Alice L. Walton School of Medicine Appoints Dr. Sharmila Makhija as Founding Dean and CEO
February 13, 2023
Bentonville, Ark. (February 13, 2023) – Today, Alice L. Walton School of Medicine (AWSOM) announced the appointment of Sharmila Makhija, MD, MBA as the Founding Dean and Chief Executive Officer, effective May 2023. In her new role, Dr. Makhija, will work with health systems and institutional partners to enhance medical education and prepare students for their future health care roles in the community and country.
“We are excited to welcome Dr. Makhija to the AWSOM team and to the region,” said School of Medicine Founder, Alice Walton. “Her background and commitment to medical education will advance our work in equipping physicians to tackle challenges of the 21st century by focusing on the physical, mental, social, and emotional health of the people and communities we serve.”
Dr. Makhija’s expertise utilizes a collaborative approach across the entire health care delivery system, creating impactful changes. She is a surgeon and women’s health expert, most recently serving as Department Chair of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women’s Health, professor of gynecologic oncology, and held the Chella and Moise Safra Endowed Chair at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System.
“Sharmila has an impressive career that spans academic, clinical, and business settings-- and tremendous success in inspiring teams and communities,” said Walter Harris, President of Health Care Transformation, Art and Wellness Enterprises. “Her leadership and passion will promote the vision to transform medical education and care, starting with creating a new pipeline of physicians.”
“The opportunity to build a medical school from the ground up, with the vision of philanthropist, Alice Walton, is a dream come true,” said Dr. Makhija. “Health care delivery is fractured and in need of transformation so that all Americans can have access to the respectful care they deserve. Training the doctors of the future, within a culture of diversity and inclusivity, is central to that transformation. Our goal is to build a new medical school and be a leader in improving health and wellness. I can’t wait to meet the wonderful community of Northwest Arkansas and get started!”
Founded in 2021 and seeking accreditation, Alice L. Walton School of Medicine will offer a four-year medical degree program that builds upon an evidence-based curriculum and integrates a compassionate, inclusive, and whole health approach to care for not only patients, but also students, faculty, and staff. The 154,000 square-foot medical education building will be located on the campus of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. Pending programmatic accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the School plans to welcome the first class of students in 2025.
Dr. Makhija Biography:
An international expert on gynecologic cancer, Sharmila Makhija MD, MBA most recently served as the Department Chair of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women’s Health, professor of gynecologic oncology and the Chella and Moise Safra Endowed Chair at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System in New York. She has held faculty positions at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Emory University, and the University of Louisville.
At the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Makhija was named a Women’s Reproductive Health Research (WRHR) Scholar. She continued as a WRHR Scholar at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she served as a tenured associate professor and received the Argus Teaching Award from the medical school.
At Emory University, Dr. Makhija was Division Chief of gynecologic oncology and the Leach Endowed Chair in obstetrics and gynecology. She was also named a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scholar. At the University of Louisville School of Medicine, she served as Department Chair of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health; tenured professor of gynecologic oncology; Donald E. Baxter Endowed Chair in obstetrics and gynecology; and Chief Medical and Operations Officer for the Center for Women and Infants.
Dr. Makhija earned her Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from Cornell University and a medical degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Louisville Hospital and a fellowship in gynecologic oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. She received her executive MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.
Dr. Makhija is a graduate of the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine program where she has served as an advisor and mentor for women. Recently, Dr. Makhija completed her term on the Clinical Leadership Committee of the American Hospital Association. She is presently a Board member of Every Mother Counts (EMC), a nonprofit founded by Christy Turlington Burns focused on improving maternal health care worldwide. She is the Chair of the Impact Committee for EMC and the Associate Editor-in-Chief of JAAPI, a peer-reviewed medical and health care journal of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin.
Dr. Makhija has received numerous awards for her dedication to women’s health, including the Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Spirit of Achievement. She’s also been named a Good Housekeeping Humanitarian Hero, a Crain’s NY Business Notable Health Care Leader, and an AAPI Health care Hero Honoree.
About Alice L. Walton School of Medicine
Founded in 2021 and seeking accreditation, Alice L. Walton School of Medicine will offer a four-year, medical degree-granting program that builds upon an evidence-based curriculum and integrates a compassionate, inclusive, and whole health approach to care for not only patients, but also students, faculty, and staff. Taught by leading medical practitioners and scientific minds, the first-of-its-kind medical school will help students rise to the health challenges of the 21st century with a focus on physical, mental, social, and emotional health. Currently, the School of Medicine is seeking programmatic and institutional accreditation with the goal of welcoming its inaugural class in 2025. Learn more at ALWmedschool.org.