The search for the University of Michigan’s next vice president for government relations is underway.

President Mark Schlissel has appointed an eight-member advisory committee to assist in the search process for a successor to Cynthia H. Wilbanks, who has served in the role for 22 years and will retire at the end of this year.

The committee will be chaired by John Z. Ayanian, director of the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, Alice Hamilton Distinguished University Professor of Medicine and Healthcare Policy in the Medical School, professor of health management and policy in the School of Public Health, and professor of public policy in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

“As the complexity of the higher education landscape continues to increase, U-M’s partnerships with leaders at the federal, state and local levels are of paramount importance to advancing our public mission,” Schlissel said. “The vice president for government relations position is essential to the excellence of our university.”

The vice president for government relations is a position of broad leadership, serving as an executive officer reporting to the university’s president. As the chief government relations official of the university, the position is responsible for providing strategic vision, leadership and effective management of U-M’s government relations programs at the local, state and federal levels.

In addition to Ayanian, the advisory committee includes:

  • Christopher R. Friese, director at the Center for Improving Patient and Population Health; associate director of Cancer Control and Population Sciences in the Rogel Cancer Center; Elizabeth Tone Hosmer Professor of Nursing and professor of nursing in the School of Nursing; and professor of health management and policy in the School of Public Health.
  • Gerald Hills, lecturer in public policy in the Ford School.
  • Timothy G. Lynch, vice president and general counsel.
  • Kristin S. Seefeldt, associate faculty director at Poverty Solutions; associate professor of public policy in the Ford School; and associate professor of social work in the School of Social Work.
  • Reginald M. Turner, U-M alumnus and member of the Executive Committee, Government Policy Group, and Labor and Employment Practice Group at the Clark Hill law firm.
  • Marianne Udow-Phillips, executive director of the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation.
  • Katrina Wade-Golden, deputy chief diversity officer in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Stephen Yaros, senior project manager in the Office of the President, will provide staff support for the search.

Search feedback, nominations and questions from applicants should be directed to More information, including the position description and how to apply, is available.