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A prominent New York radiologist has been named to lead the Wayne State University School of Medicine starting in the spring, the university said Friday.

Dr. Mark Schweitzer, chair of the Department of Radiology at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine in New York, will become dean of the medical school at Wayne State on April 27.

He'll replace Dr. Jack Sobel, who became interim medical school dean in November 2014 and then the permanent dean in June 2015.

Sobel's administration has been plagued by division between the university and the Detroit Medical Center, which nearly severed their 100-year partnership in May, as well as discord with some DMC physicians. 

Also Friday, Central Michigan University announced a five-year partnership agreement with University Pediatricians, a private group representing pediatricians who practice at DMC Children's Hospital of Michigan.

The academic partnership formalized in a ceremony at CMU's downtown Detroit office will provide opportunities for medical research and learning, and supports the university's mission to train "culturally competent physicians to provide comprehensive health care to underserved populations," the university said in a press release. 

University Pediatricians employs 225 physicians. The partnership will allow CMU to add pediatrics as a medical specialty training program, according to the press release.

Discord between the university and the DMC was apparent in the loss of accreditation in September for a DMC training program for neurosurgeons. The medical school failed to renew faculty appointments of the program's teaching physicians after they signed contracts with the DMC, leaving the program with no university-affiliated teachers.

Sobel, a board-certified internal medicine and infectious disease specialist, announced in January 2019 that he planned to vacate the post this year, saying he'd extended his time serving as dean to deal with several issues. He plans to pursue research in infectious diseases, he recently told The Detroit News. 

Schweitzer will also serve as vice president of health affairs, a role previously filled by David Hefner, who left the university last year. Sobel previously said he wanted the new dean to assume both roles.

“Dr. Schweitzer has extensive experience in a variety of hospital and medical practice roles, so in coming to Detroit from outside of the area he will bring a fresh perspective, and I’m sure new ideas," Wayne State University President Roy Wilson said in a statement.  

As vice president of health affairs, Dr. Schweitzer will work with the deans of Wayne State’s College of Nursing and the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences on clinical training issues, and to strengthen collaboration and advance a team-based approach to health care, according to the press release. 

“I attended inner-city public universities during my undergraduate and medical school training, and I served at public safety net hospitals,” Dr. Schweitzer said in a statement.

“My passion throughout my career has been education at all levels. The DNA of Wayne State University and the city of Detroit are intertwined, and the university’s national reputation is illustrious. I’m very much looking forward to serving the people of greater Detroit and Michigan.”

According to Wayne State, Schweitzer's background includes serving as vice chair for clinical practice and chair of the Information Management Group at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. He holds medical patents and has been a lecturer at Harvard Medical School.

“The Board of Governors is extremely pleased to be hiring someone the caliber of Dr. Mark Schweitzer to assume what is a critically important leadership position,” Wayne State board chair Marilyn Kelly said. 

“Wayne State’s health-related education and community programs are a vital part of the university's identity and mission, and we think that Mark is the right person to lead us into the future.”

Schweitzer received his bachelor of science degree from the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education at the City University of New York, and his medical degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

He completed a residency in diagnostic radiology at Nassau County Medical Center (now Nassau University Medical Center), where he served as associate chief resident, and completed a fellowship in musculoskeletal radiology at University of California, San Diego.

Schweitzer is certified by the American Board of Radiology and has been the presiding officer of the Radiological Society of North America and the International Skeletal Society.

Wilson thanked Sobel for leading the School of Medicine for the last five years. 

“A consummate professional and a well-respected physician, Dr. Sobel led the school through a challenging era and was instrumental in correcting course on a number of issues,” Wilson said in Friday's press release. 

“We all owe him an immense debt of gratitude. I am glad that he will remain a member of our esteemed faculty and will continue treating patients and conducting research.”

kbouffard@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @kbouffardDN

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