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2023 Year in Review

As we set our sights on 2024, it’s important to pause and look back on the remarkable year that’s coming to a close. As this 2023 year-end recap shows, our work at University of Utah Health really matters. 

Clinical teams treat every patient with amazing expertise and compassion. Research teams advance scientific discoveries and knowledge that improve public health. Educators train new generations of health and science professionals. Learners expand their skills and knowledge and help us improve education. Community collaborators show us how to best serve a growing, ever-changing population.   

The following is just a sampling of the impactful work taking place every day on our campus and throughout the community.

Strategy 2025   

In 2023, U of U Health completed the fourth year of our comprehensive five-year strategic plan. Our roadmap to success is charted by revised annual directed steps. These steps are the result of careful consideration and collaboration by leaders across many levels of our organization.   

The following are examples of directed steps we took this year: 

Societal Impact Through Clinical Care 

2024 Clinical Badges

New Leaders

  • Peter Weir, MD, PhD, appointed inaugural Chief Population Health Officer for University of Utah Health.
  • Angela Fagerlin, PhD, appointed Associate Vice President for Faculty at University of Utah Health
  • Kelly A. Tappenden, PhD, RD, appointed dean of the College of Health.
  • Randall Peterson, PhD, reappointed as dean for the College of Pharmacy.
  • Sam Finlayson, MD, MPH, MBA, appointed interim dean for the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine.
  • Erica Bisson, MD, MPH, was appointed vice dean for clinical affairs for the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine.
  • Brenda Heaton,  PhD, MPH, appointed associate dean for research for the School of Dentistry.
  • Jennifer Clifton, DNP, appointed associate dean for practice and community collaboration for the College of Nursing
  • William Couldwell, MD, PhD, reappointed as chair for the Department of Neurosurgery.
  • Mark H. Paul, appointed Executive Director of the Center for Medical Innovation.
  • Christian Sherwood, MA, appointed Chief Human Resources Officer for University of Utah Health Hospitals & Clinics.
  • Sarah Wilson, SPHR, MA, appointed Senior Director of Human Resources for University of Utah Health Academics.
  • Carolyn Buma, BS, appointed executive director of principal gifts for University of Utah Health.

Academic Excellence

Each U of U Health school or college is nationally recognized. This is reflected in the 2023-2024 rankings published by U.S. News & World Report and increasingly high levels of research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

2024 Academic Badges

The following represents how U of U Health academic programs rank among their peers.

College of Health

  • No. 13 Physical Therapy Program. No. 5 among public universities. 
  • No. 29 Audiology Program. No. 23 among public universities. 
  • No. 32 Speech-Language Pathology Program. No. 25 among public universities. 
  • No. 42 Occupational Therapy Program. No. 26 among public universities. 

College of Pharmacy

  • No. 14 PharmD Program. No. 13 among public universities. 
  • No. 15 in NIH Research Funding 

College of Nursing

  • No. 11 Nursing-Midwifery Program. No. 7 among public universities. 
  • No. 18 Doctor of Nursing Practice. No. 11 among public universities.
  • No. 24 Online Master's in Nursing. 
  • No. 31 Undergraduate Nursing (BSN)
  • No. 28 in NIH Research Funding

Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine

  • No. 8 Physician Assistant Program. No. 4 among public universities.
  • No. 16 in Rural Medicine. No. 9 among public universities. 
  • No. 35 in Research. No. 13 among public universities. 
  • No. 40 in Primary Care. No. 32 among public universities. 
  • No. 55 Public Health Program. No. 34 among public universities. 
  • No. 36 in NIH Research Funding

School of Dentistry

  • No. 43 in NIH Research Funding

New MD Program

Imagine U Day
Medical and nursing students introduce local elementary schools kids to careers in health sciences at Imagine U Day.

The incoming class of 2023 at the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine was the first to experience our new Mission-Driven MD program. Its people-first curriculum emphasizes community, relationships, collaboration, and students’ professional identity formation. Longitudinal integrated clerkships and a first-of-its-kind student-led clinic network provide extended opportunities for deep learning. 

HPER East Research Center Opens

The College of Health celebrated research milestones with the completion of the HPER East Research Center, a state-of-the-art facility for biomechanics, rehabilitation, and kinesiology. It includes the first research-dedicated sleep lab at the U, a metabolic kitchen, and one of the most advanced balance and stability labs in the Mountain West. The college’s research trajectory continues to skyrocket with a record-setting $94 million research portfolio, an increase of more than $50 million since 2018.

Oral Health Care for Underresourced Populations

In 2023, the Utah Legislature passed Bill 18 – Medicaid Dental Waiver Amendments. This law lets the Utah Department of Health and Human Services request authorization from Medicaid to extend dental services to all Medicaid-eligible adults—with the School of Dentistry and its affiliated network as sole providers. This integrates oral care with primary medical and mental health services for optimal health outcomes. It also expands public oral health research efforts. 

75th Anniversary and Family Caregiving

U of U College of Nursing 1970s
College of Nursing students in the 1970s.

