URMC CEO Taubman sets retirement

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University of Rochester Medical Center CEO Mark Taubman M.D. plans to retire.

Taubman, 72, who also is UR School of Medicine and Dentistry dean, has set the earliest date on which he will step down from both posts as December 2023. He will stay on longer if the school has not named a successor by then. Taubman has served as the medical school’s dean since 2010 and jointly as URMC’s CEO since 2015. He was the first person to simultaneously hold both positions.

UR president Sarah Mangelsdorf in a statement thanked Taubman for “providing us with ample notice of his future plans so that we can thoughtfully organize and conduct a search for his successor.”  

Taubman’s appointment as medical school dean followed a nine-month stint as URMC’s acting CEO, during which he pinch hit for then CEO Brad Berk M.D. while Berk underwent a lengthy rehabilitation after suffering a paralyzing spinal cord injury. At the time, Taubman had been serving as chief of medicine.  

Mark Taubman M.D. (Photo: UR)

Called back from a vacation in China by then UR president Joel Seligman to assume the acting CEO post, Taubman learned of the appointment only as he stepped off of the plane. He said then that on hearing of Berk’s accident he would have cut the Chinese vacation short in any event to support Berk, a longtime research partner and close friend of many years. As medical school dean, Taubman would serve as his right hand, Berk said at the time of Taubman’s appointment to the deanship.

When Berk stepped down as CEO in 2014, Seligman cited Taubman’s experience as acting CEO and later as medical school dean as key factors in the school’s decision to combine the dean and CEO posts. The UR president described the decision as a strategic move, part of a plan to more closely integrate the medical center’s component organizations.

UR had grown to become the Rochester’s region’s largest employer, having overtaken the region’s onetime top employer, Eastman Kodak Co. and also surpassing the former number two and three employers, Xerox Corp. and Bausch & Lomb Inc.

URMC is by far the university’s largest organization. Its components include UR Medicine, a seven-hospital health system stretching over several counties and employing more than 1,000 physicians. The organization also includes extensive medical research facilities as well the medical and dental schools and a school of nursing.

Taubman’s planned departure comes after two years that sorely tested all of the region’s medical organizations as the COVID-19 pandemic strained doctors, nurses and other frontline providers to the limit. Nursing shortages in particular have been a persistent thorn in the side of not only UR’s health system but nearly all health care organizations nationally.

Taubman, a cardiologist by specialty, has spent a career in medical research and as an administrator. Prior to moving to URMC in 2003, he served as a professor of medicine at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City where he held posts including director of the school’s National Institutes of Health training program in molecular and cellular cardiology, assistant director of the M.D. Ph.D. program, director of the school’s cardiology fellowship program and director of cardiovascular research.  

A native Brooklynite, Taubman has maintained close ties to his hometown. A devoted New York Yankees fan and Metropolitan Opera patron, he visited his mother, a noted piano teacher, in Brooklyn at least monthly until her death at 95 in 2013. Taught by his mother, Taubman has described himself as an accomplished but sub-concert-level pianist.

Among priorities Taubman cites for his remaining time as URMC’s leader are devising solutions to cope with continuing staff shortages, overseeing major expansions and upgrades at Strong Memorial Hospital that were recently greenlighted by state regulators, and overseeing development of a new orthopedics facility in Henrietta.

Says Mangelsdorf: “I am not only grateful for Mark’s past service; I’m glad that we can count on his continued service for the next 15 months.”

Will Astor is Rochester Beacon senior writer. The Beacon welcomes comments from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name.

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