Johnston to Step Down as Dean, VP for Medical Affairs
George Macones, M.D., will be interim dean of Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin starting Sept. 1, UT Austin President Jay Hartzell and Executive Vice President and Provost Designate Sharon Wood announced today. They named C. Martin Harris, M.D., interim vice president for medical affairs.
Clay Johnston, M.D., Ph.D., an internationally renowned neurologist who has led Dell Med since 2014, is stepping down, Hartzell announced July 8. Johnston was Dell Med’s inaugural dean and served the university as its first VP for medical affairs.
Harris has led UT Health Austin, the clinical practice of Dell Med, since 2017. In the VP role, which he assumes Aug. 1, he will report to Hartzell. Macones will report to Wood.
Both Harris and Macones have characterized their positions as “two sides of a single function,” noting that at Dell Med, the dean and vice president for medical affairs will work closely as a team.
In an email sent to members of the campus community, Hartzell and Wood called the separation of the roles “necessary and exciting.”
“The school will continue to be one of the most innovative and transformative medical schools in America, attracting incredible students and faculty members who are drawn to its unique position. Similarly, UT Health Austin, our clinical practice, which has grown fivefold since 2018, will continue to provide increasing amounts of world-class care to our community,” they wrote.
Macones, an accomplished reproductive epidemiologist and a nationally recognized expert in obstetrics, will continue as chair of Dell Med’s Department of Women’s Health, a title he has held since 2019. Previously, he was chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Likewise, Harris will continue as chief business officer at Dell Med. He came to Austin from Cleveland Clinic, where he was chief information officer and oversaw the strategic development of the organization’s integrated information technology infrastructure.
“I’m thankful to George and Martin for taking on these roles,” Johnston said. “They understand and support our mission, and I have a great deal of confidence in both of them.”
Johnston will play a key role in the transition, Hartzell noted. “Clay is a pioneer of health care transformation, leading Dell Med from being a startup to a standout. During the interim, he will continue to focus on transformation efforts, pushing the boundaries of how we think about health, not just health care, at Dell Med.”
UT Austin will elect faculty members to form the basis for a search committee that advises university leadership in the search for a permanent dean, a standard practice. A second search committee focused on the VP for medical affairs role will be chaired by Charles Fraser Jr., M.D., Dell Med’s chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery in the Department of Surgery and Perioperative Care, and Amy Shaw Thomas, senior vice chancellor for health affairs with The University of Texas System.