Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal
The University of New Mexico has whittled the search for its next top medical official down to four finalists, who will begin Zoom online forums with the campus community this week.
The school has started to identify candidates to be executive vice president for UNM Health Sciences, unveiling each one week before the candidate holds meetings with different groups on campus.
So far, the only one named publicly is Dr. Veronica Mallett, who for the past three years has been the senior vice president for health affairs and dean at Meharry Medical College School of Medicine, in Nashville, Tennessee. Since March, she has been executive director of the Center for Women’s Health Research at Meharry.
Mallett will begin a series of remote forums Thursday.
UNM said on its website that the school has determined the other three finalists but declined to publicly identify them. Forums with those finalists are scheduled to start July 20, 23 and 27.
“In this search, UNM has taken the approach of announcing candidates a week before their scheduled interviews primarily as a courtesy to the candidates,” Cinnamon Blair, a university spokeswoman, said in an email. “As this is a competitive search, we would seek to keep knowledge of each candidate relatively uniform throughout the process.”
Whoever is chosen will take the place of a longtime fixture on UNM’s north campus. Dr. Paul Roth, the current top executive at the Health Sciences Center, is retiring at the end of the month after more than 40 years at the university, including more than 26 years as the medical school dean.
Roth is stepping down as dean of the UNM medical school, chancellor of the UNM Health Sciences Center and CEO of the UNM Health System.
UNM President Garnett Stokes said she will split up some of Roth’s responsibilities and hire two people to replace him. In addition to a new executive vice president, she will also hire a medical school dean.
Dr. Mike Richards, senior vice chancellor for clinical affairs, will be the interim executive vice president for health sciences starting Aug. 1 until a permanent replacement is hired.
Dr. Martha McGrew has already stepped in as the interim dean of the School of Medicine. McGrew has been the executive vice dean since 2015.
The next executive vice president will be stepping in as one of the top medical officials in New Mexico in the middle of a pandemic and a financially struggling university system. The UNM Health Sciences Center in the 2020 fiscal year had more than 10,000 employees and a $2.2 billion budget.
He or she will also be one of the highest-paid public employees in the state. Roth is paid about $675,000 a year.
Mallett, the only publicly identified candidate, has some regional experience. She held several leadership positions at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso from 2011 to 2015, according to her résumé.
In 2018, Nashville Medical News reported that she was one of three Black female medical school deans in the country.