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June 9, 2021

Melina R. Kibbe Named Dean of UVA’s School of Medicine

Headshot of Melina R. Kibbe.

The University of Virginia has named pioneering physician leader Melina R. Kibbe, MD, as 17th dean of the UVA School of Medicine and chief health affairs officer for UVA Health.

Dr. Kibbe is an outstanding clinician, researcher and highly respected educator. She comes to UVA effective Sept. 15 from her role as the Colin G. Thomas Jr. Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she also holds an appointment in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Dr. Kibbe joined UNC in 2016 when she became the first woman to serve as the Chair of the Department of Surgery and a key member of the UNC Health senior leadership team. Over her five-year tenure, she significantly grew the clinical enterprise and the amount of complex clinical care provided by the department. An excellent recruiter, Dr. Kibbe added an additional 20 faculty to the department and in parallel has grown the research portfolio, with federal research funding up seven-fold and the number of annual peer-reviewed publications tripled. Dr. Kibbe also has enhanced the department’s surgical training programs, working tirelessly to increase the number of underrepresented and LGBTQ faculty, trainees and staff.

In addition to being a busy clinician, Dr. Kibbe is the editor-in-chief of Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Surgery. Under her leadership, JAMA Surgery has risen to become the most preeminent surgical journal in the world.  She has been a voice in ensuring gender equity in medicine as well as biomedical research both nationally and internationally. Dr. Kibbe is a member of the prestigious National Academy of Medicine, one of the highest honors in medicine. In recognition of her passion and dedication for education, she has received 23 awards for teaching excellence during her career.    

Dr. Kibbe is an actively funded physician scientist serving as principal and co-investigator, consultant or mentor on a number of federally supported awards, including current awards from the National Institute of Health, the Department of Defense and Veterans Administration. Dr. Kibbe has also served as principal investigator for a number of gene- and cell-based clinical trials for patients with critical limb ischemia. She has authored more than 300 peer-reviewed manuscripts, review articles and book chapters. She holds more than 10 patents or provisional patents and co-founded VesselTek BioMedical LLC, a company that develops medical devices to treat vascular disease.

“Dr. Kibbe’s cutting-edge clinical expertise, her impressive research credentials and her outstanding leadership skills make her the ideal person to lead the School of Medicine,” said K. Craig Kent, MD, UVA’s executive vice president for health affairs.

As dean and chief health affairs officer, Dr. Kibbe will lead the School of Medicine faculty in all four missions, including clinical strategy and growth, expansion of research in collaboration with other UVA schools, the promotion of educational programs of the highest caliber, and developing partnerships with our community.

Liz Magill, UVA’s executive vice president and provost, highlighted Dr. Kibbe’s leadership skills. “Dr. Kibbe’s track record demonstrates that she will not only be an exceptional leader for UVA’s SOM, she will be a stand-out University leader, joining the 11 other deans in building our excellence across all of our academic missions,” she said. 

Dr. Kibbe succeeds David S. Wilkes, MD, who has served in the role for the past six years. During his tenure as dean, Dr. Wilkes led a renaissance in the research enterprise, bolstered educational offerings and fostered an environment where collaboration and innovation thrived.

UVA President Jim Ryan welcomed Dr. Kibbe to the University and expressed his gratitude to the search committee that found her. “I am delighted that the search committee has selected Dr. Melina Kibbe, an experienced and visionary clinician, educator, leader and researcher, to lead the School of Medicine and serve as UVA Health’s chief health affairs officer,” he said. “My thanks go to co-chairs Dr. Karen Johnston and Dr. Reid Adams, along with the full committee, for their work in making this outstanding selection for UVA. We are excited to build on the momentum generated by David Wilkes’s leadership as the School continues to pursue its mission of excellence in education, research and patient care.”

A native of California, Dr. Kibbe graduated from the University of Chicago College of Biological Sciences in 1990 and received her MD from UC’s Pritzker School of Medicine in 1994. She completed her internship, residency and research fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and her vascular surgery fellowship at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

Prior to joining UNC, Dr. Kibbe served as the vice chair of research at Northwestern University’s Department of Surgery and as deputy director of the Simpson Querrey Institute for BioNanotechnology.

“I am excited to come to UVA,” Dr. Kibbe said. “I look forward to working with all of the talented people at the UVA School of Medicine and our partners across the university and in the community to build on UVA’s outstanding foundation of world-class patient care, research and education.”

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