Patricia Chase, dean of the West Virginia University School of Pharmacy, will lead a national search for the new dean of the School of Medicine, Chancellor for Health Sciences Christopher Colenda announced Thursday at a forum for faculty and staff.

The search will begin soon, Colenda told the standing-room-only crowd at the forum.

Jim Brick, M.D., has been serving as interim dean since the resignation of John Prescott, M.D., in April 2008. Colenda praised Brick for his service to the school.

Colenda held the forum on his fourth day on the job to begin the dialogue about the academic health sciences center’s future and announced that a planning process will begin next week. He said he expects to have a “living document” by June of next year that creates a vision for 2015. The process will encourage free and expansive thinking and will seek to engage all faculty, staff and students, Colenda said.

“We will move forward as a team – a collective body for the citizens, students and patients we serve in this great state of West Virginia,” he said. “We will drive change, not react to it.”

Colenda also announced plans to create two new advisory committees – one composed of faculty members, the other of students.