Dr. Bruce T. Liang Named Interim CEO of UConn Health

'I hope to fulfill the great potential and promise of UConn Health,' says Liang, who begins his role Feb. 1

Dr. Bruce Liang, dean of UConn School of Medicine, has been appointed by UConn Health's Board of Directors as the Interim CEO of UConn Health and Executive Vice President of Health Affairs. He begins his new role on Feb. 1, 2022. (Paul Horton/UConn Photo)

On Thursday, Jan. 27 the UConn Health Board of Directors held a special meeting to endorse the University’s appointment of Dr. Bruce T. Liang as UConn Health’s Interim CEO and Executive Vice President of Health Affairs. His appointment is effective Feb. 1.

He will serve as successor to Dr. Andrew Agwunobi, CEO of UConn Health since 2015, who will assist with the transition until he leaves later in February for a new position in private industry.

Dr. Bruce T. Liang is also a physician-scientist. He serves as Director of the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center and the
Ray Neag Distinguished Professor of Cardiovascular Biology and Medicine. (UConn Health Photo)

“I am humbled and honored to be asked to serve as the Interim CEO of UConn Health and with the privilege to work with our Interim President Dr. Radenka Maric,” Liang told the board.

Liang is an internationally recognized cardiovascular physician-scientist and national leader in academic medicine. He will continue to serve as dean of UConn School of Medicine and the Ray Neag Distinguished Professor of Cardiovascular Biology and Medicine. Liang first joined UConn Health in 2002 as a physician-scientist faculty member and was appointed dean of the medical school in 2015. As dean he has led to new heights UConn’s advancement of medicine, medical education, and research.

“The board has come to know Dr. Liang over the last many years. We know of his great talent, vision and commitment to the mission of the medical school as well as UConn Health,” said Sanford Cloud, Jr., chairman of the UConn Health Board of Directors. “He is well-qualified to be named interim executive vice president.”

Liang shared his excitement to have the opportunity to work more broadly with such excellent leaders at UConn Health and its Schools.

“I hope to fulfill the great potential and promise of UConn Health,” Liang said. “We will strive to advance the very positive trajectory in our tripartite missions of excellence in quality and safety of clinical care, of continuing growth as the single-largest source of physicians, dentists, surgeons, and public health experts for the state of Connecticut. Also, continue to grow as a science and innovation hub in collaboration with our colleagues at UConn Storrs, the School of Dental Medicine, and our close partner The Jackson Laboratory.

Dr. Liang has been dean of UConn School of Medicine since 2015. The UConn Schools of Medicine and Dental Medicine are celebrating their 50th anniversaries of producing future physicians and dentists for Connecticut. UConn Health is Connecticut’s No.1 producer of medical and dental professionals. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

“We will also advance the missions of community collaboration with our faculty, staff, and students who provide valuable volunteer services ranging from vaccination collaborations with community healthcare workers…to serving the underserved communities.”

During the special meeting, Cloud also thanked departing CEO Agwunobi for his exemplary service to UConn Health.

“Andy, we all want to thank you for your outstanding leadership over the last several years. You have led the transformation of UConn Health in every way, including its growth. You have been an extraordinary leader. We wish you the very best,” said Cloud.

“Andy leaves behind a very, very powerful legacy here,” said UConn Board of Trustees Chairman Daniel Toscano.

“I am grateful to Dr. Andy for his transformative leadership at UConn Health,” Liang said.

In 2021, Liang led the School of Medicine’s 50th anniversary celebration of its generational community impact in producing five decades of new physicians, surgeons, scientists, and community leaders to serve the state of Connecticut and beyond while increasing diversity and health equity in academic medicine. In fact, U.S. News & World Report has named it as one of the 10 most diverse medical schools in the nation, as 23% of its student body are from underrepresented groups in medicine.

Under Liang’s leadership the medical school has received record-breaking research grant funding of over $100 million year after year. He also has overseen the school’s successful implementation of a new-age, team-based and patient-centered four-year curriculum since 2016, better preparing future physicians for the rapidly evolving health care field. In fact, UConn was the first medical school in the nation to eliminate lectures, and continues to offer early, hands-on clinical care exposure at the very start of medical school, along with the integration of basic sciences education. The school also has completed several successful LCME accreditation surveys under Liang’s leadership, and is highly ranked nationally among public medical schools as No. 30 in primary care and No. 31 in research by U.S. News & World Report.

As an active researcher, Liang’s cutting-edge translational research contributions have advanced scientific knowledge about heart disease. His research has been continuously funded since 1986 by the NIH, the American Heart Association, and the US Department of Defense. He is widely published in the areas of cardiac myocyte, intact heart biology, and heart failure translational research. His latest research investigations have developed a new potential medication for advanced heart failure patients. This research, jointly performed with scientists at the NIH, has received patents from the United States and European Union.

Liang is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), American College of Cardiology, and the American Heart Association, and is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of University Cardiologists, the Council on Clinical Cardiology and Basic Cardiovascular Sciences, and the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering. He has been consistently named one of America’s Top Doctors and Best Doctors in America for cardiovascular disease care.

Prior to joining UConn Health in 2002, for 13 years he served the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine as associate professor of medicine and pharmacology. Liang received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard in biochemistry and molecular biology and his medical degree from Harvard Medical College. He completed his internal medicine internship and residency training at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and cardiology fellowship training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.