Beattie Welcomes New Challenges

Assumes Role as Dean of Oman Medical College

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. - Diana Beattie, Ph.D., who has served as chair of the biochemistry and molecular pharmacology department at West Virginia University’s School of Medicine for over 20 years and joined WVU in 1961, will begin a new journey as she assumes the role as dean of Oman Medical College, undergraduate campus, in Muscat, Oman. 

Dr. Beattie, who had been hoping to find a position in Oman following her visits to the college, said the decision to resign from her current role was an easy one to make. 

“After serving 21 years as chair, it was time for a change,” Beattie said.  “I needed to seek new interests and challenges.”

Beattie, who was involved in the early planning stages for designing Oman Medical School, spent five weeks teaching and interacting with the students in the spring of 2005 and 2006. 

“I enjoyed learning the culture and working with the students,” Beattie said.  “I look forward to bringing my experiences to Oman.”

WVU’s partnership with Oman Medical College offers WVU faculty members from the School of Medicine, School of Pharmacy and Eberly College of Arts and Sciences to develop curriculum and provide instruction to premedical, medical, and pharmacy students in Oman. The school has nearly 400 students from Oman and several neighboring countries. 

“Our partnership with Oman brings advanced health care to the Middle East and enhances the presence of West Virginia and the West Virginia University School of Medicine, which is vital to the development of our organization,” said John E. Prescott, M.D., dean of the WVU School of Medicine.

As dean, Beattie will be responsible for designing the curriculum, mentoring and managing faculty and interacting with students extensively. 

“Dr. Beattie will be assuming new job responsibilities, but her role as a scholar and leader will continue as she oversees the students and faculty in Oman,” said Prescott.  “We are confident that her leadership will bring growth and success to our efforts abroad.”

Beattie looks forward to bringing change and growth to Oman.

“One of my goals is to modify the curriculum to increase student preparedness for the road ahead while continuing former dean Michael Johnson’s goals,” Beattie said. 

Beattie, who has lived in Belgium and Kenya, understands the stresses of living in a new country and adapting to an unfamiliar culture.

“Living in a foreign country is challenging, but it also allows you to see the world from a new perspective.” 

Although Beattie is excited to transition into her new job role, she is also sad about what she is leaving behind. 

“I’ll miss friends, fellow faculty and chairs throughout the University who have become an extended family over the years,” Beattie said. 

Beattie also admits that she’ll greatly miss attending Mountaineer football games.

“I’ve already made plans to come back in October to see a game and visit with friends,” Beattie said.

James O’Donnell, Ph.D., assistant dean of research and graduate studies in the WVU School of Medicine, will serve as interim chair of the biochemistry and molecular pharmacology until a permanent appointment is made.  Dr. O’Donnell, a former professor at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, joined the School of Medicine last year and has served as a professor in the Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry, with a joint appointment in Neurobiology and Anatomy.

- WVU -

For more information:
Steve Bovino, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087

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