GW SMHS Selects Karen A. Fagan, MD, to Serve as the Chair of the GW Department of Medicine

Karen A. Fagan, MD

The George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) is pleased to announce the selection of Karen A. Fagan, MD, to serve as the Chair of the GW Department of Medicine. In this role, Fagan will provide leadership to the department’s 12 divisions, 579 faculty members including 119 full-time faculty, internal medicine residency program, and 12 accredited fellowships.

“I am pleased to welcome Dr. Fagan to GW and to our incredibly diverse and vibrant Department of Medicine. I know that her clinical experience coupled with her commitment to medical education and research will be important as she guides this vital department into the future,” said Barbara Lee Bass, MD, FACS, professor of surgery, Walter A. Bloedorn Chair of Administrative Medicine, vice president for health affairs, and dean of GW SMHS.

Fagan joins GW from the University of South Alabama, where she recently served as the interim chair of the Department of Medicine and continues to serve as a professor of Medicine and Pharmacology, the Alice and John Tanner Chair in Pulmonary Medicine, the chief of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, and the director of the University of South Alabama Pulmonary Hypertension Center. She is a graduate of the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine fellowship program and has held positions at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and at Colorado State University.

An internationally recognized authority on pulmonary hypertension and leading clinical trialist, Fagan brings extensive experience in developing strong translational research programs between the clinical division and basic sciences departments at the University of South Alabama. She is a respected author and has been widely published in high-impact academic journals. She also has contributed to many book chapters, given grand rounds, and has presented at national and international scientific meetings. Fagan is a recipient of multiple honors and awards, including the Red Sash Award for Excellence in Teaching from the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and the Leadership Award from the Pulmonary Circulation Assembly of the American Thoracic Society.

Fagan has a track record of success rapidly adapting organizational transformations, including growth in inpatient and outpatient volumes through coordination with medical staff, clinical leads, and organizational leadership. She is well known for her success in developing academic clinical junior faculty and is recognized as a strong consensus builder – leading to a vibrant department with strategic growth within the practice.

“I am thrilled to be joining the faculty of the George Washington University to lead such an outstanding group of faculty within the Department of Medicine. I look forward to partnering with colleagues in the department to innovate and advance health care through discovery, educate the next generation of health care providers, and provide exceptional clinical care to our patients,” said Fagan.

As chair of the Department of Medicine, Fagan will have primary responsibility and accountability for the overall direction, operation, and management of the department in accordance with the educational, research, and clinical care missions of the GW academic medical enterprise, including the clinical practice sites across the Washington, D.C., region, the GW Hospital, the Cedar Hill Regional Medical Center – GW Health, and the educational and research programs of GW SMHS. She also will work to develop and enhance GW’s analytics resources with a focus on leveraging population health data for clinical purposes.

Partnering with leadership within GW’s clinical arm of the academic medical enterprise, Fagan will ensure that the Department of Medicine delivers high-quality care, achieves program objectives, and meets financial metrics. She will partner with leadership to operationalize the department within the overall integrated delivery system’s organizational structure and function. She will also be responsible for faculty development and mentoring toward academic advancement through impactful research and scholarship, while fostering a robust culture that encourages learning that meets or exceeds educational program accreditation standards.

Fagan received her BA degree in Biochemistry and Cell Biology at the University of California at San Diego, Third College. She received her MD degree at the University of San Diego School of Medicine, completed her residency at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, and her fellowship in Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, CO.

Fagan will begin serving as the Chair of the Department of Medicine on Sept. 1, 2024. 

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