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UM System, MU name Richard Barohn Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs


Christian Basi

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri System and University of Missouri-Columbia officials announced today that Richard J. Barohn, vice chancellor for research at the University of Kansas Medical Center, has been named executive vice chancellor for health affairs for MU. The dual appointment, which will report to the UM president and MU chancellor, comes after a national search. In his new role, Barohn will develop and implement a comprehensive strategy that affirms MU Health Care as a nationally recognized leader in patient care and continues the MU School of Medicine’s legacy of education and scholarly excellence. 

Barohn was chair of the Department of Neurology for 16 years at the University of Kansas Medical Center and has served as vice chancellor for research and president of the Research Institute since 2014. He also serves at the director of Frontiers: University of Kansas Clinical and Translational Science Institute.  

“Dr. Barohn’s commitment to excellence will establish MU Health Care as one of the preeminent health care systems in the Midwest,” UM System President Mun Choi said. “Having partnered with hospitals and community organizations, faculty and staff, Barohn is a nationally recognized leader in patient care.” 

Barohn expanded clinical and translational research throughout the Midwest region during his time as vice chancellor for research at KU. He developed infrastructure tools for faculty to assist them in accomplishing research goals. This was in large part through obtaining an NIH Clinical Translational Research Award that provides more than $5 million annually to stimulate research.

Barohn also continues to be involved in many of his own research studies for rare neuromuscular disorders, such as forms of muscular dystrophy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He will be moving one of his multicenter federally funded therapeutic trials to MU. 

“Dr. Barohn is a well-respected and established leader in the health care industry,” MU Chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright said. “His expertise will further our research in the School of Medicine that positively impacts the lives of all Missourians, and he will help us position MU Health Care as a global leader in precision health. We are confident that Dr. Barohn will bring to MU the same enthusiasm for growing the health care enterprise and research that he has shown at Kansas, and we are thrilled to have him on our team.”

Barohn earned a medical degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1980. He completed his residency in neurology at the Wilford Hall U.S. Air Force Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, as well as a fellowship training in neuromuscular diseases at The Ohio State University.  

“This opportunity is a dream of a lifetime; I’m going back to my home state, my home university and working to advance health care and medical education in the state of Missouri,” Barohn said. “I am thrilled that President Choi, Chancellor Cartwright and the curators have confidence in me, and I am looking forward to working with all the MU leaders, including MU Health Care CEO Jonathan Curtright, School of Medicine Dean Steve Zweig and Provost Latha Ramchand. This is an incredibly exciting time to be joining Mizzou, especially with all the recent progress on the NextGen Precision Health Institute. We are poised to become national leaders in this and particularly in precision medicine.”

Barohn received the UMKC School of Medicine Alumni Achievement Award. A retired Lieutenant Colonel of the U.S. Air Force, Barohn was appointed University Distinguished Professor at KU in 2013. In 2018, he was elected to the Association of American Physicians.

Pronunciation Guide: Barohn is pronounced “BARE – en”

What others are saying about Richard Barohn:

The University of Missouri is gaining an exceptional leader in Dr. Richard Barohn. His passion for integrating academic research and clinical practice is unmatched. Rick is a model for interdisciplinary and interprofessional work, actively seeking and valuing the contributions of all.  Our partnership and collaboration in bringing an NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award to The University of Kansas Medical Center and the Kansas City region was only one of the many successes he has had building the research portfolio at KUMC. Not only is he an exceptional scholar and mentor to many, but he is equally passionate about the arts and brings an informed and inquisitive mind to everything he does. MU has made an excellent choice in appointing him as your next Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs. We will sorely miss him but know he will excel in this new position.

 Dr. Lauren S. Aaronson, Professor Emerita, University of Kansas Medical Center


In just 4 years of knowing Dr. Richard Barohn, I have come to respect him as a leader who truly exemplifies leadership by example. His diverse background as a seasoned physician and an accomplished researcher, coupled with his extensive experience as a leader, will all serve him well in his aspiration to lead the University of Missouri School of Medicine and MU Health Care to even greater heights. I am confident that Dr. Barohn will do a wonderful job in his new role, and I wish him all the very best.

