Emergency medicine physician named to lead UIC health affairs


Robert Barish, UIC’s new vice chancellor for health affairs, is a former flight surgeon who was a candidate in NASA’s astronaut program.


An emergency medicine physician and former flight surgeon whose career includes medical relief to Hurricane Katrina victims and Somalian refugees was named UIC vice chancellor for health affairs.

The appointment of Robert A. Barish, currently chancellor of the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center at Shreveport, is pending formal approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees at its Nov. 12 meeting.

Barish, 62, will start his new role Jan. 1. He will oversee health science education, research and health care delivery at UIC’s seven health science colleges and regional campuses, hospital, clinics and federally qualified health center sites.

“Dr. Barish is an experienced leader with the qualifications needed to develop a strategic vision for our health care enterprise, to foster innovation in health sciences education and research, and to fulfill our mission to provide health care to the underserved communities of Chicago and the state,” said Chancellor Michael Amiridis.

Barish will succeed Jerry Bauman, interim vice president for health affairs for two years, who will return to his position as dean of the College of Pharmacy.

“It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to work with the committed clinicians, researchers and educators who comprise one of the nation’s strongest and most diverse academic health care enterprises,” Barish said.

Barish has been chancellor of the LSU Health Sciences Center at Shreveport since 2009. His responsibilities include the schools of medicine, allied health and graduate programs, a major academic medical center and two affiliated hospitals.


Built nationally recognized emergency medicine program

From 1985 to 2009, Barish held positions at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He was chief of emergency medicine from 1985 to 1996, building a nationally recognized program. He became associate dean for clinical affairs in 1998 and vice dean for clinical affairs in 2005.

After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast, Barish helped lead a medical regiment dispatched by the State of Maryland to deliver emergency care to more than 6,000 hurricane victims in Jefferson Parish.

In addition to his medical duties at Maryland, Barish earned an MBA from Loyola College in 1995. From 1996 to 1998, he was the chief executive officer of UniversityCARE, a University of Maryland physician-hospital network of family-oriented health centers in neighborhoods throughout the Baltimore metropolitan area.

A former lieutenant colonel and flight surgeon in the Maryland Air National Guard, Barish was accepted to NASA’s astronaut candidate program in 1992.

After earning his medical degree from New York Medical College in 1979, Barish interrupted his residency training for a year to provide medical treatment to refugees at camps along the Thai-Cambodian border and in Somalia. He completed an internal medicine residency at New York’s Saint Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center in 1983 and an emergency medicine residency at Georgetown University Medical Center in 1985.

He is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society and a fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians and the American Academy of Emergency Medicine.


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