University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Medical Student Education

Weill Cornell’s Leonard Appointed Chair of Pathology at UVM/Fletcher Allen

Debra G.B. Leonard, M.D., Ph.D.
Debra G.B. Leonard, M.D., Ph.D.

University of Vermont College of Medicine Dean Frederick C. Morin III, M.D., and Fletcher Allen CEO John Brumsted, M.D., have announced the appointment of Debra G. B. Leonard, M.D., Ph.D., as professor and chair of pathology at the University of Vermont College of Medicine and physician leader of pathology and laboratory medicine at Fletcher Allen Health Care, effective April 2013.

Until then, Ronald Bryant, M.D., associate professor and director of clinical pathology, will continue as interim chair of pathology and director of laboratory medicine at the UVM/Fletcher Allen. He was appointed in March 2012 with the retirement of Edwin Bovill, M.D.

Leonard joins UVM/Fletcher Allen from Weill Cornell Medical College and New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, where she has been professor and vice chair of laboratory medicine in the department of pathology and laboratory medicine and director of clinical laboratories since 2004. She also served as chief diversity officer of Weill Cornell Medical College from 2009 to 2012.

A leading expert in molecular pathology for genetics, cancers and infectious diseases, Leonard is certified by the American Board of Pathology in anatomic pathology, and by the American Boards of Pathology and Medical Genetics in molecular genetic pathology. She currently is a member of the Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Translating Genomic-based Research for Health, and chair of the Personalized Healthcare Committee of the College of American Pathologists. Leonard previously served as a member of the Advisory Committee on Genetics Health and Society to former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael O. Leavitt, and was chair of the Stakeholders Group of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Program Evaluating Genomic Applications in Practice and Prevention. She has spoken widely on various molecular pathology testing services, the future of molecular pathology and the impact of gene patents on molecular pathology practice.

A 2003 Fellow at the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program at Drexel University, Leonard is a member of the College of American Pathologists and a founding member and former president (2000) of the Association for Molecular Pathology, which presented her with its Leadership Award in 2009. She is the editor of two textbooks on molecular pathology and has published over 80 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and reviews.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in biology from Smith College, Leonard graduated from the M.D./Ph.D. program at New York University, and then completed a residency in anatomic pathology, a post-doctoral fellowship in pathology and a surgical pathology fellowship at New York University Medical Center. She later joined the pathology faculty at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and the University Hospitals of Cleveland, and served as director of the clinical Molecular Pathology Laboratory and director of the Molecular Diagnosis and Genotyping Core Facility at the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

“In addition to being an outstanding scientist, clinician, and mentor, Dr. Leonard is also a dynamic leader and administrator, and we look forward to welcoming her to Vermont after the New Year,” says Morin.

David Warshaw, Ph.D., professor and chair of molecular physiology and biophysics, led the committee that conducted a national search for this position.