NEWS | July 22, 2019

Two new deans start on same day, strive for same goal

Allison Brashear and Stephen Cavanagh started their new jobs Monday

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UC Davis Health CEO David Lubarsky introduced the new deans for the School of Medicine and the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis at a reception in the Education Building this morning, their first day on the job, and noted that their presence brings “a real forward-looking momentum” to the university.

Stephen Cavanagh, dean of the School of Nursing; and Allison Brashear, dean of the School of Medicine, pledged to work together in the interest of patients.

New School of Nursing Dean Stephen Cavanagh.

“The most fascinating thing about UC Davis really has been the warm welcome, the enthusiasm, the genial care for patients, and moving education forward,” said Cavanagh, who described himself as a “great believer in interprofessional education” and “cross-campus research.”

Brashear said it was fitting to start on the same day as Cavanagh because of their common interests. “I’m incredibly excited to be working with him, his background, in team-based patient care, and to work side-by-side with the nursing school,” she said.

The new deans spoke from a podium during a well-attended breakfast reception in the third-floor breezeway, their first event of a whirlwind day that also included lunch with Staff Assembly members, private meetings, and obtaining their employee identification badges.

Cavanagh, an expert in developing the health care workforce and educating new generations of clinicians and scholars, was previously the dean at the College of Nursing at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

New School of Medicine Dean Allison Brashear.

Brashear, who is described by former colleagues as a “change agent,” and an expert in neurological disorders, was the chair of the neurology department at Wake Forest School of Medicine, in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Cavanagh and Brashear came to UC Davis following a nationwide search and fill positions that were led by interim deans for months. Lubarsky thanked Debbie Ward for overseeing the School of Nursing and Lars Berglund for shepherding the School of Medicine.

“There are few things that are more important for a school than a change of the dean,” Lubarsky said, “and that’s when you bring in fresh blood, fresh life, fresh ideas.”

Lubarsky said there’s a reason why both deans started on the same day:

“This is one health campus, with its hospital, clinics and two schools,” he said. “Together, they are infinitely stronger than any one part.”

Team-based care, Lubarsky added, has to start on the first day of medical and nursing school, “where students learn to respect and work with each other, across many different types of caregivers and then bring that teamwork into the clinical realm, and patients do better when there’s a broad spectrum of caregivers taking care of people’s health problems.”

After attending new employee orientation, the new deans held separate lunches, each with a half dozen leaders from the UC Davis Health Staff Assembly, a group that strives to strengthen ties between the Davis and Sacramento campuses.