Miller Heads Clinical Affairs

February 3, 2000

Judith Zwolak

On Dec. 1, Alan Miller became the medical center's vice president and associate dean for clinical affairs, giving him responsibility for the oversight, development and growth of Tulane's clinical medical enterprise.

Miller, who came to the university in 1993 as director of the Bone Marrow Transplantation Program at the Tulane Cancer Center, says a primary role of the vice president and associate dean is to begin implementing initiatives from a strategic planning process begun in 1998 by his predecessor. Alan Miller replaced Robert Miller, who left this fall to become dean of the University of Nevada School of Medicine.

"The clinical enterprise strategic initiative laid the groundwork for how an academic faculty practice could grow and compete in a competitive market with a lot of changing outside influences," Miller says. "It also laid the groundwork for how we could be able to practice medicine and still be able to fulfill our teaching and research missions."

The initiatives of the plan dovetail with the School of Medicine's portion of the university's strategic plan, Miller says. One of the primary goals of the plan is to expand Tulane's primary-care base.

"We have a strong emphasis on providing specialized care, providing services that are not necessarily available elsewhere," he says. "But it's important for the business aspects of the clinical practice to have a primary-care base in order to have a larger patient population for all of our services. And it also fits into our teaching mission as primary care becomes a much larger part of medical education."

Another strategic direction is the expansion of specialty-care networks, Miller says. "We want to take some of our unique services and establish satellite operations and enhance existing satellite operations," he says.

An example of one such program is the cancer center's clinical research network, which offers access to new treatment options through clinical trials to patients of oncologists throughout the Gulf South region.

"It benefits the private-practice oncologists who are able to provide higher levels of care to their patients," Miller says. "And it builds referring relationships that bring certain patients that need specialty care to Tulane for a portion of their treatment. These networks are very important."

Continued growth of the medical center's centers of excellence is a third aspect of the strategic plan, he says, adding that these centers are a key portion of the affiliation agreement between Tulane and Columbia/HCA, the corporation that owns the majority of the hospital.

"We have several well-recognized centers, including the Institute of Sports Medicine and the Tulane Cancer Center," Miller says. Plans for new centers in cardiovascular health, gene therapy and aging are also under way, he adds.

In his new position, Miller says he will continue to see patients, devoting about a quarter of his time to his clinical interests in leukemia, lymphoma and bone marrow transplantation. Although he remains deputy director of the Tulane Cancer Center, he will no longer direct the program in bone marrow transplantation.

"I am still active in the transplant group and involved in the care of transplant patients," he says.

The vice president and associate dean position carries a title that reflects Miller's dual reporting lines. Aspects of his job that relate to the faculty's clinical practice fall under the purview of the medical school dean. Issues relating to clinical business operations and clinical affiliations and partnerships come under the direction of the senior vice president for the health sciences.

Prior to joining the faculty at Tulane, Miller held faculty positions at both the University of Miami School of Medicine and the University of Florida College of Medicine. He received his doctorate in physiology from the State University of New York/Buffalo in 1976 and his MD from the University of Miami in 1983 and completed an internal medicine residency and medical oncology fellowship at the University of Florida.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000