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New management at the Department of Clinical Medicine

On 1 December, the Department of Clinical Medicine will get three new deputy heads of department – for education, research and talent, respectively. This is one more than originally planned, with the reason being that Department Head Jørgen Frøkiær came to a realisation along the way.

2018.10.31 | Nanna Jespersgård

Vibeke Hjortdal is Deputy Head of Department for Talent. Photo: Lars Kruse, AU.

Jens Christian Hedemann Sørensen is Deputy Head of Department for Research. Photo: Lars Kruse, AU.

Niels Uldbjerg is Deputy Head of Department for Education. Photo: John Kristensen, AUH.

Vibeke Hjortdal, Niels Uldbjerg and Jens Christian Hedemann Sørensen are the trio of experienced senior hospital physicians and professors and chairs who will be managing the Department of Clinical Medicine from 1 December together with Department Head Jørgen Frøkiær and Secretariat Manager Linda Ibsen.

The new deputy heads of department have been appointed within the central areas of research (Jens Christian Hedemann Sørensen), talent (Vibeke Hjortdal) and education (Niels Uldbjerg) – but according to Jørgen Frøkiær, it’s important not to get too caught up in titles. He emphasises that the areas are in practice so closely interconnected that they can only be dealt with via a similarly close collaboration among management within the respective areas. For this reason, the new deputy heads of department will spend between two and three working days a week with new tasks aimed at strengthening the management at the Department of Clinical Medicine.

"I ended up appointing three rather than the two deputy department heads I originally planned because during the interviews I became convinced that Vibeke, Jens Christian and Niels have some very different professional and personal qualities that complement each other in a very exciting way," says Department Head Jørgen Frøkiær.

"I hadn’t expected that when the two positions were advertised, but I came to realise it along the way. I’m convinced that the set-up will benefit the department's employees. Both here in Aarhus and at the regional hospitals," says Jørgen Frøkiær.

Good conditions – also for the university clinics

The regional hospitals will be a focal point for the new deputy head of department for talent, 57-year-old Vibeke Hjortdal, who is employed as professor, department chair and consultant in cardiopulmonary surgery at Aarhus University Hospital.

"I look at the job as a unique opportunity to help create the best possible framework for academic work and for researchers at the university and university clinics," says Vibeke Hjortdal.

The new deputy head of department for research, 58-year-old Jens Christian Hedemann Sørensen, who is employed as clinical professor and chair and consultant at the Department of Neurosurgery, Aarhus University Hospital, highlights the cooperation with the clinical area as a high priority. Not least at a time when the department's many research functions need to be integrated into the new physical surroundings in Skejby – with all the hassle and rummaging around that large-scale relocation projects inevitably entail.

Without research management, development would cease

"In addition, I will continue to work to integrate research at clinical medicine with the rest of the research at Health and AU. I think that in general, research management is a central factor in achieving new research results, entering into international collaboration and securing external funding – these are the reasons why I applied for the position," says Jens Christian Hedemann Sørensen.

Both he and Vibeke Hjortdal will continue as professor and chairs but will stop with some other tasks after 1 December. Vibeke Hjortdal will have less work with patients, and Jens Christian Hedemann Sørensen says goodbye to both some of the clinical work as well as the direct lecturing of students on the head-neuro semester.

Enthusiasm must be nurtured

The new deputy head of department for education, 65-year-old Niels Uldbjerg, comes from a position as professor, department chair and consultant at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. One of Niels Uldbjerg’s first tasks will be the reform of the degree programme, where he will, among other things, work to ensure that a level of enthusiasm is maintained among professors, associate professors and hospital staff.

"I’ve had many teaching assignments, including a few years on the board of studies, and I’ve been professor and chair for almost fifteen years. With my background, it’s great to get the chance to finish off with a task that I really look forward to doing where I believe I’ve got something to offer too," says Niels Uldbjerg.

In connection with the management post, Niels Uldbjerg will stop working the night shifts that have been part of his identity as an obstetrician. He will also stop as a lecturer on the international semester and will also relinquish his title of professor and chair during the next year.

Experienced people in a new constellation

Vibeke Hjortdal, Niels UIdbjerg and Jens Christian Hedemann Sørensen have all previously been part of the management team at the Department of Clinical Medicine. In the case of Niels Uldbjerg and Jens Christian Hedemann Sørensen, up until the summer holidays this year, while Vibeke Hjortdal was in a period from 2011 to 2015. All of them were what were known as professor, centre chairs and members of the department's management forum, which was structured like the no longer existing centre at Aarhus University Hospital. The three now look forward to starting as new deputy heads of department, as is Jørgen Frøkiær:

"It will be good to get to grips with the department's new organisation and its various chains of command, so we can make sure that everyone knows who they refer to and where they can find – and seek out – information. Of course, we’ll keep the department's employees updated on any important news," says Jørgen Frøkiær. 


Department Head Jørgen Frøkiær
Deputy Head of Department for Research , Jens Christian Hedemann Sørensen
Deputy Head of Department for Talent Vibeke Hjortdal
Deputy Head of Department for Education Niels Uldbjerg

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