Ricardo Azziz

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Ricardo Azziz
Dr. Ricardo Azziz.jpg
President of Georgia Regents University
Term 2013[1] Present
Predecessor (Position created)
President of Medical College of Georgia,[2] Georgia Health Sciences University
Term 2010[2] 2013
Predecessor Daniel W. Rahn
Successor (University dissolved)
Born (1958-03-25) March 25, 1958 (age 56)
Montevideo, Uruguay
Alma mater University of Puerto Rico
Penn State University
Georgetown University
Residence Augusta, Georgia, United States
Profession University president
Chief executive officer of Georgia Regents Health System
Website http://www.gru.edu/president/

Ricardo Azziz is the founding president of Georgia Regents University (GRU) in Augusta, Georgia (USA), and chief executive officer[3] of its health system.[4] He also serves as a professor in GRU's departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medicine, Medical Humanities, and is a researcher in the field of reproductive endocrinology, specifically androgen excess disorders.[5] He is a recognized national and international leader in the field of reproductive endocrinology and surgery.

He became president of then-Medical College of Georgia[2][6] (MCG) and CEO of its health system in July 2010. The university was renamed Georgia Health Sciences University (GHSU), and later consolidated with Augusta State University in January 2013 to form Georgia Regents University.

Azziz is a senior mentor of the Network of Minority Research Investigators of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases[7][8] and representative of the American Association of Medical Colleges on the Council of Academic Societies . A fellow of both the American College of Surgeons and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, he d has authored six textbooks, more than 150 chapters and reviews, and over 200 peer-reviewed articles.[8]

He is also a visual artist and the creator of a significant portfolio of work, primarily pen-and-ink drawings reminiscent of the Surrealist style of the early 20th century.[9]


Ricardo Azziz was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1958. His early years were spent in nomadic excursions from Uruguay to Puerto Rico to Costa Rica with his parents while they engaged in Ph.D.-level research before returning to Puerto Rico to begin his collegiate studies.[8]

Azziz earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology/pre-med, graduating magna cum laude from the University of Puerto Rico, in Mayaguez. He then enrolled in the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine in Hershey for medical school, graduating in 1981. Following an internship and residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., Azziz completed a fellowship in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.[8]

Azziz later earned his M.P.H. in General Theory and Practice in 1995 from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and his M.B.A. from UAB in 2000, graduating with honors as he was inducted in the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).[2]

Early career[edit]

Prior to his appointment as president, Dr. Azziz was the Helping Hand of Los Angeles Chair in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he also served as director of the Center for Androgen Related Disorders. During his tenure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and UCLA, Azziz led institution-wide initiatives to measure and improve faculty productivity, new faculty development and retention, and academic excellence. He also served as health systems executive for one of the largest providers of OB/GYN services in California, in one of the largest free-standing medical centers in the Western United States.[10] Under his leadership, the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology consistently ranked among the top 30 institutions providing gynecologic services in U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best Hospitals survey.[11] At the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, he was a professor, vice chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the assistant dean for Clinical and Translational Sciences.[12]

In 2005 Azziz was appointed by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee, the regulatory body for the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine.[13]

Before arriving in Los Angeles, Azziz taught at the University of Alabama at Birmingham from 1987 to 2002, where he served in a variety of faculty positions in the departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Medicine.[14]

Azziz led the creation of an international nonprofit organization, the Androgen Excess & Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Society, and in 2002 was named the founding Executive Director.[15] He served in that capacity until 2007. He is the former president and a former board member of the Society of Reproductive Surgeons and also formerly served on the board of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.[13]

Other past positions include serving as a representative to the Council of Academic Societies of the American Association of Medical Colleges; former chairman of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Advisory Committee on Reproductive Health Drugs; former member of the Reproductive Endocrinology Study Section of the National Institutes of Health (NIH); former member of the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine; member of the Data and Safety Monitoring Board panel for the National Institute of Health/National Child Health and Human Development Reproductive Medicine Network; and past president of the Pennsylvania State College of Medicine Alumni Society.[16]

