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story.lead_photo.caption Dr. Cam Patterson

A New York City cardiologist and native of Mobile, Ala., has been chosen to be the next chancellor of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, pending board approval.

Dr. Cam Patterson, 54, is senior vice president and chief operating officer at the nation's largest nonprofit hospital, Weill-Cornell Medical Center, New York Presbyterian Hospital.

UA System President Donald Bobbitt made the announcement Friday that he will recommend Patterson for the job, but the UA board of trustees will have the final say.

The board will have a special teleconference meeting the first week of January, said Nate Hinkel, a spokesman for the UA System.

Ben Hyneman of Jonesboro, chairman of the board, said he expects it will vote to accept Bobbitt's recommendation.

"He's impressive," Hyneman said of Patterson. "During the interview process, Dr. Bobbitt presented us with two excellent choices. I think whichever recommendation he ended up making is probably going to be acceptable to the board."

"I have confidence in Dr. Bobbitt's recommendation," said Mark Waldrip of Moro, vice chairman of the board.

Hinkel said Patterson's compensation package will total about $1.2 million a year. Patterson is expected to begin work in Little Rock on June 1.

Patterson will replace Dr. Dan Rahn, who retired in July after eight years leading UAMS. He earned an annual salary of $630,000, along with $270,000 in annual deferred compensation, which is set aside for his retirement, from the UAMS foundation.

The next chancellor will take charge of the academic medical center at a time when UAMS is sticking with its three-pronged mission -- educating health care professionals, providing patient-centered care and advancing research -- when the industry's future is uncertain.

UAMS has an annual budget of $1.4 billion.

The other finalist in the search, interim Chancellor Stephanie Gardner, will continue to lead the institution through the transition, according to a news release. She is also senior vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost at UAMS.

Patterson didn't return telephone calls Friday, but he responded to an email saying he wouldn't have any further comments until he is approved by the board of trustees.

Hinkel said Bobbitt was unavailable for comment Friday as well.

In the news release, Bobbitt said both finalists were strong candidates.

"In the end, Dr. Patterson's experience in leading a very complex clinical enterprise and his varied background in clinical care, research and administrative leadership elevated his candidacy," he said.

Weill-Cornell Medical Center has about 10,000 employees, Patterson wrote in his cover letter applying for the job. That means it's similar in size to UAMS, which is the state's largest public employer.

"I understand the challenges of managing complex organizations in a time of dynamic changes in biomedical technology and the health care marketplace," he wrote. "And given my leadership experience in top-tier health care systems in very different environments, I know at a deep and personal level what makes UAMS a premiere academic health sciences organization."

Gardner and Patterson were among six new applicants for the position since the system reopened the chancellor search in August. At the time, the system also had named two finalists, both of whom visited UAMS campuses in Little Rock and Fayetteville, interviewed with the faculty and the staff at UAMS, UA System administration and trustees -- and withdrew themselves from consideration.

Dr. Jeannette Shorey, who led a 17-member search committee appointed by Bobbitt, said the previous two finalists' home institutions valued them so much that they put together retention offers, which both accepted.

The group -- along with search firm Isaacson, Miller, which the University of Arkansas Foundation Inc. hired for a fixed fee of $180,000 -- went back to the original pool of candidates and revisited others who had looked at the opening earlier but decided it wasn't the right time for a move.

Two finalists rose to the top, Shorey said.

Patterson graduated summa cum laude from Vanderbilt University in 1985, then earned his medical degree from Emory University School of Medicine in 1989. Patterson also got a master's in business administration from the University of North Carolina in 2008.

He has served as senior vice president and chief operating officer at Weill-Cornell Medical Center since 2014. Patterson previously held numerous academic and clinical appointments at the University of North Carolina, including as physician in chief at UNC Center for Heart and Vascular Care and executive director of UNC McAllister Heart Institute.

Speaking at a open forum at UAMS on Dec. 13, Patterson said it was important to be a visible leader. He said it helps form trust.

"I like to think I am a visible leader," Patterson said. "I like to think all 10,000 of my employees recognize my face and know who I am and know a little bit about me."

Patterson said he's on Twitter, and 10 percent of his employees follow him on the website.

"When I'm on Twitter, I'm talking about my employees and the great work that they do," he said at the forum. "But I'm also sharing a little bit about myself. I think it's important that they know who I am, that they feel like they know me, because that's how you get to that trust, that sense that we can share about each other that allows us to know each other, that breaks down our barriers, and we can work better together that way."

The video can be viewed at uams.edu/chancellorsearch.

Besides talking about his employees, Patterson spends some of his time on Twitter and Facebook promoting his band, The Jake Brakes. Patterson plays guitar and sings for the band, which is based in Larchmont, N.Y.

On Nov. 10, Patterson tweeted:

"Reminding everyone that The Jake Brakes will get psychedelic at the Well in Williamsburg next Thursday night, November 16 at 7 p.m. Bring your granny glasses and tie dyed t-shirts!"

"Jake Brakes are involuntary bohemians who absorb protons and sip chai in repose," according to the band's Facebook page. "They mostly play instruments in basements but sometimes they do not."

A video on Patterson's Twitter page, and at http://bit.ly/2BD5hsY, shows The Jake Brakes performing a cover of Swamp Dogg's "Total Destruction to Your Mind" at Lovecraft, a New York City restaurant and bar. Patterson confirmed that he is seated in the video, playing guitar.

Other videos can be found at the band's YouTube channel: http://bit.ly/2zhjrKx.

Patterson's Facebook profile picture shows him in shades, holding a book with a painting of Bob Dylan on the cover. His Twitter site shows him holding Big Star's debut album. The Memphis band was led by Alex Chilton, who died in 2010.

Patterson is married to Dr. Kristine Patterson, who is a specialist in infectious diseases. They have three children.

Metro on 12/23/2017

Print Headline: NYC doctor favored to take UAMS helm

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