Wayne State University names vice dean of Faculty Affairs for School of Medicine


DETROIT, June 27, 2011 — Roberta Sonnino, M.D., has been appointed vice dean of Faculty Affairs for the Wayne State University School of Medicine and associate provost for Medical Affairs for the university. She begins her duties Sept. 1.

Dr. Sonnino comes to WSU from the University of Minnesota Medical School, where she has served as associate dean of Faculty Affairs since 2008. She also is a professor of Pediatric Surgery and clinical director of Microsurgical Skills.

She previously served as associate dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs for the Creighton University School of Medicine, and assistant dean for Student Affairs and associate dean for Women in Medicine and Special Programs at the University of Kansas School of Medicine.

“We are fortunate to have Dr. Sonnino join our School of Medicine,” said Dean Valerie Parisi, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A. “She brings with her a wealth of experience and expertise that will be crucial as we continue adapting to meet the challenges of the future of medical education.”

A board-certified pediatric surgeon, Dr. Sonnino grew up in Italy. She completed her undergraduate degree in pre-medicine at the University of Michigan and graduated from the University of Padova (Italy) Medical School with a Laurea in Medicine and Surgery. After a pediatric internship at Children’s Hospital of Cincinnati, she served as an intern and resident for the University of Minnesota Department of Surgery. In the mid-1980s, Dr. Sonnino served a residency and was named chief resident in the Department of Surgery at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. She then completed a fellowship in Pediatric Surgery at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. Dr. Sonnino spent the subsequent decades in practice as an academic pediatric surgeon. She served as president of the Society for Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine from 2006 to 2007.

As associate provost for Medical Affairs, Dr. Sonnino will serve as a conduit for medical school issues to the office of Provost Ronald T. Brown.

“The world of medical education changes rapidly and medical schools and their home universities must remain nimble to confront those changes,” Provost Brown said. “Communication is key to that agility and Dr. Sonnino will ensure that the university and the medical school are working in unison.”

Dr. Sonnino said she is excited to have the dual role. “I’m going to be the point person on medical issues that need to be communicated between the medical school and the larger university so that there is a constant dialog. I don’t know of any other university doing this, so I am delighted to be spearheading this.”

Her immediate goals at the medical school, she said, include reorganizing the Office of Faculty Affairs. “We need to do that while taking full advantage of the incredible talent that is already there,” she said. “I want to bring a little more structure.”

Another immediate goal is implementing and emphasizing faculty mentoring. “We need to emphasize mentoring for the faculty at all levels of their careers, even the chairs,” she said. “I really want to get good mentoring programs in place.”

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution of higher education offering more than 400 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 32,000 students.

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