MCG/GHSU/GRU presidency[edit]

In July 2010, Georgia state and school officials launched a new governance structure that put the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) clinical system back in the hands of the president. Thus when Azziz assumed the presidency, he took the helm of the MCG Health System/Medical College of Georgia integration effort, which then-University System of Georgia chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. called a “tremendously complex and extremely technical undertaking.” The two entities had operated independently until then-governor Sonny Perdue signed a law that created a new overarching entity, MCG Health System Inc., with Azziz as its board chair and CEO. MCG Health Inc., which operated the hospital and clinics, and Physicians Practice Group, which handled the physicians billing and insurance, began to report to MCG Health System.[6]

Within a month, Azziz launched the Enterprise-Wide Strategic Planning initiative, which sought solutions in four primary areas: educational excellence, research growth, clinical integration/development, and workforce development. He also created a Faculty Satisfaction Action Team that relied on recommendations from the University Faculty Senate. The team began to address faculty concerns related to administrative bureaucracy, communications and development, and reward and recognition.[17]

In September 2010, Azziz asked for state approval to change the institution’s name from Medical College of Georgia to Georgia Health Sciences University to further the goal of elevating the university’s national profile. Studies had shown the relative lack of branding power the name “Medical College of Georgia” had among faculty and administrators the university was interested in recruiting; a majority did not know it was a full health sciences university.[9] In 2011, the University System of Georgia Board of Regents approved the name change to GHSU, and the MCG-affiliated hospitals changed their names to keep in alignment with the brand identity.[18] The integrated academic medical center brought a strong credit rating from Moody’s with the accompanying statement predicting, “… that MCG will benefit from its strengthened relationship with the Georgia Health Sciences University …”[19]

Shortly after integration, GHSU announced a teaching partnership with University Hospital that allowed students to complete rotations in particular specialties at University.[20]

Azziz led the development of a strategic plan to guide GHSU over the next decade with the goal of becoming a world-class institution. The plan, called "Transformation 2020," highlighted organizational values to dictate future decision-making processes, which Azziz expanded on in his official blog.[21] He was named to Georgia Trend’s 100 Influential Georgians for a second consecutive year in 2012, in part due to the strategic plan’s scope and vision.[22]

Azziz was a central figure in the GHSU-ASU consolidation, and formed the Consolidation Working Team that helped with marketing research to determine the name of the new institution. Azziz led the development of a new strategic plan called "Transition Forward" to articulate the mission, vision, and values of the consolidated university and map out the strategies and tactics for achieving them. Upon consolidation, GRU became Georgia's newest comprehensive research university, in addition to being the state's only public academic health center.

Within the first few months of consolidation, Azziz led GRU in accomplishing several milestones that expanded the footprint, reach and reputation of the new university. Georgia Regents Medical Center entered into a pioneering partnership with Philips Royal, a manufacturer of health care devices. The alliance is a first-of-its-kind delivery model in the United States with state-of-the-art methods for efficient and effective patient- and family-centered health care.[6] GRU was awarded a Confucius Institute, in partnership with Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The partnership aims to provide language and culture instruction to health professionals and is in line with Georgia Board of Regents’ plan to globalize education.[23] GRMC began managing inpatient rehabilitation and long-term acute care services at Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation under a plan to bring the historic facility into a contemporary medical model.[24] MCG opened satellite campuses in Albany, Rome, and Savannah[25] in order to ease Georgia’s physician shortage, particularly in rural areas. And to increase access for local students, a partnership was formed with East Georgia State College where students who don’t meet GRU’s entrance requirements can enroll there as East Georgia students and, if successful, can transfer to GRU after two years.[26]

Azziz’s success was featured in a Time magazine article focused on consolidation as a trend among higher education,[27] and he has continued to blog for the Huffington Post as a featured contributor, detailing lessons learned throughout the consolidation process.[28]

