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UC Davis Health System

UC Davis Health System

FEATURE | Posted April 2, 2014

Nesbitt stewards the health system during leadership transition

For Tom Nesbitt, the people at UC Davis are family

Tom Nesbitt and student Luis Godoy © UC Regents
Tom Nesbitt (left) and Luis Godoy (right), a UC Davis fourth-year medical student, enjoy a conversation.

For Tom Nesbitt, a graduate of the UC Davis School of Medicine, long-time family physician, educator, innovator and leader at UC Davis Health System, the people here are family .

“Over the past 25 years, I have witnessed tremendous change,” he said, “and always it is the talent and dedication of our faculty, staff and students that make this institution successful.”

“One of the health system’s greatest assets is the ability to come together as a team to both lead and adapt to change.”
— Tom Nesbitt

Nesbitt, associate vice chancellor for Strategic Technologies and Alliances, was named interim vice chancellor for Human Health Sciences and dean of the School of Medicine in 2013 as a search for a new vice chancellor and dean was launched. New leadership would draw on everyone’s ability to handle change — and Nesbitt knew they were ready.

“One of the health system’s greatest assets is the ability to come together as a team to both lead and adapt to change,” he said. “Now, we are evolving again to lead in developing new models of care that meet the changing needs of our community and world,” Nesbitt said. “Our talented team is helping to shape the future of health and health care.”

The vice chancellor/dean search committee, headed by UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi and Department of Surgery Chair Diana Farmer, reviewed hundreds of applications and interviewed candidates from throughout the nation. Four finalists made presentations at open forums on the Sacramento campus.

By September, the committee selected a new leader for the health system — Julie Freischlag, the William Stewart Halsted professor and department director and surgeon-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Freischlag was the first woman to hold the surgery-in-chief position at Johns Hopkins.

Julie Freischlag © UC Regents
Julie Freischlag

“Throughout her career, she has served as a role model for her students, a respected colleague within the medical community, and a proven leader in advancing excellence and promoting health and wellness,” Katehi said. “As we grow our mission of national recognition in areas like food and health, she was our unquestioned vision of someone who would take us to new heights.”

“I was so impressed with the people at UC Davis – clinicians, researchers, teachers, administrators, trainees and students – the energy was amazing, and I am excited to be able to become part of it.”
— Julie Freischlag

Freischlag came to Johns Hopkins in 2003, after serving as the chief of the vascular surgery division and director of the Gonda (Goldschmied) Vascular Center at the David Geffen Medical School at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she also completed her surgical residency and post-residency vascular fellowship.

“It is truly an honor and privilege to accept the position of vice chancellor for Human Health Sciences and dean of the School of Medicine at the UC Davis Health System,” Freischlag said upon her selection. “I was so impressed with the people at UC Davis — clinicians, researchers, teachers, administrators, trainees and students — the energy was amazing, and I am excited to be able to become part of it.”

Nesbitt returned to his role of associate vice chancellor for Strategic Technologies and Alliances upon Freischlag’s arrival in mid-February.