Following a national search, UVA Health today announced the appointment of Tracy M. Downs, MD, FACS, as its inaugural Chief Diversity & Community Engagement Officer, effective July 1.
Downs comes to UVA Health from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health where he is Associate Dean for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and Professor of Urologic Oncology.
In this new role, Downs will serve as UVA Health’s leading voice on diversity, equity and inclusion and be a powerful advocate for related initiatives across the health system and, more broadly, in the local community. Within UVA Health, he will support, consolidate and guide efforts to ensure an inclusive, optimal and respectful learning, training and working environment. Within the greater Charlottesville region, he will work collaboratively to improve community health and well-being by addressing social determinants of health to decrease health disparities amongst those who are at risk or currently under-served.
“Tracy is a leader of integrity who is passionate about community health advocacy and the work of diversity, equity and inclusion,” said K. Craig Kent, MD, Executive Vice President for Health Affairs and Chief Executive Officer of UVA Health. “He will play an integral role in the ongoing effort to strengthen UVA’s partnership with our neighboring communities.”
Downs is a board-certified urologist specializing in the surgical treatment of urologic cancers, with a sub-specialty focus in the treatment of both prostate and bladder cancer. At UW, Tracy played an instrumental role in overseeing the recruitment of and medical education support programs for individuals from ethnically diverse backgrounds underrepresented in medicine. He also served as Faculty Director of the Cancer Health Disparities Initiative at UW’s Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“I am both excited and humbled by the opportunity to join UVA Health, one of the best academic health systems in the country and a place that strongly values diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Downs. “It is important to me that we are good stewards and provide the same level of compassionate and skilled medical care to all members of society who come from differing diverse backgrounds. I cannot wait to help build upon the core values of UVA Health to serve our community better.”
Downs earned his MD from the University of California San Diego, completed his residency at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, and completed a fellowship at the University of California at San Francisco. He earned his undergraduate degree from California Lutheran University.