First woman CEO of health begins tenure

Marsha Rappley began at VCU on Aug. 15. PHOTO PROVIDED BY MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY

Marcus Blackwell
Staff Writer

Marsha Rappley began at VCU on Aug. 15. PHOTO PROVIDED BY MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY
Marsha Rappley began at VCU on Aug. 15. PHOTO PROVIDED BY MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY

Marsha Rappley is a practicing pediatrician, cancer survivor, mother of two and now, the first woman to lead VCU’s health operations.

As of Aug. 15, Rappley is officially the CEO of the VCU Health System and vice president of VCU health sciences after an eight year stint as the Michigan State University dean for the College of Human Medicine. Her new base salary is set at $800,000, as well as receiving other benefits such as an annual and long-range incentive plan from the University within her new position.

“The mission and the values of VCU are very much like those of MSU, leadership and service, science and health care to improve people’s lives,” Rappley said. “This is truly a model that our country needs, and I am honored to help lead it.”

The VCU Board of Visitors and VCU Health System Board of Directors announced Rappley’s hire during a joint meeting in June. Rappley’s predecessor, Sheldon Retchin, announced his departure from VCU to claim a new position at the Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center in February.

“I am very pleased that we have recruited such an inspirational, deeply experienced leader, clinician, and educator,” said VCU president Michael Rao. “(She) is prepared to join an exceptionally strong team at VCU to lead effectively amid health care industry challenges and to set the course for growing our research, education and clinical care missions.”

Prior to holding her Dean position at MSU, she held many other positions within the university, such as the associate dean for academic affairs and the interim chair of the Development of Pediatrics and Human Development.

In Rappley’s last four years at MSU, the health operation program endowments grew by 80 percent.

Rappley’s new domain will include the physician practice plan, the Medicaid health plan, the schools of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Dentistry and Allied Health Professions and the Massey Cancer Center.

She will also be responsible fortaking charge of VCU’s hospitals for outpatient clinics for children and adults, in addition to overseeing a Medicaid health maintenance organization that has over 175,000 members statewide.

Despite the challenges Rappley is set to encounter, VCU is confident that she will continue to improve the health program.

“She will be an ideal partner in advancing VCU and its academic medical center to national preeminence,” Rao said.

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