Health Science Center names Michael Black, M.B.A., chief operating officer

SAN ANTONIO (Oct. 25, 2007) — Due to the major expansion of new programs and buildings in San Antonio and South Texas at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, President Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., recently announced the hiring of the university’s first chief operating officer (COO).

Michael E. Black, M.B.A., joined the Health Science Center on Oct.1. “I am excited to contribute to the leadership of Dr. Cigarroa and his strong team,” Black said. “This is a great opportunity to work for a world-class health science center. I really like what is in place and think the way the Health Science Center is headed is going to take it from very good to great.”

The Health Science Center has two buildings under construction in San Antonio and is opening two new buildings in South Texas this fall, one in Laredo and one in Harlingen. The four buildings will help the university expand educational opportunities, enhance its cutting-edge research and provide improved clinical services throughout South Texas.

The new COO will examine more efficient business operations throughout the Health Science Center, including the campuses in South Texas. Black’s primary focus will be to enhance organizational effectiveness consistent with the Health Science Center’s Strategic Plan.
Michael Black
“I am so pleased that Mike has joined us,” Dr. Cigarroa said. “He will be a great asset in improving the alignment among our executive units, providing direction for the opening of our new ambulatory center, identifying and enhancing partnerships, and offering strategic oversight for our growth in South Texas.”

Extensive administrative experience
Black came to the Health Science Center from Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., where he was associate vice chancellor and associate dean for administration and finance in the School of Medicine, and chief financial officer for the faculty practice plan.

As the chief executive officer for the School of Medicine at Washington University, Black advised the executive vice chancellor/dean in all areas of administration and finance and managed the day-to-day operations. He supervised 850 employees and was responsible for an operating budget of $1.3 billion and an endowment portfolio of $1.4 billion. He also oversaw 4 million square feet of research, teaching, clinical and support space.

After his retirement from the Air Force in 1989, Black held several positions in the School of Medicine at Creighton University, including director of administration, 1989-1994; associate vice president and director of human resources, 1994-1995; and vice dean of the School of Medicine and executive director of Creighton Medical Associates, a 300-physician academic group practice, 1995-1997. Following his work at Creighton, Black moved to the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where he was vice dean for administration and finance from January 1998 through January 2004.

“At Washington University, I’ve been working mainly with department chairmen in the School of Medicine and my counterparts at the university. In San Antonio, I’ll have the opportunity to work with the deans of all five schools, the vice presidents and leadership across the university to better support the education of our students, enhance research and improve patient care,” he said.

When he arrives, Black said he plans to focus on quickly learning how the Health Science Center works and how it interacts with The University of Texas System and the Legislature. He also wants to establish a strong working relationship with deans and vice presidents, because success requires strong teamwork. “I want to enhance the resources necessary for our students, faculty and staff to be more successful,” Black said.

New UT Medical Arts and Research Center
A big part of the job will be the development and opening of the UT Medical Arts and Research Center, one of the four new Health Science Center buildings. The 250,000-square-foot facility, due to open in spring 2009, will house operations of the largest multi-specialty practice group in South Texas. “Together with Dean Henrich (William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP, dean of the School of Medicine and vice president for medical affairs), we will want to maximize all of our resources, including people, processes and space,” Black said. “We will be looking at streamlining the administration of the clinics and making it into a much more collaborative operation than it is now.”

Currently, the clinics are scattered in several locations throughout the Medical Center. “The new facility will provide the opportunity for enhanced and expanded clinical services to better serve South Texas residents and be a wonderful environment for our faculty and students,” Dr. Cigarroa said.

“Overall, the key for me is to have a good, solid management team. This means having the right people in the right job,” Black said. “I want to focus on continuous process improvements by identifying operational effectiveness and cost savings.”


The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is the leading research institution in South Texas and one of the major health sciences universities in the world. With an operating budget of $576 million, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $15.3 billion biosciences and health care sector in San Antonio’s economy. The Health Science Center has had an estimated $35 billion impact on the region since inception and has expanded to six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. More than 22,000 graduates (physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists and allied health professionals) serve in their fields, including many in Texas. Health Science Center faculty are international leaders in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, aging, stroke prevention, kidney disease, orthopaedics, research imaging, transplant surgery, psychiatry and clinical neurosciences, pain management, genetics, nursing, allied health, dentistry and many other fields.

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