TUSKEGEE, Ala. (July 2, 2013) —The former president and chief executive officer of Meharry Medical College will address this summer’s commencement exercises. Dr. Wayne J. Riley will speak to graduates and their families Aug. 2 at 10 a.m. in the University Chapel. He is also a professor of internal medicine and senior health policy associate at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at Meharry; adjunct professor of healthcare management at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University; a senior adviser at the Association of Academic Health Science Center; and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.
On January 1, 2007, Dr. Wayne Joseph Riley became the 10th president and chief executive officer of historic Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn. It is the nation’s largest, private, independent, historically black academic health center dedicated to educating health professionals. Previously, he served as vice president and vice dean for health affairs and governmental relations and associate professor of internal medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He joined the faculty after completing residency training at Baylor’s internal medicine residency training program.
Under Dr. Riley’s leadership and during his tenure, Meharry Medical College made significant strides in securing philanthropic support, receiving increased National Institutes of Health funding, enhancing clinical and academic programs; and increasing national, community and civic engagement. Notable achievements include: reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the American Dental Association; the first accreditation for the Master’s degree program in public health by the Council for Education for Public; receipt of an $18 million donation from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (including a one-time, $9 million gift to the endowment making it the largest endowment gift in the college’s history) to establish the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at Meharry; the establishment of three U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs outpatient clinics, a $21 million NIH award to establish the Meharry Translational Research Center; completion of a $4.2 million renovation of the Meharry Biomedical Sciences Library; and multiple other capital improvements to enhance the teaching and learning environment.
Dr. Riley’s experience encompasses academic medicine, primary care, public health, health care management and policy, academic health science center administration and government. At Baylor College of Medicine, he served as assistant dean for education (2000-2004); co-chaired BCM’s 2003 Education Mission Strategic Planning Task Force; and was oversight director of the BCM pre-clinical curriculum.
Currently, he serves as chair of the National Advisory Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health. He was appointed in 1998 by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to serve on this federal panel to guide the nation’s work on issues of health inequity in biomedical research and health services.
Dr. Riley is a native of New Orleans and prior to pursuing a career in medicine; Dr. Riley served for five years in management and policy capacities as a mayoral appointee and to New Orleans’ late Mayor Ernest N. “Dutch” Morial. At 26, he became executive assistant to the mayor for intergovernmental relations, the youngest in the city’s history.
Fall 2009, Dr. Riley was appointed to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s Labor, Education and Healthcare Advisory Council. July 2010, Dr. Riley was elected to the Board of Directors of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. where he sits on the Management, Development and Compensation and the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committees. He also serves as a director of Pinnacle Financial Partners, LLC, Tennessee’s second largest publically traded bank holding company where he serves on the Audit and Nominating and Corporate governance committees.
Dr. Riley earned the Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology with a concentration in medical anthropology from Yale University in New Haven, Conn.; the Master of Public Health degree in health systems management from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans; and the Doctor of Medicine degree from the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. May 2002, he earned the Master of Business Administration degree from Rice University’s Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management’s MBA for Executives program.