The group working on recommendations to merge three University of South Florida campuses has a new chairman.
Mike Griffin, senior managing director for Savills Studley Occupier Services, was appointed by the Florida Board of Governors to head the USF Consolidation Planning Study and Implementation Task Force. Griffin replaces Dr. Jonathan Ellen, who stepped down from leadership at the task force and other civic organizations after resigning as president and CEO of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
Ellen also resigned as board chair and trustee of the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg. He’s also no longer president of the board of the St. Pete Innovation District. Ellen played a major role in the development of both organizations.
Ellen was one of one of three Johns Hopkins All Children’s leaders to resign Tuesday, following reports about high death rates in the hospital’s pediatric cardiology program. Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Tampa) and Rep. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) called the change in leadership “a prudent first step,” and renewed an earlier call for a federal investigation.
The USF Consolidation Task Force is developing recommendations to phase out the separate accreditations of USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota-Manatee.
“I have complete confidence that this task force will continue its forward momentum under Mike Griffin’s leadership,” Ned Lautenbach, chair of the Board of Governors, said in a release.
With Griffin moving into the chairman’s position, which is appointed by the Board of Governors, USF Board of Trustees Chair Brian Lamb named Debbie Sembler to fill the vacant seat on the task force. Sembler is a former USF trustee and chair of the USF St. Petersburg campus board.
Ellen had been a board member since the inception of the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg, a private health foundation and the largest grantmaking foundation in St. Petersburg. He was named board chair in October 2017, succeeding founding board chair Steven Dupré.
Katurah Jenkins-Hall, who was vice chair of the foundation’s board, now is chair. Jenkins-Hall is a licensed clinical psychologist and the first African-American female to receive her Ph.D. in psychology from the University of South Florida in 1984, where she taught for 30 years before retiring in 2016.
The newly named interim president of the board of the Innovation District is Martin Tadlock, regional chancellor of USF St. Petersburg. Tadlock previously was vice president of the board of the district, a cluster of higher education, marine science, healthcare, business incubation and media institutions in a three-square-mile area south of downtown.
“We are thankful for the leadership of Dr. Jonathan Ellen,” Alison Barlow, Innovation District executive director, said in a statement. “In the new year, we look forward to our continued work with all of our partners as the Innovation District moves the City and our region forward.”
A representative from Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital will be named to the district board in the future, she said.
Ellen also chaired the board of the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida, a 14-member coalition whose board was made up of the leadership of the state’s teaching, public and children’s hospital. Because Ellen no longer holds a leadership position, he will no longer be on that board, a spokeswoman said.