Rubenstein named EVP and dean

The new executive vice president for the Health System and dean of the School of Medicine is an accomplished medical researcher and administrator. But Arthur H. Rubenstein, M.D., is still a teacher at heart.

“It’s in my bones and blood,” he said at a July 31 news conference. “I hope to teach in any way I can” while running the system.

Rubenstein, 63, was named to the dual posts July 30.

The announcement was enthusiastically received by his new colleagues. “He’s one of the giants of internal medicine,” said Stanley Goldfarb, interim chair of the Department of Medicine. “He’s been the head of every society of internal medicine that one can belong to. He’s an outstanding researcher and educator and he has a reputation as a very kind, thoughtful and sensitive human being.”

Rubenstein takes the reins of an academic medical center that is on the mend after several years of heavy losses. He praised the Health System’s turnaround under Chief Executive Officer Robert Martin while noting that academic medical centers still face fiscal pressures. “The turnaround is truly amazing — it has made [the Health System] very strong. But all of our places are fragile.”

Nonetheless, Rubenstein said, academic medical centers still need to serve all regardless of income. “Taking care of the poor is the right thing to do.”

Rubenstein had been dean of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine for the past four years. There, he gained a reputation for recruiting top-flight faculty and significantly increasing the flow of federal research funds to the school. Prior to Mt. Sinai, he had been on the faculty of the University of Chicago for 30 years and chaired its department of medicine from 1981 to 1997.

With Rubenstein’s appointment, the posts of Health System EVP and Medical School dean are once again filled by the same person, as they were under William Kelley. Rubenstein noted that Penn was a pioneer in this approach and approved of it. “It allows the clinical mission to be aligned with the educational mission,” he said.

He has authored more than 350 publications and served in an editorial capacity for numerous medical journals.

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Originally published on August 30, 2001