University of California, Irvine - Discover. Teach. Heal.
Message from Ralph V. Clayman, M.D., Dean, UC Irvine School of Medicine

July 5, 2012

Dear Colleagues,
Frank Meyskens, MD

I am delighted to announce that Dr. Frank Meyskens, founding director of the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, professor of medicine and the Daniel G. Aldrich Jr. Endowed Chair, has accepted the position of Vice Dean for UC Irvine School of Medicine. This new position is effective immediately, as recruitment efforts for the next cancer center director continue in earnest.

As many of you know, Dr. Meyskens has been with UC Irvine for more than two decades. He is a strong and passionate supporter of our Discover. Teach. Heal. mission and has elevated the cancer center’s reputation as one of the nation’s premier institutions in a wide variety of areas, including his own areas of focus—cancer prevention and early diagnosis. He has also led a major investigative effort in the understanding of cutaneous melanoma for over 30 years.

The Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center's prestige is recognized by its designation as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), one of only 41 such acclaimed centers in the U.S. Dr. Meyskens was successful in bringing the first NCI cancer support grant to UC Irvine nearly 15 years ago and has successfully renewed it twice. Since 1978, he has been continuously funded for his research by the National Institutes of Health and NCI. He looks forward to increasing his mentoring activities in his new position.

In his role as Vice Dean, Dr. Meyskens will advise my office on matters related to education, research and clinical operations. He will attend the Dean’s Cabinet, Dean’s Leadership Council and other key committees at the UC Irvine campus, either in his own right or in my stead. He will also provide oversight of several special projects, including but not limited to:

  • the transition of leadership to the next cancer center director
  • the attainment of an NCI Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant
  • the establishment of a Center for Preventive and Personalized Medicine
  • the strengthening of our interactions with other schools and programs, such as the Program in Public Health, Program in Nursing Science, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Calit 2, School of Biological Sciences, School of Engineering, the Paul Merage School of Business
In addition to being a distinguished physician and researcher, Dr. Meyskens has inspired patients, staff, faculty and students through his poetry. In 2008, Fithian Press published his first collection, Aching for Tomorrow, which compassionately captures the personal challenges of cancer and how it impacts the interaction between cancer patients and their physicians.

Dr. Meyskens was recruited to UC Irvine in 1989 from the University of Arizona, where he helped the university establish cancer prevention studies and its NCI-designated cancer center in the 1980s. At that time, he also established himself as one of the founders of chemoprevention of human cancer, both in the laboratory and in the clinic.

Dr. Meyskens is nationally and internationally known for this work and has received many awards. Notably, in 2006, he received the American Society of Preventive Oncology’s Distinguished Achievement Award for his three decades of work in the field. In 2008, the American Association for Cancer Research honored him with the Prevent Cancer Foundation Award for Excellence in Cancer Prevention Research. Currently, Dr. Meyskens also serves as Associate Chair for Cancer Control and Prevention of the South West Oncology Group, a national and large, federally-funded clinical trials group.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Meyskens on his Vice Dean appointment. I’m very excited about the projects and progress that his presence in the Dean’s Office will bring as we continue to shape our future to become one of the top-tier academic health centers in the nation. I’m proud to say that with your ongoing dedication to our School of Medicine, we are already well on our way to achieving our shared vision and so much more.


Ralph V. Clayman
Ralph V. Clayman, M.D.
Dean & Professor of Urology
UC Irvine School of Medicine