Dr. Daniel Wilson hasn't been out of Nebraska very long, and he's already trying to get back.
Wilson, 57, served as chairman of the psychiatry department at Creighton University for 11 years before leaving in January 2012 for Jacksonville, Fla. There, he serves as dean of the University of Florida College of Medicine-Jacksonville and vice president for health affairs at the University of Florida Health Science Center-Jacksonville.
The chance to lead the much larger University of Nebraska Medical Center has prompted his return this week to Omaha, where, starting today, he will meet with faculty members and students. Wilson is the second of the three remaining finalists for the UNMC chancellor's position to visit campus. He will give a public presentation at 4 p.m. Thursday in Room 1002 of the Durham Research Center.
“I'm very high on him,” said the Rev. John Schlegel, the former Creighton president who started there about a month after Wilson did. “I'm very high on his management style and his professionalism, the way he deals with people.”
Wilson has been busy since moving to Florida.
Months after he arrived, Wilson and others pushed for the establishment of a bioscience academic research center in Jacksonville, an effort introduced years before that hadn't gone anywhere. An article in the Jacksonville Business Journal noted that Wilson identified the need for a center that would link research to the clinical work being done throughout the region.
“With the volume of patients here and the number of physicians here, it could be the nucleus that other places around the country and around the world have turned into innovation parks,” Wilson told the publication.
Russ Armistead, chief executive officer at UF Health Jacksonville, said Wilson “has been a thoughtful partner in improving collaborations between UF faculty and our hospital.”
UF Health at Jacksonville is the name for the medical school, hospital and clinics in Jacksonville, after a rebranding. And the hospital long known as UF&Shands, the University of Florida Academic Health Center, last month was renamed University of Florida Health. Wilson has been involved in the rebranding process since he arrived, said Bryan Campbell, executive vice president of the Duval County Medical Society.
Campbell, a former Omahan, said Wilson met with him and the medical society president shortly after arriving to ask for help providing training for medical residents.
Wilson told them about a Creighton program that teaches young doctors business and personnel management skills and offers information about wealth management and contract matters. “They're things that are important,” Campbell said, “but they're just not part of the medical school curriculum.”
The society is helping to arrange for speakers at seminars that would be open to medical residents at all four of Jacksonville's teaching hospitals, Campbell said. The seminars start in August.
Before Wilson came to Creighton, where he was also a professor of psychiatry, neurology and anthropology, he was a professor of psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati, where he directed the University Institute for Medicine & Law. He also served as medical director of the Lewis Center of the Ohio Department of Mental Health.
Wilson received his undergraduate degree in anthropology from Yale University, his medical degree from the University of Iowa and a diploma in mental health leadership from Case Western Reserve University. He completed his psychiatry residency at Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital in Massachusetts. He later earned a doctorate in anthropology at Queens' College at the University of Cambridge in England.
Wilson said the chance to help sustain UNMC's growth and development “has tremendous appeal.” UNMC, he said, “has perhaps the most positive trajectory of any academic health center in America.”
In an email, he attributed its “remarkable success” to what he called an extraordinary partnership involving a “forward-thinking state, a rare community of civic leaders of profound generosity and astute altruism and one of the nation's great public universities.”
Schlegel, formerly of Creighton, just finished a stint in New York City as publisher and president of America Press Inc., a Jesuit-sponsored weekly magazine and website.
“It's a whole different mind-set, working with those East Coasters,” who Schlegel said are more aggressive and “in your face” than Midwesterners. Wilson, he said, has some East Coaster in him. “He's got a little of that, but that's OK.”
“In the department he ran at Creighton,” Schlegel said, “he was pretty well-known for talking to all of his staff and colleagues before he made any kind of decision or moved the department in a different direction. That would bode well at a medical complex like Nebraska.”
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