College of Medicine names three new assistant deans

By Audrey Kirby

The University of Kentucky College of Medicine is proud to announce new leadership promotions and positions all working to continue to achieve our aspirational goals as a growing College of Medicine.

Donna Wilcock, PhD, Sweeney-Nelms Professor in Alzheimer’s Disease Research and associate director of outreach and partnerships at the UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, has been selected as assistant dean of biomedicine. Daniel Moore, MD, associate professor of ophthalmology, has been named assistant dean for program evaluation in Graduate Medical Education (GME).  Melissa Newcomb, MD, associate professor of surgery, will soon begin her new role as assistant dean for assessment and evaluation, also within GME.

Donna Wilcock, PhDDr. Wilcock is a professor with tenure in the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging and the UK College of Medicine Department of Physiology. Her new position as assistant dean of biomedicine was created to address issues and form policies involving research mentoring to ensure the success of faculty and trainees. Effective immediately, Dr. Wilcock serves as liaison among the offices of Research, Biomedical Education, Faculty Affairs and Development, and Diversity and Inclusion, with a focus on developing policies and processes that ensure the College of Medicine is fostering an outstanding research training environment. She will also establish and lead the biomedical advisory faculty committee to provide a communication route for faculty and leadership regarding biomedical research needs within the college.

“I am very passionate about developing our next generation of scientists and educators,” Dr. Wilcock said. “I have had amazing mentors as I have moved through my career, and I am excited to enhance our mentoring experience in the College of Medicine.”

Dr. Wilcock joined UK in 2011 and promptly established a strong research program focused on vascular cognitive impairment and dementia, a common cause of dementia in the aging population. She currently leads the biomarker core of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Sanders-Brown Center on Aging and has served as chair of the UK College of Medicine Faculty Council. 

James Geddes, PhD, vice dean for research, said, “Dr. Wilcock’s vast knowledge and background in research made her a highly qualified candidate for this position. She is fully capable of utilizing this leadership position to foster an environment conducive to learning.” 

Katherine McKinney, MD, GME senior associate dean, said she selected both Dr. Moore and Dr. Newcomb for their respective positions among a strong pool of candidates, and that they stood out for their promising impact on the GME community.

“We are incredibly blessed to have a robust community of GME educators in the College of Medicine and are so excited to have Dr. Moore and Dr. Newcomb take on these leadership roles to further enhance the quality of the educational experience in each of our GME programs,” Dr. McKinney said.

Dr. Daniel MooreDr. Moore has served as faculty with the UK College of Medicine since 2013, assuming the role of ophthalmology residency program director in 2016. He is also currently an associate professor of ophthalmology in the clinical title series. As assistant dean for program evaluation, Dr. Moore will partner with program directors, coordinators, and leadership to augment the tools and support for GME programs’ annual evaluation processes in addition to  developing mechanisms to share best practices.

“In recent years, my work as program director of the ophthalmology residency has confirmed my passion to teach and educate future health care leaders,” Dr. Moore said. “Being selected for this position just fuels this desire even more, and I am excited for the opportunity to be more engaged with students and faculty in GME.”

Along with his roles as an educator, Dr. Moore is currently co-chair and an original member of the program review subcommittee. He completed his medical school training at Indiana University, his ophthalmology residency at the University of Washington, and a glaucoma fellowship at Duke University.

Dr. Melissa NewcombIn her newly established position as assistant dean for assessment and evaluation, effective July 1, Dr. Newcomb will collaborate with UK’s residency program committees to develop processes and systems of measures to document the progress of medical residents from first-year learners to competent providers in their chosen field. The Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education programs (ACGME) is requiring medical training programs in the U.S. to utilize clinical competency committees (CCCs) to advise directors and improve the instruments used to evaluate the progress of residents through their years of training.

“Measuring learners’ progression to competency is a complex process. It has always interested me,” Dr. Newcomb said. “I am very excited that I was chosen for this position and look forward to begin officially in July. This new role will allow me to work with the GME office and our residency programs on this process.”

Dr. Newcomb has gathered much of her clinical and educational experience through the UK College of Medicine, having received her medical degree with high distinction in 2008, followed by the completion of her general surgery internship, residency, and a yearlong period as administrative chief resident. Since finishing her education at UK, she has moved up to her current roles as associate program director and associate professor of general surgery, as well as surgeon with the Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center.

In recognition of her excellence as an educator in the UK College of Medicine Department of Surgery, she earned the Faculty Teaching Award in 2015, 2016, and 2019; the Ward O. Griffen Teaching Award for Excellence in Medical Student Education in 2017; and the Gordon Hyde Teaching Award for Excellence in Resident Education in 2018.