The School of Medicine recently named Michael E. Black as associate dean and associate vice chancellor for administration and finance, and Philip Needleman, Ph.D., as associate dean for special research projects.
Larry J. Shapiro, M.D., executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the medical school, announced the appointments. Needleman’s appointment is effective immediately, and Black will join the University Feb. 1.
“Michael Black has a proven track record of developing and implementing programs that have significantly enhanced financial operations and customer service while reducing costs and maintaining vital working relationships between medical schools and the community,” Shapiro said. “We are thrilled he has chosen to come to Washington University and know he will help advance the mission and goals of the School of Medicine and Washington University Physicians.”
Shapiro added, “Phil Needleman is assuredly one of the most accomplished and experienced basic and translational researchers in the nation, and it is a great benefit to the School of Medicine that he has accepted the challenge of returning here to provide critical leadership for the BioMed 21 initiatives recently announced.”
Before accepting the University position, Black was the vice dean for administration and finance at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Black — who has more than 34 years of experience in financial leadership — redesigned the organizational structure and business processes within the medical school, which resulted in drastic improvements in productivity, effectiveness, efficiency and communication.
While at the University of Pennsylvania, Black reduced expenditures and dramatically improved the medical school’s infrastructure while increasing support for faculty.
Research funding from the National Institutes of Health also grew substantially during his term there. He directed more than 400 employees in planning, finance, information systems and other administrative functions, along with managing a $600 million operating budget. He also spearheaded strategic planning projects to accommodate growth in education as well as research programs.
At the Washington University School of Medicine, Black will be responsible for coordinating the financial, administrative and capital activities of the medical school. He will manage the non-academic operations of the School of Medicine and will oversee all short- and long-term financial planning as well as ongoing management of physical facilities and related operations.
He will work closely with James Crane, M.D., associate dean, associate vice chancellor and chief executive of Washington University Physicians, in financial management of the 900-physician multispecialty group.
Black earned a master of business administration degree from Golden Gate University in San Francisco in 1973, and he earned a bachelor’s degree from California State University at Fullerton in 1969.
Earlier in his career, he served as the vice dean of the School of Medicine at Creighton University and as the executive director of Creighton Medical Associates, the university’s multispecialty practice.
He also served in the Health Care Administration of the U.S. Air Force for 20 years as chief executive officer, chief operating officer and chief financial officer.
Needleman first came to the Washington University School of Medicine as a postdoctoral fellow in 1964. He rose to chair the Department of Pharmacology from 1976-1989.
He left the medical school in 1989 and through a series of promotions became senior executive vice president, chief scientific officer and chairman of research and development at Pharmacia Corp. (formerly Monsanto/Searle), a position he held until 2003.
An expert in prostaglandin regulation, Needleman and his colleagues in the School of Medicine made key discoveries about the roles of the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. Moving to Monsanto, Needleman led the development of the arthritis medication Celebrex, which is based on COX-2’s unique characteristics.
Needleman therefore oversaw the complete path, from basic research to translational research and product development, for a drug now used by more than 20 million arthritis sufferers.
Throughout his tenure with Monsanto/Searle and Pharmacia, he maintained close ties to the University by serving on the medical school’s national council, the University’s Board of Trustees and the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Board.
In his new role at the School of Medicine, Needleman will work closely with Shapiro, the heads of the medical school’s 19 basic science and clinical departments and with Hilltop Campus scientists on new projects related to BioMed 21, a University-wide research and training initiative aimed at bringing new knowledge of the human genetic blueprint to the patient’s bedside through the strategic pursuit of novel medical therapies.
“The tenets of our BioMed 21 initiative dovetail with NIH’s new strategic ‘Roadmap’ plan for federally funded interdisciplinary and translational research,” Shapiro said. “Phil Needleman’s familiarity with our institution and NIH, and his personal and professional success in overseeing a project from basic research all the way to the marketplace, make him a great resource for us as we look for opportunities to launch multidisciplinary BioMed 21 research efforts that are suitable for support from NIH and other funding agencies.”
Needleman and his wife, Sima, recently established the Philip and Sima K. Needleman Professorship to support a faculty member who will hold a key leadership position within BioMed 21’s new Clinical Sciences Division.
A member of the National Academy of Sciences since 1987 and its Institute of Medicine since 1993, Needleman earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in pharmacology from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, and he earned a doctorate in pharmacology from the University of Maryland Medical School.