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Public Health Leader Christy Porucznik, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., Named Vice Dean for Faculty

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Christy Porucznik, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., professor, researcher, and public health champion, is named the Vice Dean for Faculty in the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine at University of Utah.

Effective July 1st, 2022, Porucznik will work to advance faculty and faculty success across 23 departments in the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine in clinical, education, research, community engagement, and supportive capacities. Within the last 10 years, the number of medical school faculty has more than doubled; over the last five years, there has been a more than 40% increase of promotions and award of tenure actions in the School of Medicine. Porucznik will provide leadership and oversight of the Faculty Affairs Office for the medical school, serve as a central resource by providing guidance and support to enhance faculty success, and oversee the faculty appointment, review, and advancement processes, among many other responsibilities.

"From her own experience in obtaining research funding from various and diverse agencies, to working across multiple educational and service aspects, to working in a clinical department, Porucznik brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this role," says Michael L. Good, M.D., Senior Vice President for Health Sciences. "She is an exceptional leader who will help our faculty develop and advance their careers here at U of U Health."

Porucznik studied chemistry at the Ohio State University and epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, working with the Utah Department of Health as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer. In her time with the University of Utah, she served as Associate Division Chief of Research and of Education, Director of Graduate Studies, Director of the Office of Public Health Research, Director of Women in Medicine and Science, and Program Director for the Ruth L. Kirchstein National Research Service Award Primary Care Research Fellowship.

Since 2005, Porucznik has served as a faculty member at U of U Health, publishing numerous papers; receiving research funding from the NIH, CDC, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; and teaching medical students, undergraduates, and graduate students both here and at the U of U Asia Campus. She was recognized by students as Faculty Member of the Year numerous times. In the larger academic community, Porucznik is active with grant reviews and service on boards, including a current role on the Board of Directors for the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners.

As Vice Dean, Porucznik looks forward to bolstering and developing systems to support recruitment, retention, and promotion of faculty members who will be creating new knowledge and teaching trainees. She’s particularly interested in reinforcing a sense of community across the entire system after the pandemic changed the fundamental structure of work and social and interpersonal connections may have been lost.

"I want to work on thinking about how we can do better to help all faculty members remember that they are on a team that is bigger than their division, department, or research team," Porucznik says. "We need to help people remember that we are better together. We have an opportunity to reimagine ourselves as a united institution."

Porucznik succeeds Robert S. Fujinami, Ph.D., who served in this role from January 2020 and will be accepting new responsibilities in the office of the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences. Along with adeptly navigating a global pandemic and its ramifications to the School of Medicine, during Fujinami’s tenure, he represented faculty from all medical school departments on the University’s College Council by leading the approval of a revised charter. He instituted two new departments within the School of Medicine and coordinated the university’s approval of the Ombuds Charter—providing strictly confidential, impartial, and informal conflict resolution and problem-solving services for faculty, staff, students, and post-doctoral fellows.

"We’re grateful for all Dr. Fujinami did for our faculty." Dr. Good says. "His work re-established a solid foundation for our faculty efforts and set the stage for Dr. Porucznik to build out a program that further empowers our faculty to realize their professional dreams."