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Dr. Michael Waldrum, CEO of ECU Health and dean of the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, assumed the role as chair of the Council of Teaching Hospitals and Health Systems Administrative Board for the Association of American Medical Colleges.

The appointment was effective November 12. 

In addition to his chair role, Waldrum is also a voting member of the AAMC Board of Directors.

COTH members include CEOs, presidents, and other executives who lead the AAMC’s nearly 400-member teaching hospitals and health systems. 

They concentrate on issues specific to academic medicine, such as demonstrating its value and societal good; financing graduate medical education; funds flow and enterprise-wide mission alignment. 

“Dr. Waldrum has clearly earned the respect of hospital executives and leaders in academic medicine across the country as he was selected for this leadership role by his peers,” said Rosha McCoy, AAMC acting chief healthcare officer. “As an AAMC council, COTH is one of the crucial professional development groups for the association, bringing together the highest tiers of leadership from academic medical centers. Dr. Waldrum has shown a deep commitment to patients and communities, with a particular focus on rural communities, a passion for academic medicine, and an excellent ability to navigate tough challenges. We are thrilled to have him as chair of the COTH Administrative Board and look forward to working with him over the coming year.”

Healthcare in America faces significant and unique challenges and it’s even more difficult in rural areas of the country where 183 hospitals have closed their doors since 2005, according to a recent UNC Sheps Center report. 

The impacts of a global pandemic combined with a high burden of disease, vast geographical areas, traditionally underserved communities and a high reliance on government pay requires innovative solutions, difficult decisions and importantly, the need to develop and train health professionals committed to rural health care. 

In eastern North Carolina, academic medicine is how ECU Health strives to sustain quality rural health care now and into the future and achieve its vision to become the national model for rural health care.

“It’s an honor to work collaboratively with other leaders across the nation who are committed and passionate about academic healthcare,” said Waldrum. “I understand the important responsibility and opportunity I have to highlight and advocate for the future of health care in rural America. I appreciate my peers for entrusting me with the opportunity to bring my unique perspective to the AAMC Council of Teaching Hospitals and Health Systems.”