Harvard Medical School names health policy expert Barbara McNeil acting dean

McNeil, a professor in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, founded Harvard’s healthcare policy department in 1988.
Harvard Barbara McNeil

Barbara J. McNeil, professor of healthcare policy and also of radiology at Harvard Medical School will serve as acting dean of the Faculty of Medicine, beginning Aug. 1.

McNeil has been a member of the HMS faculty since 1983 and founding chair of the HMS department of healthcare policy since 1988. She will assume the post once Dean Jeffrey S. Flier steps down on July 31.

President Drew Faust and Provost Alan Garber announced the move, according to an article published June 21 in the Harvard Gazette, the news outlet for Harvard University.

She is not new to the role. McNeil also was acting dean in the summer of 2007.

“Barbara is one of Harvard Medical School’s most able and experienced leaders, scholars, educators, and institutional citizens,” Faust and Garber said in a statement.

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Starting in 1974, McNeil moved through the HMS faculty ranks as an instructor, assistant professor, and then associate professor of radiology before being named full professor in 1983, with appointments in radiology and clinical epidemiology.

In 1987 she was also named a professor in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. Her interest in the quality and costs of patient care led in 1988 to the founding of HMS’ department of health care policy, which she has chaired since, according to the Harvard Gazette.

McNeil earned her medical degree from Harvard Medical School. She did her internship in pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital, received her Ph.D. in biological chemistry from Harvard, and did her residency in radiology at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Faust and Garber said the search for a new full-time dean is progressing well.

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