Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Jon Pryor
Dr. Jon Pryor has had a storied career in medicine. After earning his MD at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Pryor completed two years of post-graduate surgical education at HCMC and went on to his residency at the University of Virginia. He then returned to the U of M, where he completed a urology fellowship.
He served as U of M faculty from 1991-2006 and Department Chair of Urology from 2001-2006. During this time, Dr. Pryor established one of the largest male infertility practices in the country and helped develop one of the first multidisciplinary prostate cancer centers.
In 2006, he made a significant career change. After earning an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, he became interested in the business of healthcare and the opportunity for large-scale transformation within health care systems. He left the Department of Urology and joined McKinsey & Company as a management consultant. Dr Pryor described this time as “completing my residency in business.” He said, “Ultimately, I felt I could make a bigger impact in medicine.”
Over the past two decades, Dr. Pryor has applied his combined education in medicine and business to many notable leadership positions, including CEO of the medical physicians practice at Medical College of Wisconsin, CEO of Hennepin Healthcare System, and President of East Market at Essentia Health. As a leader, he emphasized the critical need for quality improvement and the importance of patient experience.
When asked how educators can best prepare doctors entering the field, he shared, “Quality and process improvement need to be an integral part of education.” He also stressed the importance of being a good citizen and prioritizing teamwork. “In the past, maybe you could be a lone ranger, but now there is virtually nothing you can do alone; it is all team-based work.” In addition, continuing medical education is critical to helping professionals to keep pace with the enormous changes coming to medicine. “Truly, medicine evolves, and you need to evolve with it.”
Mentorship has also played a vital role in Dr. Pryor’s career and professional development. “I did have some great mentors; that’s why I understood the importance of it.” Mentors shaped Dr. Pryor’s decision to enter his specialty and his approaches to research and leadership. He added,” I am a big believer that leaders don’t just happen. You give people new experiences, you pay attention to their advancement, and you help them learn.” He also expressed concern over the need for training and cultivating new leaders in medicine. “There is a dearth of leaders in medicine. It is important that we work to develop leaders. Leadership matters.”
After a remarkable career, Dr. Pryor retired in February of 2023. He shared, “Professionally, it has been a great arc. I have had great joy in what I did.”