Medical School hires health equity Discovery Team leaders

Portrait of J. Neil Henderson, Ph.D.

J. Neil Henderson, Ph.D., has been hired to lead the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Medical Discovery Team focused on health equity, rural health access, and American Indian health. He joined the faculty of the Medical School’s Duluth campus in August.

The Medical Discovery Team initiative was funded by the state Legislature last year, after Gov. Mark Dayton appointed a blue ribbon commission to develop recommendations to strengthen the Medical School. The funding is being used to recruit thought leaders to focus on pressing health issues facing Minnesota.  

In addition to health equity, other Medical Discovery Teams will focus on addiction, the biology of aging, and optical imaging and brain science.

Henderson is a renowned researcher in the area of health disparities. His research focuses on medical anthropology, public health, and community-based interventions, including the impact of culture on health care dynamics and institutional and informal long-term care strategies in rural and urban communities. He comes to the University from the University of Oklahoma College of Public Health and directs the National Institutes of Health–funded American Indian Diabetes Prevention Center. 

“The Medical Discovery Team concept is an excellent vehicle for achieving outstanding results,” says Henderson, an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. “The ability to work within a variety of medical and social systems to find solutions and to collaborate with Native communities and rural populations through the process provides a unique opportunity to improve quality and access to care.” 

Published on October 24, 2016