Marsha Rappley, standing in a VCU Health building.
Marsha Rappley has led Virginia’s most comprehensive academic health sciences enterprise since 2015. She will retire Jan. 2. (Allen Jones, University Marketing)

VCU Health System CEO announces retirement

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Marsha Rappley, M.D., CEO of Virginia Commonwealth University Health System and senior vice president for health sciences at VCU, today announced her plan to retire on Jan. 2, 2020.

Since August 2015 Rappley has led Virginia’s most comprehensive academic health sciences enterprise, which includes the VCU Health System hospitals and outpatient clinics; the physician practice plan; the Virginia Premier Health Plan; the VCU College of Health Professions and schools of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy and Dentistry; and the Massey Cancer Center. 

In a message to VCU Health System and university employees and students, Rappley said, “I have loved every day that I spent with VCU Health and VCU. The challenges have been great and they are shared across the nation.

“What drew me to Richmond is the way in which the people of VCU Health embrace the mission of providing for and restoring the health of all people of Virginia and beyond,” she said. “This is what continues to inspire and give hope that we will solve the problems of inequity and injustice in health and in supporting the future generations devoted to science and caring for others.”

During her tenure at VCU Health, the VCU Medical Center consistently has been ranked the No. 1 hospital in the region while being the state’s largest safety net hospital and most comprehensive health sciences campus.

Michael Rao, Ph.D., president of VCU and VCU Health System, said Rappley was a driving force behind the design and construction of a new inpatient children’s hospital, expected to open at the end of 2022.

“Marsha set the vision for Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU to be a top children’s hospital in the country, a legacy of her leadership at VCU Health,” he said. “She also has championed the modernization of the VCU Medical Center now underway to better serve all our patients and the health care providers who serve them.” 

Rappley has a long and distinguished career in academic medicine leadership, having most recently served as chair of the Board of Directors of the Association of American Medical Colleges, and prior to that, chair of the AAMC Council of Deans. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of Academic Health Centers and the CEO Council of the American Hospital Association. Rappley earned a nursing degree from the University of Michigan and her medical degree from Michigan State University.

Rao said an interim health system CEO and vice president will be named soon and a national search will be launched for Rappley’s successor.

Update: On Oct. 30, VCU Health System announced interim CEO positions for the health system and its hospitals and clinics, naming Peter Buckley, M.D., interim vice president for VCU Health Sciences and CEO of VCU Health System, and Ralph R. “Ron” Clark, M.D., interim CEO of VCU Hospitals and Clinics.