— Dr. Abiodun E. Akinwuntan, Dean, University of Kansas School of Health Professions


When I was executive vice chancellor of the University of Kansas Medical Center in 2011, Dr. Richard Barohn, then the chair of our neurology department, shared some news I’ll never forget: Our medical center had received a $20 million Clinical and Translational Research Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The main goals of this important grant were to speed laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients and to train a new generation of researchers to bring cures and treatments to patients faster. As a principal investigator for the grant, Dr. Barohn worked tirelessly for years to develop the programs and to forge the partnerships that led to a successful grant application — one that, most importantly, continues to benefit patients. That’s the kind of physician/researcher Dr. Barohn is — one who’ll work long and hard to benefit men, women and children. The work done in the initial grant served as a catalyst in 2018 for the NIH to award the University of Kansas another $25 million to further accelerate clinical and translational work. His good work lives on. I look forward to what Dr. Barohn will accomplish in his new leadership role at the University of Missouri. I already know this for sure — he will help make Missouri a healthier place to live.

— Dr. Barbara Atkinson, founding dean of the UNLV School of Medicine


Dr. Barohn is a consummate doctor, researcher, and collaborator. He cares deeply for his patients and colleagues, works tirelessly to understand diseases and create new ways to treat them, and educate the next generation of physician-scientists. He is infectious in his ability to galvanize researchers and practitioners from basic, translational, clinical, and public health science to work together to produce world-leading results, as he did as founder and director of the Frontiers CTSA hub at KU, and before that leading a consortium focused on his own area of rare neuromuscular diseases.  

— Dr. Christopher P. Austin, Director, NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences 


During the past seven years that I have worked for Dr. Barohn, I’ve been privileged to observe how unique he is at leveraging his diverse roles on campus to connect the talents of colleagues in order to produce the highest quality of outcomes. He leads bright minds by challenging them to elevate their expectations and accomplishments. Dr. Barohn is always thinking about people and projects and how they might collaborate resulting in projects of the utmost standard and to the betterment of the investigator and the institution.

— Jen Baker, Administrative Director, Frontiers: University of Kansas Clinical and Translational Science Institute


Dr. Richard Barohn is a nationally recognized highly talented clinician, researcher and leader. His time at the University of Kansas Medical Center has resulted in the development of a world-class Department of Neurology, the establishment of a highly collaborative regional Clinical Translational Science Award, the designation of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center and steady growth of the research portfolio of our institution.

— Dr. Douglas A. Girod, Chancellor, University of Kansas  


Dr. Barohn is a charismatic leader with extraordinary vision and the skills to inspire and empower others. His leadership style is impressive for the loyalty he inspires in those with whom he collaborates and in those who work for him. His leadership at KU enabled the school to secure an NIH-funded Clinical Translational Science Award — a monumental task that brought together a team of highly skilled but extraordinarily diverse scientists and administrative leaders from multiple institutions, schools and departments to reach a common goal. This award was transformative for KU and under Rick’s leadership put KU on the map of research institutions. Rick is a master clinician who managed to work on the frontline as a clinician while building a research powerhouse within the Neurology Department. He is able to work with and gain the respect of clinicians, clinical scientists and basic scientists. He brought national recognition to his department and to the entire institution and will be relentless in pursuing the same goal in his new position.

— Dr. Robert C. Griggs, Professor of Neurology, Medicine, Pediatrics, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center  


I have worked with Rick Barohn for over 30 years, and he isn’t just a triple threat — he’s a quadruple threat. He is an expert clinician, teacher, researcher and leader. 

As a clinician, Dr. Barohn has an international reputation. People come from all over to see him, and he is one of the best neurologists focused on neuromuscular diseases in the world. Relative to teaching, he is probably the best mentor I know. He is excellent at nurturing and building up our junior clinicians and scientists. Relative to research, he is a well-known researcher who is heavily grant funded. Finally, as a leader he is extremely talented. When he joined the Department of Neurology, it was a small struggling department with five neurologists. We have seen explosive growth since then and now have 60 neurologists. That is all because of Dr. Barohn. 

