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Karen Kim Named Dean Of Penn State College Of Medicine

Penn State’s College of Medicine will have new leadership as Karen Kim, vice provost for research at the University of Chicago, will take the reins as dean beginning September 1.

Kim will succeed Kevin Black who has been acting in an interim capacity since Craig Hillemeier’s retirement in February 2019.

“Penn State has an excellent track record as a leader in interdisciplinary research and I want the college to continue to build partnerships and add to those collaborative successes,” Kim said in a release.

Kim is the first woman to hold the position as dean of the college and is the only Korean American dean of a medical college in the nation.

“I have spent my professional career in Chicago, but even as an observer in the Midwest it has always been plain to see that the love people have for Penn State is palpable, and that its reputation as a leading public research university is outstanding. To have the opportunity to be a part of that is amazing – I am excited to join my colleagues in the college to build on their success and further Penn State’s impact across Pennsylvania and beyond, including among underserved rural and underrepresented populations,” she continued.

In her new role, Kim will serve as director of the Penn State Health board and as a member of its finance committee. In addition, she will also serve as the physician-in-chief of Hershey Medical Center. Her responsibilities will include appointing department chairs and other leaders of clinical programs at the medical center, participating in budget and strategic plan development, and supporting physician staffing, among others.

Kim earned her doctor of medicine degree from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine with honors and holds a master’s degree in neurobiology and physiology from Northwestern University. She received her undergraduate degree in biology from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.

“The college’s educational and research excellence are part of what attracted me to Penn State, and Dr. Kim is the ideal person to lead continued growth, with a focus on interdisciplinary research, community outreach and impact, and service to underserved populations across Pennsylvania, the U.S. and internationally,” President Neeli Bendapudi said of Kim. “At a time when there is a growing need for qualified physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals in Pennsylvania and nationally, the educational and research missions of the college have never been more vital.” 

At the University of Chicago, Kim serves as the Sara and Harold Lincoln Thompson Professor of Medicine. As a nationally recognized leader in Asian health issues, Kim brings more than 25 years of expertise in research, clinical, and educational work.

A cornerstone of her professional work has been her role as executive director of the University of Chicago Center for Asian Health Equity. There, she helped establish a center to provide a resource to historically underserved communities in medicine, including addressing challenges with research and disparities in medical care.

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About the Author

Luke Pieczynski

Luke is a sophomore DUS premajor hailing from Pittsburgh, PA, and is one of Onward State's social media editors. He can often be found in the Starbucks line waiting for a nitro cold brew, or listening to one of Dua Lipa's latest releases. He's a fiercely loyal Sheetz Freak and will not settle for another Pennsylvania gas station. Please send your best political thriller to him on Twitter @lukepie11 or to his email [email protected].

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