Medical school names first female dean in history

A former faculty member and surgical resident will serve as the School of Medicine and Health Sciences’ first female leader, according to a release Wednesday.

Barbara Lee Bass, Houston Methodist Hospital’s current department of surgery chair, will join the University Jan. 15 as the medical school’s dean and vice president for health affairs. Bass will oversee academic, research and clinical initiatives in the medical school, the GW Hospital and the Medical Faculty Associates, the release states.

“I am thrilled to return to GW, where I became a surgeon and began my career in academic surgery,” Bass said in the release. “GW is an institution made up of individuals committed to doing the right thing for patients, always.”

Jeffrey Akman, the former medical school dean, announced in January that he would step down when the University appointed a new leader. Akman will return to work as a medical school faculty member once the new dean is installed.

Anton Sidawy, who chairs the surgery department and chaired the medical school dean search committee, said in the release that Bass will be a “strong” leader for the medical school, the GW Hospital and the MFA.

“Dr. Bass impressed the search committee with her far-reaching contributions to medicine; her demonstrated commitment to supporting faculty in their practice, education and research endeavors; and her passion for training the next generation of health care professionals,” Sidawy said in the release.

University President Thomas LeBlanc said in the release that the University is “fortunate” to welcome Bass back to GW. Bass gave the keynote speech at last year’s M.D. program diploma ceremony.

“Dr. Bass has shown a remarkable commitment to academic medicine and health care throughout her accomplished career,” LeBlanc said in the release. “She is a devoted physician, educator and researcher with an inspiring vision for the School of Medicine and Health Sciences and the University’s medical enterprise.”

Bass has led a myriad of medical organizations, like the American Board of Surgery and the American College of Surgeons, throughout her medical career, according to the release. She helped to found the research program that evolved into the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program in the Virginia health care system and in the private sector program of the American College of Surgeons, the release states.

Bass has advocated for increased representation of women and minorities in the health care field throughout her career, according to the release. Her research interests range from computational surgery and health services to clinical trials in surgical oncology, but her current surgical practice focuses on breast and endocrine surgery, the release states.

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