WVU names national health care leader as vice president, executive dean for health sciences

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Clay Marsh, M.D., a national leader in health care at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, is joining West Virginia University as vice president and executive dean for Health Sciences effective Feb. 15, President Gordon Gee announced today (Jan. 14). He will be the first leader in the HSC’s history who is a graduate of WVU’s medical school.

Marsh is executive director of the IDEA Studio for Healthcare and Design, chief innovation officer at Ohio State’s medical center and professor of internal medicine in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine. He received his biology and medical degrees from WVU in 1981 and 1985, respectively.

“Dr. Marsh is a nationally renowned leader in medicine, especially as it relates to pulmonary and critical care,” Gee said. “His approach to making health care the norm in improving lives and communities matches well with West Virginia University’s commitment to solving the important health disparities our state and region are facing. As a WVU graduate, we are also delighted to welcome Clay back to the Mountaineer family.”

Dr. Marsh said he is looking forward to returning to a state and University he loves and leading WVU’s academic health care operations.

“I am grateful to the selection committee and President Gee for providing me the opportunity to come back home and serve WVU and the state’s citizens,” Marsh said. “The University is fortunate to have great leaders in place and I look forward to working closely with them to bring the best health care, education and services to our citizens.

“I am primarily focused on enhancing the health of the citizens and communities of West Virginia and providing the best educational environment to train the leaders of tomorrow. We have practiced a P4 medicine approach – predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory – which we hope will provide the right treatment to the right person at the right time. This approach requires participation of the individual, which is perhaps most important.  Combining cutting edge research and innovation with clinical medicine creates a better future for all.”

Marsh, who trained under former Health Sciences leader Robert M.  D’Alessandri, M.D., while in medical school, said he thinks of Mountaineers as pioneers, blazing the trail for others.

“I want us to plant a beacon on the tallest mountain for others to follow and have WVU as the centerpiece of that effort in healthcare by facilitating health. The long-term determination of our success at the WVU health science campus is to prevent disease, enhance health and longevity of the state’s citizens. However, when our community members get sick, we also want to provide the best approaches to treatment, intervention and outcome. Safety, quality and access in health care are paramount to a health sciences and medical center.”

At the WVU Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center, Marsh will oversee five schools – Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy and Public Health – and numerous allied health programs and clinical operations around the state. About 3,300 undergraduate and graduate students study on the HSC’s three campuses in Morgantown, Charleston  and Martinsburg.

Academic home to more than 1,000 faculty members, the WVU Health Sciences Center is committed to education, research, service and patient care. The five health schools share a common academic goal: to educate the next generation of healthcare providers, biomedical researchers, and health policy leaders for West Virginia.

The HSC offers 47 degree and certificate programs and 50 medical and dental residency and fellowship programs.


Marsh has devoted his professional life to personalized health care as a clinician, academician, researcher, innovator, department chair and senior administrator.  His emphasis is on marrying high tech systems with high touch care to successfully augment health and treat disease.

He has mentored dozens of medical students, post-doctoral researchers and junior faculty and published more than 140 papers in peer-reviewed journals.

He has earned research grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the American College of Physicians, the Association of Academic Health Centers and the Society of Critical Care Medicine.

He has garnered many teaching and research awards and honors, including the WVU School of Medicine’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2012.

He has also been granted several patents for his health technology discoveries.

Marsh’s current role with the IDEA Studio, which stands for Innovation, Design and Applications, is focused on less cost and higher quality health care for the future, and revolves around strategic partnerships and alignments with academic and industry sector partners.

His research laboratory is focused on the underlying molecular and genetic mechanisms of health and disease.

His academic career at Ohio State spans from clinical instructor to assistant, associate and full professor; and from investigator to director to chair and senior level positions.

After earning WVU degrees, he served a residency in internal medicine; a research fellowship in pulmonary and critical care, a chief residency in internal medicine; a fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine; and an Extension research fellowship in pulmonary and critical care – all at Ohio State.

He is married to Gail Marsh, chief strategy officer and senior associate vice president at OSU’s Wexner Medical Center, and the couple have three children: Rachel, 21, a student at the University of Virginia; Cameron, 19, a student at Swarthmore College; and Matthew, 15, a freshman at Upper Arlington High School.

A Charleston native, he is the son of the late Don Marsh, long-time editor and columnist of The Charleston Gazette, and mother, Jerry, still residing in Charleston.

Marsh replaces Christopher C. Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., who in January of last year took over as president and CEO of West Virginia United Health System while continuing to lead health sciences.

The appointment follows a comprehensive national search. A WVU screening committee, chaired by Jay Cole, Ph.D., vice president for federal relations and senior advisor to the president, reviewed applications and identified semi-finalists to bring to campus for interviews. Korn Ferry International assisted the screening committee with its work.

Gee said Glenn Dillon, Ph.D., vice president for research and graduate education at health sciences, will lead the transition.

Leadership History
2009 – Present      Christopher Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., Chancellor

2007 – 2009         Fred Butcher, Ph.D., Interim Vice President

1993 – 2007         Robert D'Alessandri, M.D., Vice President

1992 – 1993         W. Robert Biddington, D.D.S., Vice President

1982 – 1992         John E. Jones, M.D., Vice President

1981 – 1982         W. Robert Biddington, D.D.S., Interim Vice President

1967 – 1981         Charles E. Andrews, M.D., Vice President

1965 – 1967         Edward G. Stuart, M.D., Vice President

1959 – 1965         Kenneth E. Penrod, Ph.D., Vice President