Senior Vice President and Dean, School of Medicine
The James R. Doty Distinguished Professor & Chair
Sachs joined Tulane in November 2007 to help the university and city address significant challenges following Hurricane Katrina. The storm caused $900 million of damages to Tulane University and Tulane University Hospital, and one-third of the medical school faculty left. In partnership with a new leadership team and dedicated faculty that returned after the storm, Dr. Sachs has guided the school through a major rebirth:
Tulane has recruited 19 new leaders, including ten new department chairs.
- Finances: The medical school, Tulane National Primate Research Center and the faculty practice plan are now operating in the black.
- Faculty practice plan reorganization: The department chairs have agreed to cross subsidy and financial transparency. The management has been restructured and a new billing company established.
- Applications to Tulane School of Medicine: Applications have increased 47%, indicating that approximately one out of four students applying to medical school in the United States have applied to Tulane. The class of 2014 MCAT scores are far higher that pre Katrina.
- Research: Despite the loss of many funded-faculty, Tulane's federal biomedical research submissions have increased 33% and federally-funded research has increased 15%. The growth in biomedical research is due in part to a new research strategy that unites the physical and biological sciences at Tulane. Funding ($42 million) has been secured to renovate Tulane's research facilities.
- Philanthropy: Despite the national economy, philanthropy has significantly increased. In 2008, Tulane School of Medicine moved into a 240,000-square-foot donated building that now houses a state-of-the-art simulation and team training center and a new educational facility that implements current teaching techniques.
- Satellite Campus: In 2010, Baton Rouge General Hospital became a Tulane teaching hospital.
- Tulane University Hospital: A new Cardiovascular Institute has been established and a new quality assurance system implemented. Significant improvements have been seen in operating room efficiency, patient satisfaction and patient outcomes.
- Federal & State Governments: Post-Katrina, all hospitals in New Orleans have been financially stressed. Dr. Sachs is working with the federal and state governments to begin to resolve this healthcare crisis as well as build a new VA hospital ($1 billion) and plan for a replacement of Charity Hospital ($1.2 billion), a Tulane teaching hospital.
- Crisis management for Tulane University and Hospital: lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina were tested in 2008 in the face of the city's evacuation for Hurricane Gustav and again in 2010 with response to the gulf oil spill.
- Healthcare Reform: Tulane is playing a major leadership role in regional healthcare reform by improving both the access to and the quality of care in New Orleans. In 2009, 175,000 people received their care through largely new community based clinics. Tulane has helped raise the funds to build three major neighborhood health centers that are designed to provide care for 60,000 people per year.
- Commitment to Community: After being a finalist in 2009, Tulane School of Medicine received the 2010 AAMC Spencer Foreman Award for Outstanding Community Service.
Before joining Tulane University, Sachs was at Harvard University for 29 years. He held several senior administrative positions at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), including Department Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology at BIDMC - HMS, the Harold H. Rosenfield Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, and professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. Sachs was elected President of the BIDMC Physician Organization, an organization of 1,500 physicians, for three terms (a total of six years).
While at Harvard, Sachs helped create the research team led by Dr Ananth Karumanchi that discovered the probable cause of preeclampsia, one of the leading causes of maternal and infant mortality and morbidity worldwide. The team also developed a new diagnostic test that is currently being evaluated in the United States and internationally by the World Health Organization. This research has been widely published, including in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Nature Medicine, and The New Yorker.
Known internationally for his work in improving patient care and reducing medical errors, Sachs' team at the BIDMC's Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology received the John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality from the National Quality Forum and The Joint Commission in 2007. This national award recognized the group's groundbreaking approach to reducing medical errors using Crew Resource Management/team training. Today, this program forms the basis for AHRQ's national program TeamSTEPPS. Their work was funded by the Department of Defense and Harvard's Risk Management Foundation.
Born in London, Sachs graduated from St. Mary's Hospital Medical School (now known as Imperial College London). He received a degree in public health from the University of Toronto and completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology and a fellowship in Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the Brigham & Women's Hospital (HMS). In addition, he was a visiting scientist at the Centers for Disease Control in 1980 and completed the PMD program (business management) at the Harvard Business School in 1987.
Sachs has been involved in international healthcare initiatives including fundraising for and the development of women's and children's health centers in Philippines, Armenia and Ukraine. A result of his efforts, the center in Dnieperpetrovsk Ukraine provides free care to 20,000 women and children each year.
Sachs' interests outside of medicine and his family are include music, especially classical and jazz, running and high altitude trekking. Shortly after his arrival at Tulane, he launched the Dean's Tulane Wave Runners Club which meets weekly in Audubon Park.
Sachs is on the boards of a number of community organizations and in recognition of his work, has been the recipient of a number of community service awards including:
- Governor Weld of Massachusetts: Community Service Award for health program for minority women (1996)
- Combined Jewish Philanthropies Boston: Circle of Excellence Award (1999)
- Combined Jewish Philanthropies Boston: Lewis Millender Community of Excellence Award (2000)
- Jewish National Fund, Tree of Life Award (2001)
- President State of Israel: Recognition Award (2002)
- USA Department of Defense: Award of Excellence (2004)
- Robert M. Meltzer Leadership Award BIDMC: "Leading Constructive Lasting and All Embracing Change" (2004)
- Hadassah: Humanitarian Award – outstanding contributions to medical communities in Israel and USA (2004)
- Boston IVF: Lifetime achievement award (2006)
- JCRC Boston: Dnieperpetrovsk Kehilla project Award 2007)
- Dnieperpetrovsk Medical Academy Ukraine: Honorary membership (2007)
- Blue Cross Blue Shield Healthcare Excellence Award (2007)
- The Joint Commission Eisenberg National Award for Patient Safety Innovation (2007)
- AAMC Spencer Forman Award – Tulane School of Medicine (2010)