Charles “Chipper” Griffith III, MD, has been named dean of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. 

Pending approval from the Board of Trustees, Griffith will begin his appointment July 15, 2023. He has served as acting dean of the college since July 2021. 

Through the years, he has played an instrumental role in the health and well-being of Kentuckians, and in the academic success of thousands of students.  

“Dr. Griffith understands Kentucky needs the UK College of Medicine,” said Provost Robert S. DiPaola. “And he undoubtedly will serve the college and the Commonwealth every day with this in mind, as he has for the past 35 years.”  

After graduating from the School of Medicine at Vanderbilt University in 1988, Griffith moved to Lexington to complete his residency at UK in internal medicine and pediatrics. In 1991, he became chief resident, before earning a master’s degree in public health. In 1994, Griffith joined the health care enterprise at UK as a physician and the College of Medicine as an assistant professor, eventually earning tenure as a professor. 

Since his arrival at UK in 1988, Griffith has cared for patients, taught students, championed medical education throughout the region and served in various leadership positions, including vice dean for education, senior associate dean for medical education and associate dean for student affairs. 

For the last two years, Griffith has led the college through increased enrollment; strengthened investments in student support services; and ensured the college remains focused on supporting the university in achieving our purpose of advancing Kentucky. 

During his tenure as acting dean, the number of medical students increased nearly 50%. The college navigated much of the COVID-19 pandemic by maintaining the health and safety of their students, faculty and staff. Regional medical campuses in Bowling Green and Northern Kentucky boasted their first graduating classes. 

Griffith oversaw the appointing of many innovative leaders, including men and women from various racial, ethnic and social backgrounds. Over the past two years, the college raised graduate stipends, increased the number of scholarships distributed to students and lowered student debt. Research has grown, and the number of grant submissions during the past year was an all-time high for the college.  

“I would like to thank Dr. Griffith for serving as acting dean during the last two years. I, also, appreciate search committee chairs Jeffrey Okeson and Sharon Walsh, and all members of the search committee, as well as the college faculty, staff and learners at the College of Medicine for their support,” DiPaola said. “Dr. Griffith’s hard work and dedication will continue to advance our mission so that no Kentuckian will have to leave the state to receive medical care.” 

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.