UCT has appointed Professor Willem (Wim) de Villiers as the new Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences. He will take up his appointment on 1 July 2013.
A respected researcher in the field of gastroenterology, De Villiers has been chief of the Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition in the Department of Medicine at the University of Kentucky, where he was professor of the same division for over six years.
He is the recipient of several awards for his studies and work: best final-year MBChB student at Stellenbosch University, Nuffield Dominion Medical Fellow at Wolfson College at the University of Oxford, and several consecutive annual awards for Best Doctors in America.
In a letter to staff and students, Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price wrote: "We look forward to the critical contribution that Professor de Villiers will make to the faculty and the university through his leadership."
De Villiers obtained his MBChB (summa cum laude) and MMed (Int) (summa cum laude) from Stellenbosch University. He has a DPhil from the University of Oxford, and a Master's in Health Care Management from the Harvard School of Public Health.
A Fellow of the American Gastroenterological Association and an Honorary Fellow of the South African Gastroenterological Society, De Villiers is also an international speaker on inflammatory bowel disease, pathophysiology, translational science and clinic management.
With support from industry, he built up one of the largest gastroenterology clinical research centres in the US. The Inflammatory Bowel Disease Programme currently has more than 2 500 active patients, with some 600 patients on biologic therapy. In addition, he has been the principal investigator on more than 35 industry-sponsored studies into inflammatory bowel disease.
The appointment of De Villiers comes in the wake of the 2012 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, which rated UCT among the top 50 universities offering clinical and health subjects.
The health sciences faculty celebrated its 100th birthday last year, and its teaching and research is focused on addressing the health needs of Africa and the rest of the developing world.
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