Stan Gerson named CWRU School of Medicine dean

Photo of Stan Gerson

President Eric W. Kaler and Provost Ben Vinson III announced today that they have named Stan Gerson as the medical school’s dean and the university’s senior vice president for medical affairs. His appointment begins Oct. 1.

“We are delighted that Stan will continue to provide the exceptional leadership that he has demonstrated as interim dean and senior vice president,” President Kaler said. “His contributions to the school and university over the past 14 months have far exceeded all expectations, and I look forward to working with him to help accelerate the progress already begun.”

Gerson, an exceptionally successful director of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center since 2004, initially hesitated to become the School of Medicine’s temporary leader. Yet once he assumed the role, he increasingly recognized “the incredible potential we have of linking our research, education, and community-focused efforts among our more than 3,500 faculty across four academic medical centers.”

In his role at the cancer center, Gerson has long engaged with physicians and researchers from University Hospitals and Cleveland Clinic—and, more recently, MetroHealth Medical Center. The interim dean role not only added contacts with the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center, but dramatically expanded opportunities to enhance the health of Northeast Ohio residents.

“I have viewed each day as a puzzle, with a new problem to engage, understand and solve,” Gerson said. “I try to listen more each day and use what I learn. It is gratifying to see this approach accepted, which in and of itself reinforces my own commitment to do good for the entire community.”

A Distinguished University Professor and medical school faculty member since 1983, Gerson opened his tenure as interim dean by launching the planning process for the school’s next five-year strategic plan. Completed last spring, the document establishes ambitious and measurable goals in education, research, community engagement, diversity, and scholarships.

Gerson’s term as interim dean also included a new affiliation agreement with University Hospitals and another with MetroHealth Medical Center. The medical school’s National Center for Regenerative Medicine—which Gerson leads—also added MetroHealth to its institutional membership. Along the way he also served as trusted advisor for the university’s efforts to respond to pandemic developments, providing invaluable insight regarding aspects of federal approval processes and also supporting the school’s establishment of an in-house COVID-19 test processing lab.

“As impressive as Stan’s achievements for the medical school have been,” Provost Vinson said, “he also has brought tremendous wisdom, perspective, and pragmatism to our university leadership discussions. I was grateful when he agreed to become interim dean, and am absolutely overjoyed that he is now assuming the role on a permanent basis.”

Gerson earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from Harvard University, then completed a residency and fellowship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Case Western Reserve’s first recruit to a new Division of Hematology Oncology, he went on to lead the Stem Cell Biology Center before assuming leadership of the cancer center. 

Under Gerson’s leadership, the cancer center has consistently emphasized strategic collaborations around strategic and newly emerging research areas. In 2018, the center earned the National Cancer Institute’s its highest possible rating, along with a $31.9 million grant to continue its lifesaving efforts. The NCI review cited in particular the center’s transdisciplinary collaborations, establishment of an Office of Cancer Disparities Research and exceptional service to the Northeast Ohio region. 

As interim dean, Gerson maintained his role as center director—albeit with increased sharing of leadership responsibilities across his team. Now that he is accepting the dean and senior vice president roles on a permanent basis, he will transition to an acting director role and work with the center’s leadership team to determine next steps.

“Continuity and momentum of our trajectory are absolutely essential,” Gerson said. “We will be in a good place to continue our collective efforts.”

Meanwhile, Gerson looks forward to working across the school to advance the goals of its strategic plan, engaging faculty at all four hospitals to strengthen research, education, culture and community, and making additional progress in diversity, equity and inclusive excellence.