MACON — Mercer University President William D. Underwood has announced the appointment of Dr. Hewitt W. (Ted) Matthews to the position of senior vice president for health sciences, effective July 1. Dr. Matthews will continue to serve as dean of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.
The appointment coincides with the establishment of an academic health center at Mercer that will be composed of the School of Medicine, the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing. The Mercer Board of Trustees on April 20 approved formation of the Mercer Health Sciences Center, which will become operational July 1, and establishment of the College of Health Professions, which will become Mercer’s 12th academic unit on July 1, 2013.
The new College of Health Professions will incorporate the master’s-level physician assistant and the doctoral-level physical therapy programs, which currently are housed within the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and the master’s-level public health program, which is currently offered in the School of Medicine. The new college will also allow for the addition of future health sciences programs, such as occupational therapy, as well as expansion of existing programs on multiple Mercer campuses.
“Throughout his long tenure with the University, Ted Matthews has provided extraordinary and visionary leadership for our pharmacy and health sciences programs,” Underwood said. “His passion for excellence in teaching and research, his skill in the area of strategic planning, and the respect and recognition he has earned from his peers across the nation make him well suited to lead the Mercer University Health Sciences Center. I am grateful for his willingness to assume this additional responsibility.”
“Establishment of the Mercer Health Sciences Center will enable the University to expand and enhance clinical education opportunities with health systems across the state, align the academic units to increase collaboration on basic, clinical, and translational research, as well as educational programs, and attract additional external research funding,” Dr. Matthews said. “It will also allow the University to bring new health sciences programs to communities it serves across the state and provide benefits to undergraduate health sciences programs in Macon, such as biomedical engineering, global health and pre-professional programs.”
“The Mercer Health Sciences Center will provide a needed focus for development of interprofessional education in our medical school and health profession colleges,” said Dr. William F. Bina III, dean of the Mercer School of Medicine. “I look forward to greater collaboration among our University investigators in the areas of cancer, cardiovascular disease, nutrition and effective community health programs.”
“With the establishment of an academic health center, Mercer is uniquely poised to incorporate learning experiences among health professions students across disciplines to build strong clinical and research teams aimed at improving health outcomes,” said Dr. Linda A. Streit, dean of Mercer’s Georgia Baptist College of Nursing. “Through the development of this center, the transformation of health professions education enables nursing students to engage in dedicated interactive learning as a routine part of their education. The health center Deans are dedicated towards building a safer and better patient-centered health care system, and this effort begins with the education of future health professionals.”
Dr. Matthews began his association with Mercer as a student. After earning a degree in chemistry from Clark Atlanta University in 1966, he enrolled in Mercer’s Southern School of Pharmacy, graduating in 1968 with a bachelor of science in pharmacy degree. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in pharmaceutical biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he was a National Institutes of Health Pre-Doctoral Fellow and a Fellow of the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education. He completed postdoctoral work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the hospital infectious disease program.
He joined the faculty of Mercer’s School of Pharmacy in 1973. His commitment to teaching excellence earned him the Outstanding Teacher Award, and he was named the Hood-Meyer Alumni Professor in 1982. Prior to becoming dean, he held a number of administrative as well as faculty positions, including associate dean for the School of Pharmacy and assistant provost of the University. He was named dean of the School of Pharmacy in 1990 and vice president for the health sciences in 2004.
Under Dr. Matthews’ deanship, the School of Pharmacy moved from its downtown Atlanta location to new facilities on Mercer’s 300-acre Cecil B. Day Campus in Atlanta, awarded its first Ph.D. degree, made clinical research a major initiative, and has enhanced its reputation on a national level.
He is a recipient of the Dean’s Award from the American College of Apothecaries for outstanding service to community pharmacy practice and the V. Carlton Henderson Award from Mercer’s Pharmacy Alumni Association in recognition of outstanding personal and professional achievements that have added distinction to the practice of pharmacy in Georgia. Dr. Matthews also has received the Wendell T. Hill Award from the Association of Black Health-Systems Pharmacists, and the Chaucey I. Cooper Award from the National Pharmaceutical Association, both of which are the highest honors given by the associations. In March, Dr. Matthews was presented with the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists’ Outstanding Dean Award.
About Mercer University
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls more than 8,300 students in 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies – on major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah and at four regional academic centers across the state. Mercer is affiliated with four teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and The Medical Center and St. Francis Hospital in Columbus — and has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. The University operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. www.mercer.edu