The University of New Mexico School of Medicine has a new leader – a first-generation college student and the school’s first female dean.
Dr. Patricia Finn, an associate dean for Strategic Initiatives and associate program director for the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago, will start in her new role Sept. 1.
Finn, the daughter of Irish immigrants, will be the fifth dean of the medical school, which opened in 1964. The last full-time dean at the school was Dr. Paul Roth, who served in the role for 26 years until he retired in the summer of 2020.
“My job as a physician leader is to provide exceptional care for all in the context of scientific discovery as we train the next generation, because we are part of a local and global community,” Finn said in a statement. “That’s what I bring to the table.
The School of Medicine’s budget for fiscal year 2022 is $ 640 million across all missions and programs, which funds 1,200 faculty 2,200 staff. The fall 2020 enrollment was 1,600 students, including 700 residents.
Finn will report directly to Dr. Douglas Ziedonis, UNM’s executive vice president for Health Sciences and CEO of the UNM Health System.
“She is a national and international leader who has made a significant impact in her prior leadership roles and is also a very well-respected clinician, teacher, mentor, and researcher,” he said. “Her mature leadership abilities, commitment to inclusive excellence and strong sense of the mission to enhance the health of all New Mexicans is quite clear.”
Ziedonis said during Finn’s tenure at the Illinois medical school, the hospital provided exceptional patient care, improved scholarly activities, trained physicians and promoted diversity and inclusion.
Finn has worked at the Harvard Medical School’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and she was a professor of medicine and director of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of California, San Diego, before taking her current job in Chicago.
She graduated medical school and residency at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and did her fellowship in pulmonary medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Finn also has completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in immunology at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Finn in 2007 was inducted into the Association of American Physicians.
Finn told UNM officials that she originally wanted to go into primary care, but she switched to pulmonary medicine after working in the Bronx with women suffering from asthma, a condition that can be exacerbated because of someone’s socioeconomic status.
“It really propelled me to go deeper into fundamental science,” Finn said. “That’s been my passion and commitment, to really integrate scientific discovery with health care for the underserved.”
Dr. Finn’s husband, Dr. David Perkins is a professor with the University of Illinois College of Medicine and the director of the kidney transplant program. He will be joining the faculty at the UNM Department of Internal Medicine.
A search advisory committee of 26 people, including multiple physicians and UNM leaders, was used during the selection.
Finn was chosen from four finalists.
Her contract is for five years with an annual salary of $ 610,000, Ziedonis said.
“I could not be more pleased by the selection of Dr. Finn as our new dean of the UNM School of Medicine, ”said UNM President Garnett Stokes. “I am confident she will enrich the proud legacy of the school and provide a holistic approach to the most critical parts of our unique mission to advance health and health equity for the citizens of New Mexico.”