EX-USF Dean Sets A New And Bold Vision To Transform Women's Healthcare And Clinical Research In Florida

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Lisa Murray is a free lance reporter. She writes for many syndicated media outlets and is presently working on a series for a national business magazine interviewing healthcare executives in the Greater Tampa Bay area. This interview is part of that series and highlights the work that is being done by the Institute of Women’s Health of North America; the largest healthcare provider for women in the state of Florida. This interview was conducted in two parts; Part I addresses the transformational changes that Abdul Sohail Rao, M.D., M.A., D.Phil., Chief Executive Officer and Chief Research Officer is making in the Institute, and Part II addresses Dr. Rao’s contributions to improving healthcare in the Greater Tampa Bay area as a senior leader at USF Health and the bike incident which had the potential to undermine his legacy in this region.

Abdul Sohail Rao, M.D., M.A., D.Phil., Chief Executive Officer and Chief Research Officer, IWHNA

Over 10% of Floridians are presently uninsured and/or under-insured and lack the resources to obtain quality and affordable health care. This crisis is not limited to the State of Florida but has impacted the lives of Americans in each and every state in the Union. This calamity has been further compounded by the on-going global recession with burgeoning unemployment in the U.S. President Obama and the U.S. Senate and the Congress are taking proactive measures to address this catastrophe by possibly signing into law a bill that would provide healthcare insurance to all Americans without any exclusions for pre-existing medical conditions.

Abdul Sohail Rao, MD, MA, DPhil., was recruited earlier this year as the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Research Officer of the Institute of Women's Health of North America; a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization registered in the state of Florida. Dr. Rao presently leads the largest healthcare provider for women in the State and among the largest in North America. He speaks candidly with Lisa Murray about his vision for transforming women's healthcare and clinical research in Florida and for timely implementation of a state-wide plan for effective prevention and treatment of communicable diseases (particularly HIV and STDs). Please visit this website to get full script of this interview: PART I - TRANSFORMING WOMEN'S HEALTHCARE IN FLORIDA

Before joining the Institute, Dr. Rao had made substantial contribution to improving healthcare in the Greater Tampa Bay region as a Senior Associate Vice President of the University of South Florida Health. He was also the Vice Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, College of Medicine, Director, School of Biomedical Sciences, and Medical Director, Tampa General Hospital. He also served as the Chief Operating Office of the Johnnie B. Byrd, Sr. Alzheimer’s Center & Research Institute which, until Summer 2008 was an independent entity but ultimately integrated with USF Health as one of its research and clinical centers. He also served as the Institutional Official for the entire USF System and was responsible for providing oversight of all research integrity and compliance issues in the University.

During his tenure at USF Health, Dr. Rao was responsible for establishing 13 core research facilities, enhancing NIH funding by almost three fold particularly during the period when NIH funding was declining, recruited and/or retained >17 faculty, and enhanced the ranking of the medical school from 79 (in 2006) to top 50 in the U.S., in NIH funding. He was also charged with transforming the culture of the medical school a task, which he considered most challenging. He brought transparency into his operations and demanded nothing short of excellence from himself and his colleagues in the office. Please visit this website to get full script of this interview: Please visit this website to get full script of this interview: PART II: ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND CHALLENGES AT USF HEALTH

Because of the sweeping changes that he was making at USF Health, he was not the most popular Dean on the campus. As such, many challenging situation were created for him during his tenure at USF Health including the misrepresentation of facts related to the bike incidence at the Byrd Institute. However, no one argues the legacy that he has left behind at this Instituion and its impact on healthcare in the Greater Tampa Bay region. He talks about his legacy at USF Health and about this unfortunate incidence. Please download this part of the interview by visiting this website: Accomplishments and Challenges at USF Health.

Dr. Rao came to USF Health in 2006 from Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). He spoke of his time at MTSU with much admiration and deeply regrets leaving that Instituion which he considered most fertile for growth and development. He was Vice Provost for Research and Dean, College of Graduate Studies at MTSU and authored a State-wide vision for enhancing research and graduate education in the Tennessee; a document that now serves as the blueprint for the entire State. He has also served in leadership positions at Drexel University and its College of Medicine, and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Dr. Rao obtained his medical degree from Dow Medical College and proceeded to obtain a Master’s in Physiology from Boston University. After serving as a Post-doctoral Fellow at Harvard University, he joined the Nuffield Department of Surgery at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford UK as a Clinical Instructor. During his tenure at the University of Oxford, he also obtained his doctorate (Doctor of Philosophy) in Immunology and Pathology. He has to his credit >140 publication in peer-reviewed journals and innumerable invited lectures and presentations.

His passion for serving the community is what prompted him to assume his current position. He and his family donate a lot of their time and money to local charities and he frequently visits Pakistan and other developing countries as a Visiting Scholar to enhance the culture of discovery and innovation in the developing world.

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