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USF names new medical school director

The former dean of medicine at the University of Nevada in Reno will start right away.

The University of South Florida announced Thursday that the longtime leader of a Nevada medical school will become the new vice president of health sciences at USF.

Dr. Robert M. Daugherty, who was dean of medicine at the University of Nevada in Reno for 18 years, will oversee USF's colleges of nursing, public health and medicine. He also will serve as dean of the medical school, which has nearly 400 students and 477 graduate residents.

Daugherty replaces Dr. Martin Silbiger, who retires today after five years as vice president and dean. Daugherty starts right away.

This is the first major appointment for USF President Judy Genshaft, who took office in July. She said she learned in June that Silbiger planned to leave, so she needed to find someone fairly quickly, and Daugherty fit the school's needs.

"He's an old pro at this. He's very fair-minded, very well-respected," Genshaft said Thursday. "He knows about hospitals, he knows about teaching, and he knows about accreditation."

She said Daugherty, 66, likely will serve only one or two years. The school will conduct a national search to replace him.

Between meetings Thursday, Daugherty said he accepted Genshaft's overtures because he found he missed being the dean after he quit in 1999.

Daugherty is co-chairman of the group that accredits medical schools, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, which consists of representatives of the American Medical Association and the Association of American Medical Colleges.

His knowledge of the medical education system could prove helpful to USF, which has gotten excellent marks from the accrediting committee but also has had residency programs put on probation or lose accreditation because of leadership troubles.

Daugherty served as Nevada's medical school dean from 1981 to 1999, when he stepped down amid complaints about his management style by some members of the faculty and some members the school's Board of Regents.

But Daugherty also is credited with bringing Nevada's medical school from obscurity to national prominence.

USF spokesman Michael Hoad noted the average tenure for a medical school dean is three to five years, and Daugherty lasted nearly four times that.

"All medical schools have dust-ups," Hoad said. "His national reputation is enormous. You could argue that he's one of the critical people in the country on medical education."

At one point in 1998, Nevada's School of Medicine was running a deficit of $845,000, which prompted some increased state oversight. At the time, officials attributed the shortfall to a new, $1-million bill collection system that didn't work and to delays in getting new teaching doctors licensed to practice so they could start generating revenues, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Two years before, the school's internal medicine department _ a key department in any school _ had threatened to quit because of doctors' troubles with Daugherty, the newspaper reported.

"I think that anybody who is CEO at an organization for more than a week is going to have individuals who disagree," said Daugherty, an internist.

"There's no question but there was some faculty that were disgruntled, or disagreed with some of the things that we did. Certainly from my standpoint, that's to be expected."

At USF, Daugherty will make approximately $350,000, about $20,000 less than Silbiger, although the final salary hasn't yet been settled, Hoad said.

_ Times researcher Kitty Bennett and staff writer Barry Klein contributed to this report.