Leadership Transition in the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care

April 24, 2020

To:PSOM Faculty and Staff and UPHS Leadership

From:J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD, and Kevin B. Mahoney

We write to announce that Lee A. Fleisher, MD, who is completing his third and final term as Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, has agreed to accelerate the search for his successor, in order to allow for a significant period of transition at a critical time in the history of the Department. We have engaged a search firm and are commencing a national search. Our goal is to have a new Chair in place by early spring 2021, who can overlap with Dr. Fleisher prior to the end of his term on June 30, 2021, thus ensuring a seamless transition as we continue to expand our health system.

Dr. Fleisher is not only one of the longest serving Department Chairs at Penn Medicine, but has been one of its most impactful leaders. Dr. Fleisher’s influence on the Department will be enduring. Since he assumed the role of Chair in 2004, the Department has grown and strengthened its faculty, attracted increased funding for health services and outcomes research, and participated actively in both UME and GME, with strong UME course evaluations and a residency program that is ranked #5 nationally. As a result, the department’s national reputation has been greatly enhanced.

Dr. Fleisher’s impact has brought about transformational change within the Department and across the health system. His leading role in important strategic initiatives, such as quality, patient safety, and managed care have been invaluable, as have his contributions to the Opioid Task Force, the development of the ERAS Collaborative, and our global health project in Vietnam.

Over the course of his tenure, Dr. Fleisher’s efforts to elevate professionalism and faculty well-being have been a model among Penn Medicine leaders. He has been highly supportive of women and URM faculty and has a well-deserved reputation for identifying leadership opportunities, providing coaching for high potential leaders, and developing succession plans to create opportunities for mid-career faculty.

In addition to his many administrative accomplishments, Dr. Fleisher is a superb investigator and educator. He is a national health policy thought leader, focused on evidence-based medicine and defining quality metrics. Most recently, he has studied the influence of culture and innovation on care delivery. He has received numerous federal, industry, and foundation grants related to these subjects and has authored over 300 articles, chapters and books.

Dr. Fleisher is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine. He has held numerous national leadership roles, including serving on the Board of Directors and chairing the Consensus Standards Advisory Committee, and serving as co-chair of the Surgery Standing Committee of the National Quality Forum. He has served on numerous Technical Expert Panels for CMS, and the Yale Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation. He is also a member of the Medical Advisory Panel of the Technology Evaluation Center of the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Association.

We are grateful to Dr. Fleisher for his leadership and active engagement with this important transition.  He is an exceptional mentor and coach, who will provide invaluable guidance to the incoming chair.  The trust and admiration of his faculty, trainees, and staff is evident in the way they have worked together seamlessly and tirelessly to provide care under the recent stressful conditions of the pandemic.   

We have asked L. Scott Levin, MD, to lead these efforts, and you will be hearing from him in the coming weeks as the process moves forward. In the meantime, please join us in thanking Dr. Fleisher for nearly two decades of outstanding institutional service that has placed Penn Medicine and the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care in the forefront of anesthesiology nationwide.