Donald B. Thomason, PhD, Named Dean of Graduate Health Sciences

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Steve J. Schwab, MD, chancellor of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), has announced the appointment of Donald B. Thomason, PhD, as the next dean for the UTHSC College of Graduate Health Sciences.

Steve J. Schwab, MD, chancellor of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), has announced the appointment of Donald B. Thomason, PhD, as the next dean for the UTHSC College of Graduate Health Sciences. Dr. Thomason, who is currently a professor in the Department of Physiology, has also served as the associate dean for Student Affairs in the college for the past five years. He will step into his new role as dean on June 1, assuming the deanship from Cheryl Scheid, PhD, who served in dual roles as vice chancellor for Academic, Faculty and Student Affairs for UTHSC and as dean of Graduate Health Sciences. Dr. Scheid steps down as dean to focus on her role as vice chancellor, which includes major responsibilities for upcoming reaccreditation.

“The students, faculty and staff in the college have been very fortunate to have Dr. Scheid’s leadership for the past four years,” said Dr. Thomason. “I look forward to continuing to build on the college’s reputation for excellence in research, teaching and service as we move into the college’s ninth decade.”

In his new role, which is a 50 percent-effort position, Dr. Thomason will be the chief administrative and fiscal officer for the college, providing leadership in working with deans from the other colleges and partner institutions, as well as in implementing innovative and effective recruitment and retention programs for graduate students. Working closely with research partners, such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the college grants master’s and doctoral degrees in multiple disciplines. Currently, approximately 350 students and 100 postdoctoral fellows are enrolled under the auspices of the College of Graduate Health Sciences.

“Having served in the college for many years, Dr. Thomason brings a wealth of insight and knowledge of its operation,” Chancellor Schwab said. “We know he will employ his accumulated knowledge and strong relationships with our students and research partners to move the College of Graduate Health Sciences to the next level.”

A native of Richland, Wash., Dr. Thomason obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and his doctorate at the University of California, Irvine. He came to UTHSC in 1990 following a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston. During his tenure at UTHSC, he has taught in the Colleges of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy and has served on various faculty committees for students in these colleges. One such position was as chair of the College of Graduate Health Sciences Curriculum Committee in which he designed and implemented database solutions to improve the efficiency of tracking student progress and managing the college’s extensive curriculum.

Dr. Thomason was one of three finalists identified by a seven-member faculty and student committee during an internal search process.