After a nearly eight-month national search and thoughtful consideration, the University of North Texas System Board of Regents announced the selection of Dr. Sylvia Trent-Adams as the sole finalist for president of The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth (HSC).
Dr. Trent-Adams will become the seventh president in the university’s history and will succeed Dr. Michael R. Williams, who became chancellor of the UNT System on Jan. 1 and continued to serve as HSC’s president during the search process.
Under state law, university governing boards must name finalists for a presidency at least 21 days before making a permanent appointment. The Board of Regents is expected to finalize the selection the week of Sept. 12.
“Sylvia Trent-Adams is one of the most accomplished, admired and effective leaders in higher education and specifically, health care,” Williams said. “This is a pivotal moment for HSC – one full of extraordinary possibilities to pursue new knowledge, serve the community, and enhance education and health care – but also a time of unique challenges in an ever-changing higher education landscape. Such an era calls for skillful leadership, strategic thinking and disciplined execution. Dr. Trent-Adams will provide just that.”
Since 2020, she has served as HSC’s executive vice president and chief strategy officer.
“I am humbled and honored by the opportunity to lead this remarkable institution – and to succeed Dr. Williams,” Dr. Trent-Adams said. “The HSC I have known has always stood for innovation, collaboration and an unwavering devotion to a values-based culture. Arm-in-arm with the community and our outstanding faculty, staff, and student body, I’m excited to hit the ground running and keep HSC moving ambitiously forward.”
The Presidential Search Committee was co-chaired by Regent Dan Feehan, member of the UNT System Board of Regents and chairman of FirstCash Inc., and Brian Newby, managing partner of Cantey Hanger LLP. Both campus representatives and community members served on the Presidential Search Committee. The university also solicited feedback from HSC students, faculty and staff, and community members, whose input was crucial in guiding the committee’s development of the job criteria.
“From the beginning of the search, it was important to us that stakeholders at every level and across the community have a say in who would lead the university,” Feehan and Newby agreed. “We’re confident Dr. Trent-Adams’ values not only align with the university’s values and mission, but also represent the very best of what HSC’s students, faculty, staff and community members asked for in a leader.”
HSC’s president reports to the UNT System chancellor and is the CEO of the university. The president is responsible for the overall leadership and management of all campus programs, services and activities in every area of the university, including academic affairs, administration, strategic planning, student services, financial management, external relations and fundraising.
The president leads, champions and leverages the critical and unique role of the campus in advancing HSC’s academic, research and outreach mission, and in supporting the university’s reputation as a distinguished academic health science center. The president acts as a catalyst for creativity, innovation and progress.
“We are blessed with extraordinary students, faculty and staff,” Dr. Trent-Adams said. “HSC’s people are inspiring, from faculty pushing the boundaries of knowledge in so many health-related fields, to students who excel in every possible dimension, and our staff who are dedicated to moving the university forward.
“Those of us privileged to lead this university are invested with a precious trust. I promise to do everything within my power to prove worthy of it.”
More about Dr. Trent-Adams
Dr. Sylvia Trent-Adams is the executive vice president and chief strategy officer at HSC. In this role, she assists the president in developing, communicating, executing and sustaining strategic initiatives, and she leads the strategic planning process with a focus on accelerating organizational performance.
A lifetime public servant, Dr. Trent-Adams began her extensive public health career in 1992 by joining the Commissioned Corps before ultimately retiring in 2020 from the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps with the rank of Rear Admiral Upper Half. Prior to her joining the U.S. Public Health Service, Dr. Trent-Adams was a nurse officer in the U.S. Army and a research nurse at the University of Maryland.
Prior to joining HSC, Dr. Trent-Adams served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health from January 2019 through August 2020. She shared responsibility with the Assistant Secretary for Health planning, coordinating and directing substantive program matters; policy and program development; and determining and setting legislative and program priorities.
Dr. Trent-Adams served from 2015 to 2018 as the Deputy Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. She was a trusted advisor to the Surgeon General, providing support on a variety of critical issues, including efforts to combat the opioid crisis.
Prior to serving as Deputy Surgeon General, Dr. Sylvia Trent-Adams was Deputy Associate Administrator for the HIV/AIDS Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration. Through this role, she helped manage the $2.3 billion Ryan White HIV/AIDS program, which funds medical care, treatment, referrals and support services for uninsured and underserved people living with HIV disease, as well as training for health care professionals.
In 2017, Dr. Trent-Adams earned the International Red Cross Florence Nightingale Medal, the highest international honor bestowed upon a nurse. Among her other recognitions is a Distinguished Service Medal for her sustained leadership, dedication and service at the highest levels while serving as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health and Deputy Surgeon General. Dr. Trent-Adams also was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for her leadership during the Commissioned Corps response to the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa and the Surgeon General’s Medallion for service as acting Surgeon General from April to September 2017.
Dr. Trent-Adams received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Hampton University, a Master of Science in Nursing and Health Policy from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
She is a fellow in the National Academy of Medicine, American Academy of Nursing, National Academy of Practice, and the NLN Academy of Nursing Education. Dr. Trent-Adams is also a member of the U.S. Army ROTC Hall of Fame.