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Archive for Friday, March 9, 2007

Highly regarded researcher leaving KU

Law school dean’s husband to replace outgoing doctor

March 9, 2007

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A star doctor who has helped bring millions of dollars worth of grants to Kansas University's School of Medicine is leaving.

Curt Hagedorn, director of the division of gastroenterology and hepatology within KU's department of internal medicine, will leave at the end of the academic year for an endowed professorship at the University of Utah.

Professor Naurang Agrawal will serve as interim director of the division, the staff was told. He is the husband of Gail Agrawal, dean of the KU School of Law.

Hagedorn's departure comes amid a highly public conflict between KU Medical Center and its affiliated hospital, KU Hospital, about a plan to start sending some of the school's academic programs to St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, Mo.

Hagedorn, 56, said he doesn't want it to appear that "one side or the other" - either the hospital or the medical school - "did something that has precipitated my leaving. That is not the case.

"I've been offered an incredible job at the University of Utah, and it's something that I just can't turn down," he said. "If I had not had support here for my research program and some of the other things that we've done, folks there would have never been looking at me to take this job. : This is a pull, not a push."

Hagedorn said the departure of Sue Pingleton, chairwoman of the internal medicine department, played a small role - about 5 percent - in his decision to accept the Utah job. Pingleton recruited him to KU from Emory University in Atlanta about three years ago.

He said the hospital negotiations factored into his decision "less than 10 percent."

"The faculty (at KU) are very interested in going about their work and getting help to be the very best that they can be," he said. "The length of these discussions are what I think concerns some people, that it's taken so long."

Still, KU Hospital President CEO Irene Cumming on Thursday called Hagedorn's departure "a very significant loss."

"He was really an outstanding researcher with a lot of grants, and he wasn't being supported adequately," she said.

Hagedorn studies the genetics of diseases, including cancer and hepatitis C, but has remained active in treating patients.

"Patients are referred to him for hepatitis care from around the region and country," Pingleton wrote to medical staff in an e-mail sent Wednesday night.

He has played a role in landing a $10 million grant from the National Institutes of Health and a $6 million grant for a clinical research center, both of which he said will remain at KU.

"Through his excellent recruitment, he has doubled the physician component of the GI division, physician capacity that has been sorely needed," Pingleton wrote.

Hagedorn said he anticipated that some members of his research team would go to Utah with him when he leaves at the end of the academic year, but he didn't have a dollar estimate on how much in grant funding he would take with him.

Comments

Richard Wade 7 years, 9 months ago

Who is Irene Cumming to say the Med School didn't support Dr. Hagedorn when the doctor himself makes comments otherwise? Or was it the hospital that didn't provide the support under her leadership?

Richard Boyd 7 years, 8 months ago

WAAA WHAA

"KU Hospital President CEO Irene Cumming on Thursday called Hagedorn's departure "a very significant loss."

"He was really an outstanding researcher with a lot of grants, and he wasn't being supported adequately," she said.

Support with what Irene? The KU hospital has treated the medical school like a "red headed stepchild" for the last several years.

One must face realities... Irene, you lost this one, now that you have announced your departure, anything you say will be perceived (rightly so) as sour grapes. I would have thought that to get where you are you surely would have been able to size up people you encounter, you clearly underestimated Dr Barbara Atkinson or Dr Robert Hemenway...

An open message to all the others, who for whatever reason, have evolved to regard yourselves irreplaceable:

If you are not interested in the growth of the School, that is to say working as a team and pulling on the same rope (the main reason for the founding of the hospital to begin with), you too might consider a similar career change.

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