Christy Harris Lemak, Ph.D., has been named chair of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Health Services Administration. Lemak comes to UAB from the University of Michigan, where she serves as director of the Griffith Leadership Center in Health Management and Policy. She is also chief academic officer of the National Center for Healthcare Leadership.
Lemak, a leader in health care management, is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives; a board member of the Association of University Programs in Health Administration, an elected position she has held since 2009; and an expert adviser for the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation. In 2011, she earned the Excellence in Teaching Award from the Academy of Management Health Care Management Division.
“I am incredibly gratified that we were able to recruit Dr. Lemak to this key leadership role,” said School of Health Professions Dean Harold P. Jones, Ph.D. “She brings a national reputation, a record of accomplishment, and a history of contribution to health care management and leadership that will serve to further enhance and build the nationally recognized programs in the department.”
Lemak, whose first day at UAB is July 1, takes over an HSA department that has seven nationally recognized programs, including the Master of Science in Health Administration, which is fifth in the nation, according to the current U.S. News & World Report rankings.
“I am delighted to join the outstanding faculty, staff and students, and the rich tradition of excellence at UAB,” Lemak said. “The department is internationally recognized for developing health care leaders. On a daily basis, UAB alumni are leading and transforming hospitals, health systems and communities. I look forward to sharing their energy, optimism and enthusiasm about the future of the department and the impact of our graduates and faculty.”
At UAB, Lemak will continue her research, including studying high-performing hospitals, identifying clinical practices to improve outcomes, and exploring innovative population health approaches for uninsured and Medicaid patients. Lemak will also extend her previous work on leadership development in health care through the already established UAB offerings such as the Doctoral Programs in Administration-Health Services, the Executive MSHA Program, and the Healthcare Quality and Safety Graduate Certificate.
“There were a significant number of highly qualified candidates interested in this position,” said S. Robert Hernandez, DrPH, HSA interim-chair and co-chair of the HSA chair search committee. “Dr. Lemak stood out because of the leadership skills she has displayed within the universities where she has worked, and because of her national involvement in leading change in how the next generation of health care leaders will be prepared. Her energy and enthusiasm were evident during the interview, and we look forward to working with her in continuing to position our academic and research programs to become the best in the country.”
“She is someone whose experience and leadership will benefit both our students and our faculty, and I commend the search committee and the co-chairs, Bob Hernandez and Will Ferniany, on a tremendous selection,” Jones said.
Lemak received a bachelor’s degree with highest honors in health planning and administration from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Master of Health Administration and Master of Business Administration degrees from the University of Missouri; and a Ph.D. in health services organization and policy from the University of Michigan. She replaces Gerald Glandon, Ph.D., who was named president and chief executive officer of the AUPHA in 2013.