— Dr. Gary S. Gronseth, Professor and Chair of the University of Kansas Department of Neurology


In his time as Vice Chancellor for Research at KU Medical Center, Dr. Barohn has worked tirelessly to provide opportunities for research to flourish. He is also a generous mentor. His efforts to foster collaboration and coordination have made significant contributions to the vitality of our research enterprise. I know that the tremendous advances made under his leadership will have a lasting impact on KU Medical Center and beyond.

 Lisa Hoebelheinrich, Associate Vice Chancellor, Compliance, University of Kansas Medical Center


Dr. Barohn is one of those rare clinician scientists who fully embraces all aspects of team science in biomedical research. As a biomedical anthropologist, he welcomed my expertise and encouraged me to contribute social and behavioral science to rare disease neurology research projects he led. He inspires team collaboration in his own research as well as encourages it through careful listening, brainstorming and match-making among investigators across diverse disciplines. His commitment to team science includes being a champion for patient, family and community engagement, which has strengthened clinical and translation research collaborations across the region.

— Dr. Kim S. Kimminau, Associate Director, Frontiers: University of Kansas Clinical and Translational Science Institute and I’m a Professor in the department of Family Medicine and Community Health 


I have known Professor Richard J. Barohn for more than 30 years since his fellowship days at The Ohio State University. It was obvious that he had leadership capabilities from our first encounter. His desire to acquire skills in both research and patient care was immediately apparent and he was devoted to translational medicine, applying basic skills in dissecting out disease pathogenesis and implementing tools that permitted him to develop potential treatments. His accomplishments since that time have resulted in national and international recognition as a leader in research, education, and patient care. He has a great deal to give in this newly appointed position as the Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs. The University of Missouri chose wisely in selecting Richard Barohn for this important leadership position.

— Dr. Jerry R Mendell, Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology and Curran-Peters Chair of Pediatric Research, Abigail Wexner Research Institute, Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University


I have been at KUMC since 2002, initially as a resident physician and later as faculty since 2006. I saw the exponential growth of the neurology department at KU over the years. Initially, as the chairman of the Department of Neurology, Dr. Barohn was very active and instrumental in bringing the neurology department at KUMC to the present level of excellence. In his role as chairman, he has trained many residents and fellows to become excellent neurologists and neuromuscular specialists. His interest and drive in research greatly helped our institution to develop more research-intensive clinicians, and he has also mentored many young investigators over the years. He has been an inspiration for the many investigators and young neurologists. He has become a world-renowned neuromuscular specialist with his research and clinical expertise. He has been very active both administratively as well as scientifically. He has published extensively and received multiple grants for research over the years. I have seen him go from the department chair to vice chancellor for research at KUMC. He showed great interest in training and encouraging young clinicians to become research scholars. He has been instrumental in bringing our institution a very long way in research and helped with collaboration with other institutions. Dr. Barohn is an excellent leader, and we will greatly miss his presence here. I am sure he will be a great asset to your institution.

— Dr. Mamatha Pasnoor, Associate Professor, Department of Neurology, University of Kansas Medical Center


I congratulate the University of Missouri on the recruitment of Dr. Richard Barohn as the next vice chancellor for Health Affairs. Twenty years ago, I recruited Rick to the University of Kansas School of Medicine as the chair of neurology. I had hoped that he would develop more clinical programs for the department and the medical school, and he certainly more than exceeded my expectations. I have watched in admiration over the years as he has led successful clinical programs and new research initiatives at KUSOM, including the successful CTSA grant application as well as a large number of other clinical and translational research programs. Rick is a true servant leader who understands the importance of teamwork in research and in healthcare. I'm certain that his energy, vision and collaborative leadership style will serve him well in this important new position.

— Dr. Deborah Powell, Dean Emerita and Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Minnesota Medical School


Reviewed 2021-06-09