February 22, 2022
TO: All UMMC Faculty, Staff and Students
FROM: Dr. LouAnn Woodward, Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, Dean, School of Medicine
SUBJECT: Appointments of Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Scott Rodgers, professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, as associate vice chancellor for academic affairs.Dr. Rodgers will succeed Dr. Ralph Didlake, who has served admirably in that role since July 2013 and will retire as associate vice chancellor and professor of surgery on March 31.Accordingly, I am pleased to announce an additional appointment: Dr. Natalie Gaughf, professor of population health science and interim dean of the John D. Bower School of Population Health, will be working with Dr. Rodgers as assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs.Pending IHL Board of Trustees approval, Dr. Rodgers and Dr. Gaughf will begin their new roles effective April 1, 2022.Dr. Rodgers is a proven and dynamic leader in all three of our mission areas. In seven years as department chair, he has transformed the Department of Psychiatry to new levels of excellence in clinical care, research and education.A native of Decatur, Georgia, and a former science teacher in Atlanta, Dr. Rodgers completed his undergraduate work, double major in German and Zoology, at Duke University and then earned his medical degree at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He did his residency training at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, before completing his fellowship there in child and adolescent psychiatry.Before joining UMMC in December 2014, Dr. Rodgers served as associate dean for medical student affairs and associate professor of education and medical administration at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and as associate professor of psychiatry at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.He has a deep understanding of student affairs and student support from his time at Vanderbilt, where he developed and led nationally-recognized programs. In addition, he possesses a broad set of experiences in successfully leading and supporting education programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.At UMMC, Dr. Rodgers has heightened his excellent record as an educator. Among the honors he has earned since joining the faculty are the Trailblazer Teaching Award from the Office of Medical Education, in 2017; and the 2018 Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. The former vice chair for the Southern Group on Student Affairs for the Association of American Medical Colleges, he has taken on leadership roles for a variety of committees at UMMC as well.A superb clinician himself, Dr. Rodgers has recruited outstanding faculty and other professionals to join his department, which has grown in external research funding by more than 175 percent since 2017. His leadership has benefitted a variety of clinical and educational programs, organizations and initiatives at UMMC.A fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Dr. Rodgers has made dozens of invited presentations, as well as peer-reviewed poster presentations, and has co-authored many peer-reviewed articles.Please join me in welcoming Dr. Rodgers in his role as associate vice chancellor for academic affairs.Dr. Gaughf, who joined the Medical Center faculty in 2003, has served in a variety of leadership and faculty roles, including associate dean for student affairs for the School of Population Health, acting executive director of the Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities, and director of the Office of Academic Support.In 2002, Dr. Gaughf earned a PhD in counseling psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi and did her residency in clinical psychology at the VA Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System in Biloxi. A year later, at UMMC, she completed a health psychology postdoctoral fellowship in primary care.In the School of Dentistry at UMMC, she has held faculty or leadership positions in the Department of Care Planning and Restorative Sciences, the ACT Center for Tobacco Treatment, Education and Research; the Department of Pediatric and Public Health Dentistry; and Faculty Research Development.In the School of Medicine, she has had faculty appointments in the Department of Family Medicine and the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.Dr. Gaughf’s service on committees, advisory boards and task forces at UMMC is vast, as is her list of peer-reviewed publications, poster presentations and professional presentations. She is the co-author of two book chapters.Her honors include the President’s Award for Dedication and Commitment to the Organization from the Mississippi Psychological Association. In 2021, she was a nominee for the Group on Women in Medicine and Science Helen B. Barnes, MD Diversity and Inclusion Award at UMMC. Since 2016, she has served on the Mississippi Board of Psychology.Please join me in welcoming Dr. Gaughf in her role as assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs.I also ask you to join me in thanking Dr. Didlake for his many years of exemplary service to UMMC. At my request, he agreed to take on the position of associate vice chancellor for academic affairs almost nine years ago; he has touched numerous lives through his leadership and contributions, and has been a trusted colleague and wise counsel to us all. In the journey through life, it is a rare honor to work with someone as wonderful and selfless as Ralph. He will be greatly missed.Thank you.