Private use of University resources[edit]

Azziz became a controversial figure locally during the GRU merger due to not supporting including "Augusta" in the new university's name. GRU commissioned a telephone survey during the university naming process, at a public cost of US$45,000.[29] "University of Augusta" was preferred locally and in the national telephone survey.[29] Azziz and the Board of Regents favored a name with more state and national focus, mirroring aspirations for the University's future prominence and impact.[29]

In April 2013, GRU used university staff (housekeeper, groundskeeper, and university police) and university police vehicles and a shuttle for a family wedding at the president's official residence.[30] Azziz and senior staff discussed and decided it would not be appropriate to use official vehicles at the event, but did not communicate this to the GRU chief of police–who sought and received approval from his supervisor to use the vehicles.[30] Presidential household staff and university police volunteered their time and were paid in gratuity by the groom, though hourly workers were not legally allowed to do this.[30] Following a review by the Board of Regents, Azziz and members of his senior staff organized and conducted a six-hour training session on Board of Regents policy as corrective action, and hourly staffers returned their gratuities in order to be paid through the University—which in turn billed the groom.[30]

During the controversy over the wedding, it also became public that a $75,000 carport expansion to the garage at the university president's home had been awarded by GRU without Board of Regents approval.[31] Additionally, over $97,000 in renovations had been previously conducted at the president's official home without seeking Board of Regents approval as required.[30] GRU officials cited ignorance of the policy, believing that projects under $1 million did not require Board of Regents approval.[31]


Azziz is a clinical translational researcher whose program in androgen excess disorders research has been funded by the NIH since 1988. He has published numerous journal articles[13] on the subject of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), and co-edited Androgen Excess Disorders in Women: Polycystic Overian Syndrome and Other Disorders: Second Edition with John E Nestler and Didier Dewailly in 2006.[32]

His research has helped link PCOS with a body’s resistance to the effects of insulin by examining the role of miRNA-93,[33] shown how obesity relates to a person’s risk of PCOS,[34] and highlighted the adrenal gland’s impact on increased androgen in PCOS. In addition, Azziz’s work with hyperplasia, hyperandrogenemia, and other disorders has been published in various journals such as the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism[35] and Journal of Reproductive Medicine,.[36]


  • Azziz R, Nestler JE, Dewailly D, eds. Androgen Excess Disorders in Women. Lippincott-Raven Publishers, Philadelphia, Pa, 1997
  • Azziz R, Nestler JE, Dewailly D, eds. Androgen Excess Disorders in Women - Second Edition. Humana Press, Totowa, NJ, 2006
  • Azziz R, ed. The Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Currents Concepts On Pathogenesis And Clinical Practice. Springer, New York, NY, 2007


