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Kragel Likes Challenge of Being Interim Dean

Dr. Peter Kragel. Photo by Cliff Hollis.
GREENVILLE, N.C.   (Mar. 1, 2001)   —   If you need to schedule an appointment with Dr. Peter Kragel, try calling one of his three offices: there's one he has as chairman of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, the other in the Pitt County Memorial Hospital laboratory as chief of pathology and then the newest in the dean's office of the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University.

Following the resignation of Dr. James Hallock in December, ECU Chancellor Richard Eakin named Kragel interim dean of the medical school. In addition to being dean, Hallock was also vice chancellor for health sciences. Dr. Ann Jobe is serving in that position in the interim.

Why does Kragel think he was chosen for the job? He feels an important aspect of the dean's role is to support departments and faculty and provide an environment where they can excel.

"I've been supportive of many departments since I've been here," he said. His record of support was likely an important consideration in his selection for the interim position, he added.

Kragel joined the medical school as chairman of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in July 1998. At the time, he also was named chief of pathology at PCMH. For the eight years before coming to ECU, he was with the Truman Medical Center/University of Missouri-Kansas City, joining the pathology department as an associate professor and leaving as professor and chairman of the department. He was also director of the pathology residency program and the pathology course director.

According to Dave McRae, chief executive officer of University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina, Kragel's experience makes him an excellent choice for interim dean. "We're exceptionally pleased with Dr. Kragel being named interim dean for the medical school. He brings tremendous experience as chairman for an important department serving the hospital. Also, his personal maturity and judgment will be an asset in the coming months as the hospital and School of Medicine deal with the complex health care issues facing us today."

Dr. Paul Phibbs, who has served as a member of the Executive Committee of the medical school with Kragel, said he believes the decision by the chancellor to name his colleague as interim dean was well thought out. Phibbs, who came to ECU in 1986 as chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, admitted some surprise when he first heard that a rather new department chairman had been named interim dean. "But because of my interaction with him on the Executive Committee, it didn't surprise me after thinking about it," he said.

"I think he has rapidly learned the details of the administration of the school. He has immersed himself in complex negotiations with the hospital for interactions that are vital for the two institutions," Phibbs said. "He also served effectively as acting chairman for the Department of Radiation Oncology while doing his own job as chairman of his department. And I think he was an extremely effective member of the Executive Committee, and that gave me confidence that he was a good choice. I'm sure he will do a really good job."

The Executive Committee is made up of six department chairmen and a handful of other medical school administrators. Kragel will no longer serve as a member of the Executive Committee in his new position; however, as interim dean he's free to attend the meeting at any time. Dr. Ralph Whatley, chairman of the Department of Medicine, has filled Kragel's vacancy on the committee.

Phibbs added that Kragel's specialty, pathology and laboratory medicine, allows him to have a connection with all faculty members. "I think he is a good person for communicating with the basic science and the clinical sides of the school. He has always shown strong interest in both the basic and the clinical sciences," he said.

And Kragel's demeanor lends itself to the daily hurdles of


Contact: Jeannine Hutson | 252-744-2481