Dr. Dorsey to Step Down as Dean

Published Date:

Written by Karen Carlson | Photos by Jason Johnson

Aspects, Autumn 2015 (Vol. 38 No. 4)

After nearly 14 years as dean and provost, J. Kevin Dorsey, MD, Ph.D., announced today that he will return to teaching medical students starting January 1.

"I am proud of the work that we have done together in my time as dean," Dorsey said. "Consistent with our mission, SIU School of Medicine is rightly viewed as an innovator in medical education and a key component of health care in the region and the state. I believe we are well positioned for the future."

Graduation 2012Dr. Dorsey's history with the School of Medicine extends 37 years. He was one of the first faculty members hired in 1973 and taught the medical school's charter class as a biochemistry professor in Carbondale. In 1978, he earned a medical degree from the School of Medicine. He has been a researcher, educator, student, clinician, administrator and dean and provost. He is the first dean to hold a medical degree from SIU School of Medicine and only the third dean in the medical school's 45-year history.

"Kevin has provided outstanding guidance to the School -- and the entire medical community throughout the region -- for these past 14 years," said Randy Dunn, president of the Southern Illinois University system. "One of the regrets I’ll always have as president is not getting a longer period of time to work with him and learn from his leadership."

After being named interim dean in November 2001, Dr. Dorsey was officially named dean and provost in August 2002. Collaboration has always been his message. Under his leadership, the Simmons Cancer Institute was built and opened with a $10 million pledge from SimmonsCooper LLC and the Simmons Family Foundation. Today, the SCI is a leading cancer facility in the United States.

Other facilities have been constructed, including two new administration buildings and an addition to the combined laboratories building.

Under Dr. Dorsey's leadership, the school has excelled in all areas of its mission. In 2009, the phrase "service to the community" was added to the mission statement of the School of Medicine that includes education, patient care and research. With Dr. David Steward as the associate dean of community service, the medical school is making great strides to build and advance partnerships the region, including three new outreach offices.

The School continues to excel in medical education. In 2010, the Annals of Internal Medicine ranked SIU as one of the top medical schools in the United States for its efforts to meet the "social mission" of medical education. The social mission was defined as: graduates practicing primary care, physicians working in underserved areas and graduates from groups traditionally unrepresented in medicine. In 2013, the School of Medicine received three international awards for outstanding efforts in medical education. Dr. Debra Klamen, associate dean for education and curriculum, led that charge.

Dorsey and studentOver the past 14 years, two degree programs have been added to the offerings of the School of Medicine: a physician assistant degree and a combined medical and public health degree.

SIU HealthCare, the School's outpatient practice, sees more than half a million visits a year. The clinical faculty has doubled to nearly 300. Telehealth programs continue to grow, with a new focus on clinical telehealth clinics with regional partners. Dr. Jerry Kruse is CEO of SIU HealthCare.

Research projects continue to advance the science of medicine. Notable areas of focus are cancer, Alzheimer's disease and hearing loss.

Dr. Dorsey's announcement to step down comes on the heels of earning a full, eight-year accreditation for the medical school. In June, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education granted the accreditation, after finding no areas of concern at SIU School of Medicine -- an extremely rare occurrence. "That was an incredible, two-year effort by hundreds of faculty and staff," Dorsey said. "With the school in a good position academically, and with strong leadership at SIU HealthCare, research and service to the community, it seems like the right time to step down."

As he winds down his time as dean and provost, more than 2,600 alumni have graduated from the School of Medicine. The school offers four medical degrees, two graduate degrees, 17 residencies and 15 fellowships.

Dr. Dorsey earned his bachelor's degree at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Conn. (1964) and his doctoral in physiological chemistry at University of Wisconsin (1968). He was a postdoctoral fellow in biology at The Johns Hopkins University (1970-73). After earning his medical degree at SIU (1978), he completed his internal medicine residency and a two-year fellowship in rheumatology at the University of Iowa in Iowa City (1981, 1983). He is board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology by the American Board of Internal Medicine and is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Rheumatology. He is a member of Sigma Xi and Alpha Omega Alpha medical honorary society.


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