Peter Buttrick, MD, believes leadership is about helping everyone succeed. This was how he approached his position as head of the Division of Cardiology. And it’s with this mindset that he will approach the role of Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.
“There are different models of leadership. The most appealing to me is the model which enables people to be most successful—facilitating their continued success and not hindering it,” he said.
In this role, Dr. Buttrick is responsible for research development and space and facilities. He will also oversee the Medical Scientist Training Program and the Office of Professionalism and will serve as a senior member of the Dean’s leadership team.
Dr. Buttrick says he’s flattered to be asked to take on the position, and he’s excited to have some influence on the direction the medical school takes going forward.
“It’s an interesting time,” he said. “The landscape of clinical care is changing. Education, funding—it’s all shifting—and it’s great to be in a position to watch and advise.”
One of his priorities will be focusing on research, including working closely with faculty on the direction of research at the School of Medicine.
“We’re in an era of limited research support and an era where the missions of academic medical centers are evolving,” he said, adding that “academic medical centers aren’t typically known for their agility.” Dr. Buttrick believes how the School of Medicine responds and anticipates these external stresses is becoming increasingly important.
“On the funding front, it’s very clear that institutions like ours need to diversify research portfolios and think in a more entrepreneurial fashion. We do a lot of things really well. At the end of the day, we want to do these things even better.”
As head of Cardiology, Dr. Buttrick had the opportunity to interact with a lot of key stakeholders on campus—in clinic, research and administration. It’s given him a good sense of the school’s depth and breadth.
“I have enormous respect for our faculty’s accomplishments,” he said. “I can honestly say that I’m in awe of our faculty.”
Dr. Buttrick wants faculty to know that his door is always open. “The Dean’s office is working on your behalf,” he said. “I won’t be able to do everything, but faculty will get fair and unbiased treatment when issues arise.”
He adds, “I’m a pretty good listener. It’s part of my job description.”
Of course, Dr. Buttrick also acknowledges the person in the role before him. “Chip Ridgeway was an extraordinary human being and it’s humbling to have his job,” he said. “I keep in mind that it’s his legacy I’m part of—it’s a great honor.”