Robert S. Fujinami, Ph.D., esteemed professor, researcher, and administrator is named the Associate Vice President for Faculty at University of Utah Health.
Effective July 1, 2022, Fujinami oversees faculty across six schools, colleges, and libraries within the Health Sciences campus. In this role, he will oversee and support faculty success, appointments, reviews, advancement processes, and mentoring efforts, in addition to other key responsibilities. Previously, Fujinami served as Vice Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs in the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine (SFESOM) at University of Utah.
Along with adeptly navigating a global pandemic and its ramifications to the SFESOM, Fujinami represented faculty from all medical school departments on the university's College Council and earned the approval of a revised charter. He guided the creation of three 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 staff, faculty, students, and trainees/postdoctoral fellows.
"With his passion for the students and faculty at the University of Utah proven over three decades of service, Fujinami brings skilled leadership and direction to the Health Sciences colleges," said Michael L. Good, M.D., Senior Vice President for Health Sciences. "He is deeply committed to our faculty and has excelled in every role he's had here. I look forward to seeing the successes of the U of U Health faculty under his continued leadership."
Fujinami studied microbiology at the University of Utah (BA Honors). He completed his Ph.D. at Northwestern University and received post-doctoral training and an assistant professorship at The Scripps Research Institute. Prior to coming to the University of Utah as professor, Fujinami was an associate professor at University of California, San Diego. He was the first Harry M. Weaver Neuroscience Scholar of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, an AAAS fellow, an Honorary Lecturer to the Nobel Medica Research Forum, a recipient of the Javits Neuroscience Scholar Award (NIH), and a vice president for the International Society for NeuroVirology. He has served as a member on five different NIH study sections and has received NIH funding for more than 30 years. His lab studies viral pathogenesis and preclinical models for the understanding and treatment of multiple sclerosis and epilepsy.
Fujinami’s University of Utah service includes chair of the Promotion, Retention, and Tenure Faculty Review Committees in the Department of Neurology; chair of the University of Utah Biosafety Committee; and SOM Faculty Appointment Review Advancement Committee. He has served as a member of the University Promotions and Tenure Advisory Committee, Academic Senate Task Force on Retention Promotion Tenure Procedures, University Research Committee, IACUC, Personnel & Elections Committee, the Academic Senate (twice), and President of the Academic Senate.
Dr. Fujinami succeeds Wyatt R. Hume, D.D.S., Ph.D, in this position. In addition to contributing to the overall work of the faculty office, Dr. Hume brought new emphasis to the educational components of the role, with two significant outcomes: the creation of a separate and focused position, the AVP for Health Sciences Education, and the creation of the Health Professions Planning Alliance, in partnership with the AVP for Clinical Affairs. The Alliance informs the university’s academic units and programs about the future workforce needs of the clinical enterprise. Early successes of the Alliance include the creation of a Medical Assistant training program and modification to College of Social Work programs to meet both present and anticipated needs of Huntsman Cancer Institute and Huntsman Mental Health Institute.