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U of U Health Names New AVP for Clinical Affairs and Chief Clinical Officer

Samuel Finlayson

Samuel R.G. Finlayson, MD, MPH, MBA has been appointed Associate Vice President (AVP) for Clinical Affairs and Chief Clinical Officer for University of Utah Health (U of U Health). The appointment, effective December 1, 2020, was announced by Michael L. Good, Senior Vice President for Health Sciences and CEO of U of U Health.

"Dr. Finlayson is ideally suited to be our next AVP for clinical affairs. He has the abilities, experience, and leadership skills to serve with distinction." Good says. "For seven years he has led our surgery department with a faculty of more than 160 physicians and surgeons. Under his guidance, the department advanced high value surgical care, education, innovation, and discovery." During Finlayson's leadership, Good points out, the surgery faculty grew and increased its diversity. "In his time as chair of surgery, the department's sponsored research portfolio expanded by 400 percent while the department's clinical enterprise grew at a sustained rate of seven percent per year." Good says, "Impressive accomplishments indeed."

Finlayson, who has been serving as Acting AVP for Clinical Affairs since July 14, 2020, will step down from his role as chair of the department of surgery. Robert E. Glasgow, MD, MBA, will be appointed to serve as interim chair for the department while the university opens a national search for the next chair of surgery.

In describing his academic career, Finlayson explains that is has been built on health services research related to surgical access, quality, and outcomes. "My specific interests have included variation in use and outcomes of surgery, surgical care innovation, workforce, and access to high quality care in rural versus urban settings in the United States and in low-income countries." Finlayson hopes to draw on the latest thinking in health services research to build toward a more closely coordinated health system, inclusive of all the schools and colleges in Health Sciences. "We expect to continue to grow together as a health system, extending our reach locally and regionally through partnership. Our goal is to strengthen U of U Health's position as a premier health care organization in the region, and to be recognized nationally as a hub of innovation while advancing population health."

As AVP for Clinical Affairs and Chief Clinical Officer, Finlayson will provide overall operational leadership of U of U Health under the direction of the CEO Michael Good. He is charged with ensuring the highest standards of quality, safety, and efficiency across the entire U of U Health adult and pediatric inpatient and ambulatory care enterprise. As a member of U of U Health senior leadership team, Finlayson will participate in developing an evolving model of health system integration, including governance, management, and decision-making. He will collaborate with the University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics CEO, Health Plans CEO, and U of U Health leadership to partner with School of Medicine department chairs and faculty. Finlayson will serve as chair of the University of Utah Medical Group (UUMG) Executive Committee, and as chair pro-tem of the UUMG Board of Directors. He is charged with strengthening wellness and a culture of inclusiveness within U of U Health. "I'm determined to support an equitable, collaborative environment that promotes wellness and draws on the strength of diversity," he says.

Finlayson was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, although he has ancestral roots in Utah, including a great-great-grandmother who held a license to practice medicine in Ogden. He was educated at Harvard University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chinese Civilization, a Master of Public Health degree in International Health, and a Medical Doctor degree, followed by training in general surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, and a fellowship in health services research at Dartmouth. After his clinical and research training, Finlayson spent a decade at Dartmouth where he pursued an academic career in health services research, served as Vice Chair in the Department of Surgery, and as Director of the Surgical Residency Program. He left Dartmouth in 2011 to serve as the Kessler Director of the Center for Surgery and Public Health, a joint health services research initiative of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the Harvard School of Public Health. While serving as chair of the Department of Surgery, he earned a Master of Business Administration at the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah.

Finlayson succeeds Edward B. Clark, MD who, after serving as chair of the department of pediatrics for 23 years, served for five years as Associate Vice President for Clinical Affairs and President of the University of Utah Medical Group —a tenure during which Clark led the accomplishment of numerous significant achievements for the medical group and the university. Among them, he sponsored and helped to develop U of U Health's platform for Population Health. He envisioned improving access to quality health care for Utah's veterans, which led to the development of the VA Clinic at South Jordan. And perhaps most notably, he worked to elevate the voices of more clinicians—dentists, pharmacists, nurses—on the clinical delivery side of the Health Sciences. Clark returns to faculty as a professor of pediatrics, while he works to finalize plans for a sabbatical and the next phase of his illustrious career.