INDIANAPOLIS – The Physician MBA Program at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business Indianapolis awarded the distinguished Anthony D. Cox Leadership and Impact Award to Thomas Ciulla, MD, MBA’15, and Jason Smith MD, MBA’19, for their leadership and influence across the healthcare industry.
“It is an honor to celebrate the achievements of these exceptional alumni. Drs. Ciulla and Smith are transformative leaders whose influence has improved patient care,” said Julie Manning Magid, vice dean of the Kelley School of Business Indianapolis and a professor of business law who has taught in the program since its inception. “They are excellent examples of how the Physician MBA Program empowers physicians to lead healthcare change.”
The Physician MBA Alumni Advisory Board selects the Cox Leadership Award recipients, who demonstrate impact in driving effective changes in the healthcare industry and who show leadership initiative, outstanding career progression, and extraordinary achievements are considered for the Cox Leadership Award. This honor supports the program’s mission to promote change and drive innovation in healthcare by developing physician leaders.
Dr. Thomas Ciulla is the chief development officer for Viridian Therapeutics, which is a biotechnology company advancing new treatments for patients suffering from serious diseases but underserved by current therapies. He previously served as the chief medical officer and chief development officer at Clearside Bio. He guided preclinical and clinical development for the first FDA approval of a suprachoroidal therapy, led a submission with development of a new clinical program and successful trial, and oversaw medical and professional affairs.
Prior to his executive career, Dr. Ciulla co-directed the retina service and ocular angiogenesis research lab at the Indiana University School of Medicine. He also has held numerous leadership roles in clinical research for more than 100 national clinical trials. He was recognized in Newsweek’s “America’s Best Eye Doctors 2023” ranking, which spotlights 200 leading U.S. ophthalmologists, and he received the Senior Achievement Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology for “contributions to the academy, its scientific and educational programs, and the advancement of ophthalmology.” Dr. Ciulla received a BA in chemistry from Harvard University and his medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. He completed his residency at Harvard Medical School and a fellowship at Tufts Medical School.
Dr. Jason Smith is a trauma surgeon and chief clinical officer at University of Louisville Health, which is the third largest health care provider in Kentucky. He’s also a professor of surgery and physiology at the University of Louisville. After graduating from the Kelley Physician MBA Program, he assumed the role of chief clinical officer as KentuckyOne Community Physicians Group merged with the University of Louisville Health, which added more than 200 physicians and dozens of practices. He now leads a heath care system with five hospitals, nine urgent care clinics, two ambulatory surgery centers, two freestanding emergency rooms, and more than 200 clinical practices. Dr. Smith made local and national news when he joined a press conference after overseeing the treatment of the April 10 Old National Bank mass shooting victims. He made an emotional plea to policy makers, saying he was frustrated with the high frequency of gun violence and emphasizing that the community cannot continue with the status quo. In addition to a Kelley MBA, Dr. Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Wright State University, a medical degree from The Ohio State University, and a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Louisville.
Dr. Smith credits the Kelley Physician MBA Program for teaching him the necessary leadership skills and executive presence to support his teams at University of Louisville Health and encourages other physicians to pursue an MBA.
“Take the plunge and go to Kelley, where you’ll get a world-class business education and a truly unique experience,” Dr. Smith said. “The best part of the Physician MBA Program is the ability to tailor the learning to meet your needs. Take the first step to join the program. You won’t regret it.”
The Cox Leadership Award is named in honor of Anthony D. Cox, emeritus professor of marketing and emeritus faculty chair of the Physician MBA Program, whose leadership and vision shaped the program’s growth during his tenure from 2013 to 2018.
The Kelley Physician MBA is designed exclusively for physicians. Launched in 2013, it provides business tools to understand why health care problems exist and management skills to solve them. To learn more about the 21-month Physician MBA Program, click here.