On April 18, Chancellor Kim Wilcox announced medical doctor and psychiatrist, Deborah Deas, as the new dean for UCR’s School of Medicine. Deas, a former interim dean for the Medical University of South Carolina, will begin her post on May 16, 2016.

Deas has served a variety of positions during her 22-year tenure at the Medical University of South Carolina, such as counselor-at-large for the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and held a leadership role during the university’s accreditation process. Her research has primarily focused on the impact of substance abuse on youth and adolescents.

Childhood asthma, hypertension, substance abuse issues and obesity are all health issues that Deas would like to see healthcare professionals focus on nationwide. In addition, Deas would like to see increased access to primary care, including family medicine, pediatrics and psychiatry.

Currently, Deas hopes to increase faculty diversity and hopes to implement programs that will address wellness, healthcare disparities, women’s health and substance abuse research. Substance abuse is a major issue in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, with the U.S. Department of Justice calling the area the “methamphetamine capital of the United States” in 2001.

“There are so many projects that I have in mind (for the School of Medicine), however they will be planned strategically and collaboratively with the stakeholders,” Deas explained. “Just to give a glimpse, these projects will include the expansion of educational and training opportunities for our medical students, clinical programs to meet the needs of the community, research programs in basic and clinical sciences, as well as projects which focus on community engagement.”

In addition, Deas praised the campus for its climate and connection to the community, which is something she values. “When I visited campus and met the faculty, students, staff, and leadership across campus, I was convinced that their hearts were in the right place and they were committed to the School and the community,” Deas elaborated. “I knew that I wanted to be a part of the University of California Riverside. I love the people, the landscape of the campus, and being a part of a comprehensive University. It really feels like a family.”

“Dr. Deas brings an exceptional record of commitment to medical education and research, clinical affairs, and addressing the comprehensive healthcare needs of underserved communities, with a firm commitment to diversifying the physician workforce. We look forward to the leadership she will bring to our campus and community,” Wilcox said in a public statement.

Deas will succeed interim dean Neal Schiller and founding dean G. Richards Olds, who resigned from the position on Aug. 1, 2015. According to UCR Today, Deas will receive an annual salary of $625,000 funded by nonstate sources, plus eligibility for an additional $150,000 bonus incentive “Z” payment under the University of California’s Health Sciences Compensation Plan.