Dr. Romberger named interim chair of internal medicine

by Tom O’Connor, UNMC public relations

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Debra Romberger, M.D.

Debra Romberger, M.D. A veteran faculty member of 24 years, Debra Romberger, M.D., has been selected as interim chair of the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine.

The appointment, effective July 1, was announced Friday by Bradley Britigan, M.D., dean of the College of Medicine.

“Dr. Romberger is an outstanding clinician, teacher and investigator who brings a wealth of experience and leadership to the department,” he said. “I am very grateful to Deb for her willingness to take on this highly important leadership position at a time of many challenges in academic medicine.”

For the past nine years, Lynell Klassen, M.D., has served as chair of the department. He announced eight months ago his plans to step down from the position and return to a faculty position in the rheumatology division, continuing his clinical, research and teaching activities.

“I would like to express the college’s and my gratitude to Dr. Klassen for the tremendous job that he has done during his term as chair of the department,” Dr. Britigan said. “Under his leadership the department has seen major growth and development in a number of important areas. We wish him continued success in the next phase of his career.”

This marks Dr. Romberger’s second stint as interim chair of internal medicine. She served in this capacity for 20 months prior to Dr. Klassen becoming chair in 2005.

With more than 180 physicians and scientists, internal medicine is the largest department within the UNMC College of Medicine. The department is organized by disease specialty into 10 divisions.

Dr. Romberger is professor in the division of pulmonary, critical care, sleep and allergy medicine. Since 2000, she has served as vice chair of research for internal medicine. For the past eight years, she also has held the post of associate chief of staff for research for the VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System.

“I am grateful to be a part of the internal medicine department with its talented faculty, trainees, and staff,” Dr. Romberger said. “Under Dr. Klassen’s leadership, the department has grown in its recognition around the country. It is my goal to help us continue to move forward as a dynamic department through the various changes in academic medicine and health care in general.”

A search committee for the internal medicine chair was announced in February with Carl Smith, M.D., chair of the UNMC Department of OB/GYN and president of UNMC Physicians, heading the committee.

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