J. Michael Leibowitz, PhD, Named Director of Munroe-Meyer Institute

May 20, 2009

The search committee tasked to fill the shoes of Bruce Buehler, M.D., had a difficult job to do. The former director of the Munroe-Meyer Institute (MMI) who stepped down in 2007 left quite a legacy.

After a far and wide search of viable candidates, the committee found the best person for the position was already at MMI -- J. Michael Leibowitz, Ph.D.

Well-known locally and nationally for his advocacy for children with disabilities, Dr. Leibowitz will officially become the MMI director on May 1, pending the University of Nebraska Board of Regents approval on April 24.

An associate professor of pediatrics and section head in pediatrics for the rehabilitation medicine section, Dr. Leibowitz has served as interim director of MMI since Nov. 15, 2007.

Prior to being named the interim director, Dr. Leibowitz served as deputy director of MMI for 10 years. He also serves as director of the Nebraska Center for Disabilities at MMI.

"Dr. Leibowitz has been at the institute since 1974 and is the 'go-to' person for me at MMI," said Chancellor Harold M. Maurer, M.D. "He has a new vision for the institute that includes building a strong research program in focused areas of excellence. I am very pleased with this appointment and look forward to further development of the institute under his leadership."

Tom Rosenquist, Ph.D., vice chancellor for research and head of the search committee, said Dr. Leibowitz is "a perfect example of our sometimes finding gold in our own back-yard."

"He did not throw his hat into the ring earlier for consideration as MMI director because he is a completely unselfish person who wants only the best for MMI, and so, he modestly stood aside while we looked all over the world for a replacement for Dr. Buehler," he said. "As it turns out, he is indeed the best person for the job, and I look forward to the growth of the MMI under Mike's able leadership."

Dr. Leibowitz said he is honored to be chosen as only the third director of MMI.

"I am looking forward to exciting changes over the next few years as MMI enhances its ongoing mission of providing excellent interdisciplinary education and the provision of diagnostic and intervention services for children, youths and adults with disabilities, as well as expanding basic and translational research related to neurodevelopmental disabilities," he said.

"With the chancellor's leadership and support, our vision is to further the excellence at MMI and create the premier interdisciplinary center on disabilities in the Midwest."

As director, Dr. Leibowitz will be responsible for the day-to-day management of MMI and leadership of the Nebraska Center for Disabilities.

Dr. Leibowitz is the principal investigator for the federally designated center, funded by the Administration on Developmental Disabilities, which provides administrative and core support to MMI in its efforts to help communities across the state respond to the needs of individuals with disabilities and their families.

A New York City native, Dr. Leibowitz received his bachelor's degree in psychology from New York University and his master's degree in general psychology and doctoral degree in clinical and experimental psychology from the University of Maryland.

Before he launched his career at UNMC as director of psychological services, Dr. Leibowitz worked at Johns Hopkins University, where he was associate director of psychological services at the Kennedy Institute.

Dr. Leibowitz's research interest is in developmental disabilities and analysis and remediation of behavior problems in young children. He taught a graduate course in child behavior analysis on campus for University of Nebraska at Omaha students for many years and serves on numerous doctoral committees.

What others are saying

"Dr. Leibowitz has been at the institute since 1974 and is the 'go-to' person for me at MMI. ... I am very pleased with this appointment and look forward to further development of the institute under his leadership." Harold M. Maurer, M.D.

"Dr Leibowitz and I worked together as director and deputy director for 25 years. For many of those years I also was chairman of pediatrics. Mike was invaluable in managing the institute, working together on strategic planning and in recruitment. Mike values interdisciplinary research, training and clinical service. He is well-known and respected by the various agencies that fund MMI and the directors of all the other university programs. I cannot think of anyone who can seamlessly lead MMI to the next plateau better than Dr. Leibowitz." Bruce Buehler, M.D., former MMI director

"The Hattie B. Munroe Foundation Board is very pleased that Dr. Leibowitz has accepted the position of director of the Munroe-Meyer Institute. Dr. Leibowitz has the knowledge of the institute and the vision that is critical to the creation of leading-edge programs and services so vital to the population we serve." Steve McWhorter, president of the Hattie B. Munroe Foundation

"I am delighted with the appointment of Dr. Mike Leibowitz as MMI director. I have worked with him for more than 20 years and have always been impressed with his professionalism, detailed knowledge of the field and cordial, caring manner of dealing with people. And he has always has had a clear vision of where MMI can go in the future. We have been lucky to have him on staff and are now incredibly fortunate to have him as director." Merrilee Miller, president of the MMI Operating Board

"I am delighted to know that Mike Leibowitz has been selected to serve as director of MMI. His commitment to the institute is a model for anyone associated with MMI, and his command of information regarding the varied programs is really impressive. As the relatively new president of the board for the C. Louis Meyer Rehabilitation Foundation, Mike has provided me with information, support and calm, good humor in every situation. I look forward to continuing to the benefit from his leadership." Jan Leuenberger, president of the C. Louis Meyer Rehabilitation Foundation

"I am thrilled. He is so dedicated, knowledgeable and passionate about MMI that I can't think of anyone better. Dr. Leibowitz will make an excellent director, one who will provide outstanding leadership for the institute. His guidance will enable the institute to continue to provide extraordinary services to persons with disabilities and their families. The guild is very pleased that Dr. Leibowitz has been named the director of MMI." Deb Marasco, president of the MMI Guild


>> See the original article on the UNMC website.