The linchpin of UC Irvine's plan to reform its scandal-plagued medical programs fell into place Thursday with the hiring of Dr. David N. Bailey as vice chancellor for health affairs.
The new position, which will oversee UCI's medical school and hospital, begins April 1.
Bailey comes to UCI after three decades at UC San Diego, where he now serves as interim medical school dean and interim vice chancellor for health services. A graduate of Yale University, Bailey is also a professor of pathology and director of UC San Diego's toxicology lab.
Bailey will receive a base salary of $512,000 at UCI.
Describing himself as a consensus builder, Bailey, 61, said his priority would be restructuring the independent management of UCI's hospital and medical school under a single umbrella.
He will also serve as dean of UCI's medical school, replacing Dr. Thomas Cesario, one of several high-ranking medical administrators to step down after revelations that 32 patients on UCI's liver transplant waiting list died while the Orange hospital rejected scores of viable organs.
UCI has also come under fire this year for shortcomings in its kidney and bone-marrow transplant programs, questions about cardiologists' credentials, allegations of nepotism and problems in its anesthesiology, radiology and orthopedic surgery departments.
Those problems were only the latest for UCI. In 1995, the university acknowledged that doctors in its fertility clinic stole eggs and embryos from patients and implanted them in other women. In 2000, the school fired the director of its donated-cadaver program amid suspicion that he had improperly sold body parts.
"Creating an open, transparent atmosphere [and] having the clinical side talking to the academic side will help preclude or minimize" such problems, Bailey said.
The vice chancellor job is one of two positions created in response to the liver-transplant scandal. The other is an ombudsman to handle complaints and concerns from UCI medical personnel. The ombudsman spot was filled two months ago by attorney Gecole Harley of Georgia.
UCI officials hope Bailey and Harley will be more successful at preventing trouble than a similar reform effort a few years ago. In 2000, after concerns about the donated-cadaver program surfaced, a panel of experts recommended the appointment of an administrator.
But the person hired to fill that role, Iris Ingram, quit after less than three years, saying her position was merely "window dressing."
The job remained vacant after her departure.