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Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science

9/13/2010, 5 p.m.

LOS ANGELES - UCLA, USC, Kaiser Permanente and other organizations announced that a collaboration would take place to overhaul the leadership of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in the Watts-Willowbrook area.

"This is a timely and critical development for the health, productivity, and well-being of the residents of South Los Angeles,'' Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said.

"Charles R. Drew University is a health professions, research, and economic engine for the community, and I am thrilled that Los Angeles' leading health, academic and philanthropic institutions are committed to continuing CDU's pivotal role in our community and establishing a dynamic future for the university.''

Also taking part in the new leadership effort are The California Endowment, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Catholic Healthcare West.

The groups will work together to develop a new governance structure for the university, create a management team and reorganize the board of trustees.

"CDU's Board of Trustees are pleased to have collaborated with the leaders of these civic-minded institutions to forge a new future for the university,'' said Bart Williams, immediate past chair of the board. "This effort will allow CDU to continue to train the next generation of health
professionals who serve our community.

"Our outgoing board members want to acknowledge the leadership role that Dr. Keith Norris has played as interim president and CEO during a difficult financial period at the University.''

Norris will stay with the university as vice president of research at CDU.

Robert K. Ross, president and CEO of The California Endowment, said the group has acted "with a sense of urgency to protect and preserve a historic institution. These are difficult economic times. The CDU Collaboration was formed to prevent the loss of a significant health research and medical education resource in Los Angeles.''