The College of Nursing celebrated its 75th anniversary with distinguished alumni, supporters, past and present faculty and staff, and students. This milestone marks a continued commitment to excellence, innovation, and dedication to health care education and practice. The college’s Family Caregiving Collaborative is part of a nationwide effort to support family caregivers. To recognize the contributions and sacrifices of these unsung heroes, Gov. Spencer Cox declared November 2023 as Family Caregiver Month in Utah

First Year Free for Pharmacy Students

Students from the incoming class of 2023 were the first to be a part of the “First Year Free” initiative, which officially launched this year at the College of Pharmacy. First Year Free is ongoing and covers first-year tuition costs for all new PharmD students. This amazing program makes PharmD education more accessible and affordable. It also encourages students from underrepresented communities to pursue health careers.

Library Retrofit

The Eccles Health Sciences Library began a major seismic retrofit. At 50 years young, ensuring its future safety will prolong its ability to provide space for collaboration, research consultation, and learning. The retrofit includes some remodeling conveniences: centralizing restrooms, ADA-compliant elevators, improving wayfinding, and opening space on exterior walls. Most of the library—and all its capabilities—has remained open during construction. Phase 1 of construction is complete and Phase 2 has begun in earnest with estimated completion in Fall 2024.

Research Innovations and Insights 


U of U Health researchers reached a new milestone, securing $521.5 million in research funding in fiscal year 2023, continuing 11 straight years of growth.    

Examples of high-impact research from the past year include:

MUSE breast cancer ablation system
MUSE breast cancer ablation system. Photo: Satoshi Minoshima
  • With $14 million in support over seven years from the National Institutes of Health, the University of Utah ELEVATE Maternal Health Research Center of Excellence, led by Torri Metz, MD, MS, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, aims to lower rates of pregnancy-related deaths. The center is committed to partnering with communities affected most—including rural and Native American populations—to change the story for pregnant people with substance use disorders in Utah and throughout the country.
Bone Bolt System
Bone Bolt System can be used to repair posterior pelvic fracture.
  • U of U Health researchers, led by Micah Drummond, PhD, professor of physical therapy and athletic training, discovered that Metformin—a common drug that has been used in diabetes treatment for more than half a century—can also prevent muscle atrophy and muscular fibrosis. The findings, published in Aging Cells, could help the elderly bounce back faster from injury or illness. The study was covered by more than 80 media outlets including the New York Post and U.S. News & World Report.
  • With a $17.5 million, five-year grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Matt Samore, MD, professor of internal medicine, is leading a collaborative research effort between scientists, health departments, and health systems in four states to provide data and tools that guide decisions to improve responses to emerging public health threats in the Mountain West.
  • Anna Docherty, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry at Huntsman Mental Health Institute, is corresponding author for a new study that identified 12 DNA variants—or variations in the human genetic code—associated with risk of attempting suicide. The research highlights genetic links between suicide and factors that influence physical and behavioral health—including impulsivity, smoking, chronic pain, ADHD, pulmonary conditions, and heart disease. The study was covered by more than 160 media outlets including U.S. News & World Report.

Major Awards and Recognition

Okuyemi, Pebbles Fagan Award
Kola Okuyemi, MD, PhD, receiving inaugural Pebbles Fagan Award.
2023 ELAM Fellows
2023 ELAM Fellows Erica Bisson, MD, MPH, (left) Molly Conroy, MD, MPH, (middle) with Michael Good, MD (right).

Expanded Care

Population Health Center Ribbon Cutting
Population Health Center ribbon cutting.
  • In 2023, the University of Utah Health Population Health Center opened near the Rose Park community of Salt Lake City to provide integrated medical, oral, and mental health care for historically under-resourced communities. The center is powered by an innovative partnership between the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine, School of Dentistry, and the Intensive Outpatient Clinic.
  • The Kathryn F. Kirk Center for Comprehensive Cancer Care and Women’s Cancer opened to patients in 2023. This increases the Huntsman Cancer Hospital’s inpatient capacity by nearly 50% and adds exam rooms, surgical suites, screening facilities and other services.
  • U of U Health received $4 million from the state legislature to continue operating its long COVID clinic. The clinic reduces the load on hospitals while offering dedicated space for continued treatment and improving patient outcomes. It also promotes public health by using new findings in long-term COVID-19 research and care.

Engaging and Serving the Community

  • U of U Health provided $232 million in uncompensated care for patients in fiscal year 2023.
  • U of U Health received $193 million in philanthropic support in fiscal year 2023.
  • U of U Health published the 2023 Report to Our Community. We also released the 2023-2026 Community Health Needs Assessments Report, which outlines our strategies for addressing health needs identified by the communities.
One Utah Health Collaborative signing event.
Gov. Cox holds signing event for One Utah Health Collaborative.

Campus Transformation

HELIX building
HELIX building open house.

I’m humbled to work alongside the incredible people who are the heart of U of U Health. We will continue to collaborate and innovate in service of our communities. Together, we are shaping the future of health care.



Michael Good, MD


Michael Good, MD

Michael Good is CEO of University of Utah Health and A. Lorris Betz Senior Vice President for Health Sciences. Good ensures the professional and educational success of 25,000 talented faculty, staff, and students who comprise U of U Health, one of the nation’s premier academic health systems. He received an MD from the University of Michigan and completed residency and a research fellowship in anesthesiology at the University of Florida.  

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