Medical school dean to step down after decade of service

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – After leading Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine for 10 years, Dean Joseph I. Shapiro has announced he will step down from his position June 30 and will assume a tenured faculty position at the school.

“I have been honored to direct the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine this past decade, and I am very proud of what we have accomplished during that time,” Shapiro said. “However, 10 years is a long time to lead a medical school. After deep personal reflection and discussions with [Marshall University] President Smith, we have agreed that the school of medicine would benefit from a change in leadership at the end of this academic year, allowing me to focus my energies on research, teaching and clinical practice.”

Shapiro was appointed dean in March 2012, shortly after the Liaison Committee on Medical Education had placed the school of medicine on probation. He is credited with tirelessly leading the school’s efforts to regain accreditation, and the probation was lifted in October 2013.

The school continued to grow and prosper under his leadership. Grant awards have more than tripled, new academic programs were started, including a master’s degree in clinical and translational science, a physician assistant program and a seven-year accelerated B.S. to M.D. program; residency and fellowship training programs have more than doubled; and the online Marshall Journal of Medicine was launched.

Shortly after arriving, Shapiro formed a Division of Addiction Sciences focused on the care, treatment and research of substance use disorder, and in 2018, a residential treatment facility, Project Hope for Women & Children, and a treatment hub, the Provider Response Organization for Addiction Care & Treatment (PROACT), opened.

Shapiro also is known for his commitment to reducing medical student loan debt. In 2015, he established a scholarship for the university’s medical school students in honor of his wife Mary Ryan Shapiro.

Marshall University President Brad D. Smith saluted Shapiro for his accomplishments and work on behalf of the medical school.

Smith said, “Joe is a dear friend and cherished colleague. I remain eternally grateful for the magnitude of contributions he has made to our institution and the science he has led over these many years, and I wish him the best as he looks toward his next chapter.”

Smith said a national search will be conducted to find Shapiro’s successor. Smith has appointed Dr. Bobby L. Miller, the school’s vice dean of medical education, to serve as interim dean, effective July 1.

A nephrologist for more than 40 years, Shapiro has received numerous awards for his scholarship, teaching, research and institutional citizenship, including induction into Alpha Omega Alpha, Fellowship and Mastership in the American College of Physicians, American Society of Nephrology and the American Heart Association, and the Arnold P. Gold Humanism in Medicine Award. In 2019, he was honored by Mastership in the American College of Physicians, an honor bestowed on fewer than one percent of the members of the organization of internal medicine physicians.

He maintains board certification in both internal medicine and nephrology and is perennially listed on the various “top doctors” lists, including Castle Connelly. During his career, Shapiro has received more than $50 million dollars in research funding and has authored more than 300 scientific articles and book chapters. He also has been active as an entrepreneur, holding 16 patents on medical inventions and starting several companies based on scientific discoveries. 

He previously served as associate dean for business development and chair of the department of medicine at the University of Toledo College of Medicine in Toledo, Ohio, and prior to joining the faculty at Toledo, taught at the University of Colorado.

A native of Newark, New Jersey, Shapiro received his medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in 1980. He earned his bachelor of arts degree in mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania. After completing a medical residency in internal medicine at Georgetown University, he trained as a fellow in renal diseases at the University of Colorado.


Media Contact:  Sheanna M. Spence, Director of External Affairs, Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, 304-691-1639

Date Posted: Wednesday, May 25, 2022