jackson echoed Phelps’ positive sentiments of Evarts.

“He’s a wonderful person,” Jackson said. “It’s remarkable how quickly all the leadership [of the UR Medical Center] thought, ‘Boy, how fortunate we are to have him here right now.’ He’s just the right person at the right time for the Medical Center.”

Linden can be reached at klinden@campustimes.org.



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