Assistant dean and longtime faculty member appointed to new leadership roles at WMed

Karen Horneffer-Ginter, PhD
Karen Horneffer-Ginter, PhD

An assistant dean and a longtime faculty member in the Department of Biomedical Sciences have been appointed to new leadership roles at the medical school.

Karen Horneffer-Ginter, PhD, transitioned from assistant dean for Culture and Wellness to associate dean for Culture and Wellness, effective April 1. Dr. Horneffer-Ginter joined WMed in July 2018 as the inaugural assistant dean for Wellness. 

In 2020, she took on additional responsibilities focused on culture at WMed, including leading strategic planning around culture and chairing the Culture Committee, one of the medical school’s standing committees. The importance of fostering a positive and inspiring culture at WMed is underscored by the designation of culture as the sixth pillar in WMed’s strategic plan. 

Dr. Horneffer-Ginter’s new title comes as a recognition of the key role of culture in the medical school’s strategic plan, and also recognizes her role in successes at the medical school in embracing and enhancing culture and wellness. While her title is new, Dr. Horneffer-Ginter will continue to partner with faculty, staff, residents, fellows, students, and other leaders to advance organizational and individual well-being within the WMed community.

“WMed is an exceptional place and I feel honored to have the opportunity to collaborate with so many dedicated and passionate colleagues, students, and residents,” Dr. Horneffer-Ginter said. “This year has certainly highlighted how much work there is to do at a national and organizational level to foster a culture we can truly be proud of. It has also reminded us of the importance of supporting ourselves and those around us during difficult times. It’s a gift to be able to participate in such meaningful work.”

Christopher Keator, PhD
Christopher Keator, PhD

Meanwhile, Christopher Keator, PhD, has been named as the new assistant dean for Laboratory Animal Resources at WMed, also effective April 1. The animal research program at WMed began in 2016 and has grown substantially since then in conjunction with the formation last year of the Department of Investigative Medicine. The creation of Dr. Keator’s new role will contribute to the strategic goal of supporting the evolution and growth of the research program at WMed.

Dr. Keator joined WMed in 2014 as a faculty member in the Department of Biomedical Sciences. Since then, he has held various leadership roles at WMed. He is the founding chair of the WMed Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and directs a team that built the administrative structure required to run the medical school’s animal program. In 2019, he helped the program earn full accreditation from the AAALAC, which is globally recognized as the animal care and use “gold standard.” 

Dr. Keator earned both his master’s degree and PhD in Animal Science from the University of Connecticut and completed a five-year postdoctoral research fellowship at the Oregon National Primate Research Center.

In his new role, Dr. Keator will support and facilitate the IACUC focus on their important regulatory role.