By Misha Cornelius,
Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA announced the appointment of Andrea A. Hayes Dixon, M.D., FACS, FAAP as the Howard University College of Medicine dean. With the appointment, effective Oct. 3, Hayes Dixon became the first Black woman to serve as dean of The Howard University College of Medicine. She will succeed Hugh Mighty, MD, MBA, FACOG, who served as dean of the College of Medicine since 2015. With Hayes Dixon’s appointment, the number of women serving as academic deans at Howard University increases to 11.
“I am overjoyed to have the honor of announcing that for the first time in the college’s 154-year history, a Black woman will serve as the dean of the Howard University College of Medicine,” said Frederick. “If you look at the data on women’s leadership in medicine, it shows there is still much progress to be made. With the appointment of Dr. Hayes Dixon, Howard University not only gains an incredible leader but we move the University and the field of medicine forward.”
According to 2021 data by the Association of American Medical Colleges, only 22 percent of medical school deans in the nation are women. With the distinction of becoming dean, Hayes Dixon adds to an already extensive list of groundbreaking accomplishments. In 2004, Hayes Dixon became the first African-American woman in the nation to become a board-certified pediatric surgeon. In 2006, she became the first surgeon in the world to perform a high-risk life-saving procedure in teens with rare forms of abdominal cancer. Just last year, she became the first woman chair of the Department of Surgery at Howard University.
“I am truly honored and humbled to lead the outstanding Howard University College of Medicine,” said Hayes Dixon. “The responsibility of educating the nation’s next generation of leaders in medicine is an enormous responsibility that I take very seriously. I am excited to engender allies and friends to join me in the journey of moving Howard forward.”
As dean of the College of Medicine, reporting to Anthony K. Wutoh, Ph.D., R.Ph., provost and chief academic officer, Hayes Dixon will oversee all aspects of academic and administrative affairs for the College of Medicine. Prior to joining Howard University, Hayes Dixon served as the surgeon-in-chief and division chief of pediatric surgery at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Children’s Hospital, where she also served as a professor of pediatric surgery and surgical oncology. Hayes Dixon leads a basic science laboratory, which focuses on rare sarcomas and maintains clinical research efforts. She specializes in refractory and resistant tumors in children, specifically soft tissue sarcomas in children. Patients from around the world request her services because of the rare diseases she investigates. She previously served as the section chief of pediatric surgery at the University of Texas (UT) MD Anderson Cancer Center.
“This is an exciting moment in the history of the College of Medicine as we look forward to the continued rise of the University in training the next generation of medical leaders and providers,” said Mighty, senior vice president for health affairs. “Dr. Hayes will bring new experiences and vision to the mission of our historic College of Medicine.”
A native of Los Angeles Hayes Dixon earned a bachelor’s degree in religion from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. She then earned a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College. She completed a residency program at the University of California Davis-East Bay, under the tutelage of Claude Organ Jr., M.D. She also completed a molecular biology fellowship at the University of California – San Francisco. Hayes Dixon then completed a pediatric surgical oncology fellowship at the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, and a pediatric surgery fellowship at the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children. She also participated in a special fellowship in melanoma and sarcoma at the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center.
President Frederick also thanked Mighty for his stewardship of the College of Medicine since 2015. Under Dean Mighty’s leadership, the College of Medicine received full re-accreditation, increased the number of graduates continuing to highly acclaimed residency programs, and led the University’s collaborative partnership with Adventist Healthcare. As dean, Mighty led Howard University’s COVID-19 response, established a testing clinic and a vaccine clinic, and provided services to the Howard University community and District of Columbia residents. Mighty will maintain his role as senior vice president for health affairs, where he will continue to lead clinical partnerships and collaborations, strengthen the University’s partnership with Adventist Healthcare and advise the University on various clinical matters.
This article was originally written by Howard University on Sept. 22.
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