Wayne State University names Dr. Valerie Parisi interim dean of its School of Medicine

July 29, 2009

 Dr. Valerie Parisi

Wayne State University President Jay Noren announced today that he has appointed Valerie Parisi, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., interim dean of the university's School of Medicine for a three-year term.

"We are extremely fortunate to have someone of such excellent credentials to lead the School of Medicine," Noren said. "I have every confidence that Dr. Parisi will maintain our quality programs for training medical students, conducting world-class medical research, and providing the highest quality health care to those we serve in the Detroit metropolitan area and far beyond.

"I have had the privilege of working with Dr. Parisi for more than a year, and I am delighted that she has accepted this position," the president added. "She has rich and varied experience as an educator, a clinical practitioner and a scientist, and she is a proven leader in medical education and administration. I am confident that Dr. Parisi's talent and vision will galvanize our medical school community and strengthen the School of Medicine's outstanding reputation."

Dr. Parisi, the School of Medicine's first female dean, has been vice dean of Hospital Relations & Clinical Affairs since July 2007. She replaces former dean Robert M. Mentzer Jr., M.D., who recently resigned his position.

"I'm very proud to be entrusted with this role," Dr. Parisi said. "The Wayne State University School of Medicine produces some of the world's finest physicians and researchers. I intend to work very diligently not only to maintain the school's reputation, but to enhance it."

As vice dean of Hospital Relations & Clinical Affairs for the School of Medicine, Dr. Parisi was instrumental in establishing the Family Medicine residency program with Crittenton Hospital, where she is a member of the board of trustees. In addition, she worked diligently to cement a partnership with Oakwood Healthcare Inc., home to residency programs in Dermatology, Urology, Orthopedics, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Otolaryngology. Her activities in developing relationships with health partner affiliates, including the Karmanos Cancer Center, will continue to be an asset to the school. She has been intimately involved in the progress of negotiations regarding residency programs and clinical services at the Detroit Medical Center.

At age 16, Dr. Parisi entered the first seven-year medical degree class offered at Brown University, and received her M.D. in 1975. Her broad academic background is enhanced by an M.P.H. in Maternal and Child Health from the University of California-Berkeley School of Public Health, and an M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler School of Business, where she was inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, the National Business Honor Society. She completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Women and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island and fellowship training in Maternal and Fetal Medicine at the University of Wisconsin Center for Health Sciences.

She began her academic career by serving 10 years as director of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston, Texas, where she also was director of the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship Program. Her study of eicosanoid regulation of fetal placental circulation was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She was Robert A. Ross Professor as well as chair of the University of North Carolina Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology from 1997 to 2004, where she took the department from 65th to 13th in NIH research funding. Prior to that, Dr. Parisi was chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at SUNY Stony Brook from 1994 to 1997.

She previously was dean of medicine, chief academic officer and vice president for academic program administration at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. In her tenure there, she also held the Thomas N. and Gleaves James Distinguished Chair, was advisor to the president, and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology. She was the first woman medical school dean in Texas.

Dr. Parisi was elected president of the Society for Perinatal Obstetricians (now the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine) in 1995 after serving six years on its board of directors.

She was director of the Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine for the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology from 1996 to 2002, and director of the board of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists from 1998 to 2008. She serves on the Liaison Committee for Medical Education, which accredits medical schools, and was recently elected secretary-treasurer of the American Board of Medical Specialties. As part of her work mentoring women in their medical careers, she has spoken at the Association of American Medical College's Mid-Career Women Faculty Professional Development seminar for three consecutive years. She was appointed to the Karmanos Cancer Center's Board of Directors earlier this year.

Wayne State University is a premier urban research university offering more than 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to more than 31,000 students.