Moving up - Dean's Message

As we wrapped up the Medical School’s 130th anniversary at the close of 2018, years of effort began to bear fruit. We are delighted to see significant improvement in our national rankings. Our Blue Ridge ranking, which measures the amount of National Institutes of Health research funding awarded to our Medical School, rose from No. 33 in 2017 to No. 30 in 2018. 

This improvement represents millions of successfully competed for dollars and thousands of hours of work that will eventually result in medical advances. Likewise, our 2020 U.S. News & World Report best medical schools research ranking improved, moving up to No. 43 from No. 46. We are also making progress in education and training, as reflected in our U.S. News primary care ranking, which climbed two spots to No. 10. Notably, our family medicine specialty came in at No. 5. Rankings are just numbers, but the numbers convey a message about our institution and its reputation. We have renewed our commitment to do the work required to better serve our patients, our students, and our community. 

Here are a few highlights:

  •  We have hired impressive new faculty to join our Medical Discovery Teams, which are working to address complex health problems profoundly affecting Minnesotans by delving into the biology of aging, addiction, rural and American Indian health, and optical imaging and brain science.  
  •  I have asked several Medical School faculty members to assume broader responsibilities as associate deans, creating more connectivity between leadership, faculty, staff, and students by distributing responsibility and authority. Find the current list of leaders at
  •  Last, but certainly not least, our teams are now working to operationalize the new M Health partnership with Fairview Health Services. Among the partnership’s key features are greater financial support for academic medicine and academic physician leadership throughout the system. University of Minnesota Physicians, now led by CEO Badrinath Konety, M.D., M.B.A., remains an independent organization. Aligned with the University’s land-grant mission, it will work with other partners and maintain the U of M brand in the market. Additionally, the University and Fairview are working together to create a Wellness Alliance with the goal of restoring well-being and joy to the practice of medicine.

Right now, we are in the early days of putting the plans for our Joint Clinical Enterprise into practice. I look forward to providing future updates on this critical partnership.

Jakub Tolar, M.D., Ph.D.
Dean of the Medical School and Vice President for Clinical Affairs

Published on April 3, 2019

James Hereford, Fairview president and CEO, and Jakub Tolar, M.D., Ph.D., Medical School dean and vice president for clinical affairs (Photo: Brady Willette)