Kenneth I. Shine, M.D., The University of Texas System’s Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs , and a formidable champion of many UT-led enhancements in health care education and research, has announced his plans to retire from his post in early 2013.
Dr. Shine joined the UT System in November 2003, with a pledge to serve for at least three years. He has now tripled that pledge and in the past nine years has implemented innovative initiatives that will forever leave their mark on the UT System.
During Dr. Shine’s tenure, the Office of Health Affairs has completed six presidential searches, implemented a strategy on the Future of Public Health, launched the nationally recognized Clinical Safety and Effectiveness Program, created the Transformation in Medical Education (TIME) program, established the first Systemwide Academy of Health Professions Educators in the country, and much more. He also led the System as interim chancellor from April 2008, following Chancellor Mark Yudof’s departure, until Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., was named chancellor in January 2009.
Last year, Dr. Shine was honored with the 2011 John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award from the National Quality Forum and Joint Commission. He was recognized for leading numerous initiatives to improve quality and safety in health care.
A cardiologist and physiologist, Dr. Shine graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1961. He trained at Harvard’s acclaimed teaching hospital, Massachusetts General, where he became Chief Resident in Medicine in 1968.
In 1969, he joined the faculty at the University of California at Los Angeles, ultimately becoming dean of the UCLA’s School of Medicine in 1986. His leadership helped establish UCLA as one of the most respected medical schools in the country and he promoted major innovations and initiatives in ambulatory education, community service for medical students and faculty, and math and science education in local public schools.
In 1992, Dr. Shine was named president of the Institute of Medicine, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that helps influence national health care policy. Current president, Dr. Harvey Fineberg, said that under Dr. Shine’s leadership the Institute of Medicine took on several crucially important issues such as food safety, tobacco use and end-of-life care and became one of the most important forces to improve health in the nation.
Perhaps the most controversial issue Dr. Shine confronted as president of the Institute of Medicine was the quality of care in America, which led to his landmark report in 2001: Crossing the Quality Chasm – A New Health System for the 21st Century . The report found that medical errors were causing tens of thousands of deaths annually and became a powerful impetus for sweeping changes.
He brought that focus on quality to UT System, spearheading a project called Code Red, a statewide call to action to improve access to care, streamline medical education and lay the groundwork for future medical schools in Austin and South Texas.
“One of the greatest privileges I have had as Chancellor is working with Ken Shine. He is a legend in medical education and health care policy. His experience, intellect and drive are unsurpassed,” Chancellor Cigarroa  said. “For the past decade, his mission has been: How do we make health care more accessible and affordable for Texans, and how do we better educate doctors, nurses, and health professionals? Patient care is not an abstraction for him. He deeply believes in healing people and saving lives.”
In addition to publishing three versions of Code Red: The Critical Condition of Health Care in Texas  in 2006, 2008 and 2012, Dr. Shine and his staff also worked for approval of an 1115 Medicaid Waiver in Texas -- a program which allows states to use federal money to expand and improve health care. The Texas Legislature approved the program in 2011. He also helped establish the Supply Chain Alliance Project, which has saved the UT System more than $80 million and has extended from UT’s six health institutions to nearly all UT campuses.
“Dr. Shine has been a highly respected leader of the UT System health institutions and he has firmly established a national reputation for innovation and leadership,” said Board of Regents Chairman Gene Powell . “He has been tireless in his focus on building medical schools in Austin and South Texas. We will miss his energy, his wisdom, and his guiding spirit.”
Dr. Shine’s indefatigable support for a medical school at UT Austin was instrumental in laying the foundation for the first research-intensive medical school on an academic campus in Texas to become a reality. Though he will retire as executive vice chancellor, he plans to teach at the new medical school, see patients and assist the UT System in any way possible. Travel, fishing and “long postponed” writing are also on his agenda.
“It has been a very rewarding time. I have a group of colleagues in the Office of Health Affairs who are truly remarkable,” Dr. Shine said. “Working with other members of the executive team in UT System and with our presidents has been a joy.”
Dr. Shine plans to remain in his post until a replacement is found and will remain a part of the UT System family to assist with special projects and health initiatives indefinitely. A national search will begin immediately to recruit Dr. Shine’s successor.
About The University of Texas System
Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking research and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States, with nine academic universities and six health science centers. Preliminary student enrollment exceeded 216,000 in the 2012 academic year. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees and educates nearly three-fourths of the state’s health care professionals annually. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $13.1 billion (FY 2012) including $2.3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With roughly 87,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.