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UTHealth appoints co-chief legal officers to executive leadership team

HOUSTON – (Jan. 9, 2017) – Daniel J. Reat and Melissa K. Pifko have been named vice presidents and co-chief legal officers for The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

“This new joint leadership approach leverages the expertise and versatility of two experienced legal practitioners as co-lead counsels, and will allow UTHealth to best respond to the rapidly evolving environment in academic health care,” said Giuseppe N. Colasurdo, M.D., president and Alkek-Williams Distinguished Chair at UTHealth.

Reat and Pifko will lead UTHealth’s team of attorneys, health care risk manager and support staff in providing legal services to the institution. They will work collaboratively with academic and administrative leadership, faculty and staff at UTHealth, as well as the Office of General Counsel at UT System, the State of Texas Office of the Attorney General and others to provide appropriate legal advice and counsel, develop strategic plans and negotiate agreements, among other duties.

Reat served as UTHealth’s senior legal officer from 2009 to 2013 before accepting a position as senior legal officer at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He returned to UTHealth in April of 2016 to serve as interim chief legal officer, and his appointment as vice president and co-chief legal officer became effective Dec. 16, 2016. Reat, who earned his J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center and an undergraduate degree from Rice University, brings more than 25 years of experience to this new leadership role.

Pifko, who has more than 18 years of legal experience, begins her new leadership role at UTHealth on Jan. 16, 2017. She has spent the last five years serving as associate general counsel for Baylor College of Medicine, where she collaborated with leaders on a number of clinical initiatives. Prior to that, Pifko held positions at both Norton Rose Fulbright and Latham & Watkins, and also served as a judicial law clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Lynn N. Hughes. She earned a J.D. from the University of Southern California Law School after an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

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