The Board of Trustees at Western University of Health Sciences (WesternU) has named Robin Farias-Eisner, MD, PhD, MBA, its third president. Dr. Farias-Eisner will begin his tenure at WesternU on March 1, 2022.
“The WesternU Board of Trustees was unanimous in its selection of Dr. Farias-Eisner,” said Elizabeth Zamora, chair of the WesternU Board of Trustees. “Dr. Farias-Eisner’s distinguished career as a scholar and practitioner, as well as his commitment to excellence, make him the ideal next president of WesternU.”
Farias-Eisner joins WesternU most recently from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, where he was the Director of the Henry Lynch Comprehensive Cancer Research Center and Chief Academic Officer in the School of Medicine. He was also Associate Dean of Women’s Health and Professor and Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the School of Medicine at Creighton.
Prior to his appointment at Creighton, Dr. Farias-Eisner spent much of his career at University of California, Los Angeles. In 1992, he completed a fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology and spent the next 30 years working to improve the health of women in underserved communities in South Los Angeles who were critically ill, many of whom were battling cancer diagnoses. Throughout his career, he has been a pioneer in surgical procedures being used to treat gynecologic malignancies. Not only a skilled clinician, Dr. Farias-Eisner is also a skilled researcher and fundraiser.
Farias-Eisner and his laboratory team were the first to identify a family of proteins that can serve as accurate serum biomarkers for the diagnosis of early ovarian cancer. In 2009, his laboratory was issued a patent for this intellectual property, which was later licensed to Quest Laboratories and distributed commercially in the form of an effective and clinically impactful biomarker diagnostic assay. Subsequently, Farias-Eisner’s research has focused on new drug discovery by carrying out Investigational New Drug-enabling in vitro and in vivo studies in his laboratories at UCLA and Creighton University. The result has been the creation of a multi-asset portfolio of novel drug candidates representing a unique family of efficacious anti-cancer therapeutic agents. During his tenure at UCLA, Farias-Eisner raised millions of dollars to facilitate quality research to support the identification of novel treatments for ovarian cancer.
“Not only does Dr. Farias-Eisner have impeccable credentials, but he embodies WesternU’s values,” said the Hon. Consuelo M. Callahan, vice chair of the Board of Trustees. “His career is replete with examples of championing values that embody humanism with respect to teamwork, empathy, trust and respect. We couldn’t be more delighted to bring Dr. Farias-Eisner to WesternU.”
Nobel Laureate Lou Ignarro states, “Robin is an outstanding surgeon-scientist who exemplifies humanism, compassion, caring, and integrity in medicine.”
During Farias-Eisner’s career, he has been the recipient of several elite honors and awards. In 2012, he received the Sherman M. Mellinkoff Dean’s Award from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. This is a coveted lifetime achievement award that has been awarded to a clinician-scientist who exemplifies the art of medicine through teaching, integrity, character and outstanding physician-patient relationships. He has also been the recipient of the 2011 Serge & Yvette Dadone Distinguished Faculty Patient Care and Clinical Teaching Award for unparalleled excellence in patient care. Dr. Farias-Eisner is Professor Emeritus at the University of California.
“As the first graduate of WesternU and current board member, I am struck by Robin’s passion and compassion for medical education,” said Richard A. Bond, member of the Board of Trustees. “He shares the board’s vision that WesternU can be a place of international pre-eminence.”
Farias-Eisner, who is of Latin origin and fluent in French, Italian, Spanish and English, has a decorated academic pedigree that includes a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from UCLA, a medical doctorate degree from the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland, a PhD in Molecular Biology from UCLA, and an MBA from the Graziadio School of Business Management at Pepperdine University. Farias-Eisner and his spouse, Terry, a retired psychiatric nurse, have a family home in Calabasas where they raised five children (a plastic surgeon, two attorneys and two financial investors) and now have two grandchildren.
“I am humbled and honored to be the next president of WesternU,” said Robin Farias-Eisner. “WesternU’s mission of producing health care professionals in a humanistic tradition instantly drew me to the institution. Not only is WesternU guided by core values that deeply align with mine, but my entire career has been about advocating for equity, inclusion, respect, empathy and trust. I am excited to begin my journey with our campus community and engage with WesternU’s world-class faculty, students and staff.”
The Board of Trustees would like to thank Dr. Sylvia Manning, who has served as interim president. She will continue in that role until Dr. Farias-Eisner’s tenure begins on March 1, 2022.