Roxane Townsend Named CEO of UAMS Medical Center

Roxane Townsend has been named CEO of UAMS Medical Center and vice chancellor for clinical programs for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, the school announced Thursday.

Townsend previously was assistant vice president for health systems at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, where she worked with the LSU system’s 10 hospitals. She will join UAMS on Feb. 1 and succeeds the retiring Richard Pierson, who will wrap up a 31-year career at UAMS at the end of the year.

Melissa Fontaine, the medical center's COO, will be interim CEO until February.

"Dr. Townsend brings experience as an administrator both of medical centers and in state health care administration that offers the strengths and skills needed at UAMS going forward as we meet the challenges of coming changes in health care," said UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn in a news release. "She has worked as a nurse, a physician and as a hospital administrator, which brings a unique perspective to her role as part of the UAMS mission to improve health and health care in Arkansas.

"I also want to thank Dick Pierson for his service to UAMS and to the state as he led our hospital and clinical programs through a period of growth and a never-wavering commitment to excellence."

Townsend's previous experience includes serving as CEO of the Interim LSU Public Hospital in New Orleans, Earl K. Long Medical Center in Baton Rouge and as CEO of the LSU Health Care Services Division.

Before joining LSU in 2007, she was appointed by Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco as secretary for the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals for the transition to a new administration, according to the release.

"I look forward to working with Chancellor Rahn and the UAMS team as we navigate the uncertainties in health care reform while remaining focused on delivering excellent and comprehensive care to our patients," Townsend said. "UAMS is well positioned for the future as the state’s only academic health center. It has a great reputation and strong support at the local, state and federal level that will allow it the opportunity to continue on its path."

Townsend received her nursing degree from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and her medical degree from LSU.