  1. ^ GRU looks clear course ahead (Augusta Chronicle)
  2. ^ a b c d "Dr. Ricardo Azziz Named President of the Medical College of Georgia, Georgia’s Health Sciences Univ.". University System of Georgia. University System of Georgia. Retrieved August 6, 2013. 
  3. ^ http://www.gru.edu/president/ataglance.php
  4. ^ Houston, Ryan (30 April 2013). "Dr. Azziz discusses plans, goals for GRU in presidential address". Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  5. ^ Azziz, Ricardo; Enrico Carmina, Didier Dewailly, Evanthia Diamanti-Kandarakis, Hector F. Escobar-Morreale, Walter Futterweit, Onno E. Janssen, Richard S. Legro, Robert J. Norman, Ann E. Taylor and Selma F. Witchel (1 November 2006). "Criteria for Defining Polycystic Ovary Syndrome as a Predominantly Hyperandrogenic Syndrome: An Androgen Excess Society Guideline". The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 91 (11). 
  6. ^ a b c Corwin, Tom. "President takes reins at MCG". The Augusta Chronicle. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  7. ^ "National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Network of Minority Research Investigators Workshop". National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Dr. Ricardo Azziz Med '81". Penn State Hershey College of Medicine. Retrieved 30 August 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Grillo, Jerry. "New Direction, New Name". Georgia Trend. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  10. ^ Oh, Jaimie. "50 Largest Hospitals in America". Becker's Hospital Review. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  11. ^ "2011 Report to the Community". Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  12. ^ MIKE SCHWARTZ (June 15, 2004). "SMALL DOSES; Ovarian disorder often misdiagnosed". Press Enterprise. 
  13. ^ a b c "Ricardo Azziz, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A.". UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. Retrieved 30 August 2013. 
  14. ^ "Alumni in the News: Dr. Ricardo Azziz". University of Alabama at Burmingham. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  15. ^ "A brief history of the Androgen Excess and PCOS Society". Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  16. ^ "At a Glance". Georgia Regents University. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  17. ^ "Major Initiatives mark first 90 days". Medical College of Georgia. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  18. ^ Mirshak, Meg (22 June 2011). "MCG Hospitals Change Names". The Augusta Chronicle. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  19. ^ "MOODY'S AFFIRMS MCG HEALTH, INC.'S (GA) A2 ISSUER RATING; OUTLOOK REMAINS STABLE". Moody's. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  20. ^ "GHSU-University Hospital enhanced affiliation will enable enhanced research collaboration". WRDW. 6 Sep 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  21. ^ "Our Values: Our Compass". Georgia Regents University. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  22. ^ Grillo, Jerry. "Georgia's Power List". Georgia Trend. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  23. ^ Press, Associated (11 July 2013). "Ga. Regents Creating Confucius Institute". GPB News. Retrieved 4 October 2013. 
  24. ^ Owen, Mike (8 July 2013). "Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute under new management arrangement". Ledger-Enquirer. Retrieved 4 October 2013. 
  25. ^ Corwin, Tom (17 June 2008). "MCG names new Savannah chief". The Augusta Chronicle. Retrieved 4 October 2013. 
  26. ^ Jones, Walter C. (14 May 2013). "Students who can't get into GRU can attend East Georgia State". The Augusta Chronicle. Retrieved 4 October 2013. 
  27. ^ Marcus, Jon (19 July 2013). "Cash-strapped universities turn to corporate-style consolidation". TIME magazine (TIME). Retrieved 12 September 2013. 
  28. ^ "Dr. Ricardo Azziz". Huffington Post. 
  29. ^ a b c Staff Writer (10 August 2012). "Records show University of Augusta was most preferred". The Augusta Chronicle. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  30. ^ a b c d e Crawford, Steve (17 May 2013). "Regents audit finds GRU officials violated policy". The Augusta Chronicle. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  31. ^ a b Crawford, Steve (27 April 2013). "Garage addition at home of Georgia Regents President Ricardo Azziz planned without state approval". The Augusta Chronicle. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  32. ^ Androgen Disorders in Women: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Other Disordersisorders. Retrieved 30 August 2013. 
  33. ^ "miRNA-93 inhibits GLUT4 and is overexpressed in adipose tissue of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome patients and women with insulin resistance". American Diabetes Association. Retrieved 30 August 2013. 
  34. ^ Yildiz, Bulent O.; Eric Knochenhauer and Ricardo Azziz (Jan 1, 2008). "Impact of Obesity on the Risk for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome". The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 93 (1): 162–168. doi:10.1210/jc.2007-1834. PMC 2190739. PMID 17925334. 
  35. ^ "Search Results". The Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. Retrieved 30 August 2013. 
  36. ^ Farah, M.D., Lisa; A. Jan Lazenby, B.S.N., Larry R. Boots, Ph.D., Ricardo Azziz, M.D., M.P.H., and the Alabama Professional Electrology Association Study Group (1999). "Prevalence of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome in Women Seeking Treatment from Community Electrologists". The Journal of Reproductive Medicine. Retrieved 30 August 2013. 

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