LouAnn Woodward, M.D., has served as the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the UMMC School of Medicine since March 1, 2015. She is the first woman to be appointed to either of those roles.
She served previously as associate vice chancellor for health affairs and vice dean of the UMMC School of Medicine.
A native of Carroll County, she grew up on a farm in the small community of Jefferson. At Mississippi State University, she was torn between becoming a teacher and becoming a physician. Eventually, she realized she could be both.
At UMMC, she completed her medical degree and a residency in emergency medicine – a profession that requires quick, critical, often life-or-death decision-making, sometimes with incomplete information, which prepared her to lead.
As a faculty member in emergency medicine, she joined the administration in 2003 and began working closely with Medical Center leaders on a long-term, successful effort to lift UMMC out of its traditional role as a charity hospital and to live up to its mission as a true academic medical center.
Even before becoming CEO of the Medical Center, Woodward had taken the lead in a number of efforts to move in the direction of what she has coined as the institution’s overall goal: “A Healthier Mississippi.”
She led efforts to expand the size of the medical school class size from 100 to 165. In coordination with the growth in medical school class size has been the growth of graduate medical education slots.
She was instrumental in the acquisition of a hospital in Grenada, to serve as a hub to reach residents in north-central Mississippi. And she has been a champion for the growth of the institution’s nationally-recognized telehealth program.
In 2017, the Mississippi Legislature passed the Heath Care Collaboration Act, which allowed for pursuit of a joint venture arrangement with Merit Health Madison hospital.
She was the prime mover in the development of the sixth school on the UMMC campus, the John D. Bower School of Population Health. And she led the charge to raise $100 million in private money for an expanded children’s hospital, the largest capital campaign in Medical Center history.
Clinical services have grown tremendously both in Jackson and across the state in many service lines for which UMMC is the only provider for Mississippi. Focused work toward the achievement of National Cancer Institute designation has begun and will continue for many years in efforts to improve cancer care and outcomes for the citizens of our state.
Woodward is an active member of several professional organizations and is a fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians. She is a tenured professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine.
In 2013, she was appointed to the national medical schools accrediting body, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, and in 2016 she was named chair-elect of the LCME, effective July 2017. In 2021, she was named a member of the Administrative Board of the Association of American Medical College’s Council of Deans and, in 2022, began a one-year stint as chair of the AAMC Board of Directors.
Woodward and her husband Jon live in Madison and are the parents of four children and have one grandchild. She is an avid reader and enjoys spending time with family.