Being in charge of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is no low-pressure job; you’re also chief executive officer of the whole Johns Hopkins Medicine behemoth, a $6.5 billion health system that stretches way beyond Baltimore. For the past 15 years, Edward D. Miller has held that position; as of July 1, Paul Rothman will take over.
So who is Rothman, anyway? Well, aside from the mustache, Rothman is first and foremost a scientist. He started out studying cell-to-cell communication in the immune system in the 1980s; he went on to apply this research to further study of allergic diseases and cancer at Columbia University. “I saw young, talented people flock to his laboratory, publish and progress in their careers,” said Myron Weisfeldt, a member of the search committee who was also chair of medicine at Columbia when Rothman was there. Most recently, Rothman was dean of the University of Iowa, which he hadn’t expected to leave so quickly: “I really didn’t know that I was a finalist until less than a month ago,” Rothman told the Cedar Rapids Gazette. “It was very rapid.” The family plans to maintain a home in Iowa, where they have strong ties.
The search committee seemed to like Rothman because although he has a track record as an administrator, he’s quite experienced in both clinical and research medicine. He saw patients right up until he became dean at Iowa in 2008. But he is also “an outstanding basic scientist,” according to search committee member Carol Greider. One final fun fact: he apparently has a very strong New York accent.