Rachel Hess, M.D., M.S., a physician-scientist recognized for her work in patient-centered outcomes, mid-life women’s health, and clinical and translational science, has been named associate vice president for research at University of Utah Health. Hess will oversee the research enterprise across U of U Health, which includes five schools and colleges, the Eccles Health Science Library, and more than 20,000 faculty and staff.
"Dr. Hess has the expertise, experience, and leadership skills needed for this critical role, and as a leader in her field, she also brings an impressive reputation for research and medicine," said Michael L. Good, M.D., Senior Vice President for Health Sciences, Dean of the School of Medicine, and CEO of U of U Health. "She has a unique balance of excellence in academics, innovative research, and administration, and I’m confident she is the right leader to guide our teams forward as we continue to grow our impact and reputation locally, regionally, and nationally."
As the AVP for research at U of U Health, Hess will oversee the Senior Vice President for Health Science Research Unit, which includes health sciences cores, graduate and research fellow programs, and health sciences initiatives. Additional responsibilities include overseeing the research enterprise across U of U Health, including the allocation and deployment of diverse funding streams in support of the research excellence mission; serving on the campus and research advisory executive team; overseeing recruitment and faculty hires, supporting success through robust research programs; overseeing the allocation of research space in collaboration with space planning, core facilities and research compliance; and supporting fundraising and marketing activities to increase reputation and awareness of mission.
Hess is a professor in the Departments of Population Health Sciences and Internal Medicine at the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine at the University of Utah. She holds a H.A. and Edna Benning Presidential Endowed Chair in Population Health Sciences. She co-directs the Utah Clinical & Translational Science Institute. Prior to assuming the AVP role, she served as the associate dean for clinical and translational science and founding chief in the Division of Health System Innovation and Research.
In collaboration with the University of Utah Vice President for Research, colleagues in the SVP health sciences research unit, and the Utah Clinical & Translational Science Institute, Hess helped lead the University’s research response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She currently leads the Mountain States PASC Consortium as part of the National Institutes of Health RECOVER initiative to understand the causes of and treatments for long-COVID.
"I am honored to work with the outstanding SVP health sciences leadership and research unit teams," Hess said. "In order to continue and build on the impressive reputation of our research, I look forward to partnering with colleagues across the institution to support existing faculty and staff, and bring new, outstanding individuals to the University of Utah. A key aspect of my mission will be to support research excellence and contribute toward achieving President Taylor Randall’s vision of achieving $1 billion of extramural funding, and especially its associated societal impact."
Before joining the University of Utah, Hess served as associate professor of medicine, clinical and translational science, and epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh. She received her undergraduate degree in mathematics at Washington University in St. Louis, attended the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, and completed her internal medicine internship and residency at Temple University in Philadelphia. She completed a general internal medicine and women’s health fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, receiving her Master of Science in clinical investigation.
Hess succeeds Will Dere, M.D., who has served as AVP of research since 2018. "We are incredibly grateful to Dr. Dere for his remarkable leadership and vision," Good said. "He came to us with an international reputation of clinical research excellence in academics and the biopharmaceutical industry and used his background to recruit top-notch talent and build a stellar reputation for U of U Health research. He has built a strong foundation that ensures U of U Health research will continue to move forward and thrive under Dr. Hess’ leadership."