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Richard Sperry Selected to Hold Prestigious Matheson Health-Care Chair

June 28, 2002 — Richard J. Sperry, M.D., Ph.D., associate vice president for health sciences at the University of Utah, has been named to the Governor Scott M. Matheson Chair in Health Care and Health Management.

Sperry, who also is professor of anesthesiology at the U of U medical school and associate medical school dean for academic affairs, will continue in these positions. His term as holder of the Matheson chair, one of the few interdisciplinary professorships in the country, will begin July 1.

The chair is named in honor of the late Utah governor, who helped establish improved health policy for Utah and the nation. It was established by the California-based Archstone Foundation, formerly known as the FHP Foundation.

“Dr. Sperry’s selection as holder of the Matheson chair is a high and well-deserved honor. His leadership and experience directing academic administration for the health sciences center will advance the important mission of the
Matheson Center for Health Care Studies,” said A. Lorris Betz, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president for health sciences and dean of the medical school.

As the Governor Scott M. Matheson Professor of Health Care Studies, Sperry will direct the Matheson Center, which integrates education and research projects with the health-care community. The center’s program involves students working toward their master’s degrees in such areas as business and public administration, social work, health education, nursing, pharmacy and economics. Sperry also will direct the Health Services Administration program, an interdisciplinary master’s-level program affiliated with 10 University departments.

Commenting on the appointment, David W. Pershing, Ph.D., U of U senior vice president for academic affairs and distinguished professor of chemical engineering, said “I am very excited about the diversity of experience that Richard brings to this new role, and I am looking forward to working with him.”

Sperry joined the U medical school faculty in 1987 and served as chief of the neuroanesthesia division until 1996. From 1994-96, he was assistant dean for continuing medical education and, in 1996, he was named to assist with development of a statewide graduate medical education consortium and a study on the cost of medical education.

In 1995 he was awarded an American Council on Education Fellowship and served a yearlong administrative internship in the U Office of the President.

Sperry is a past president of the Utah Medical Association and was a member of the board of trustees of the Utah Hospital Association. As a member of the U of U faculty, he has written more than 100 professional publications, including two textbooks on neurosurgical anesthesiology.

A U alumnus, Sperry received bachelor’s degrees, magna cum laude in both economics and chemistry, in 1979. He earned his medical degree in 1983, a master’s degree in economics in 1994 and a doctorate in higher education administration-economic modeling/academic medicine in 1995. He completed a residency and neuroanesthesia fellowship at the University of Virginia.

The search committee to select the chair holder to succeed Robert P. Huefner, D.B.A., professor of political science, was headed by Chase N. Peterson, M.D., U of U president emeritus and a former vice president for health

“The appointment of Richard Sperry bodes well for the future of the center,” Peterson, professor of family and preventive medicine, said. “Dr. Sperry is unusually experienced in a wide variety of medical endeavors, from practice and association leadership to an intimate knowledge of how medicine works in both the academic and community setting. The University is fortunate.”