Some of Anne Pereira’s, MD, MPH, most important mentors and role models have been physician-educators. They inspired her, an internal medicine doctor, to build a career that combines caring for patients and teaching the next generation of physicians to do the same.

Her job as assistant dean for curriculum at the University of Minnesota Medical School is the perfect fit for Pereira. It allows her to see patients at Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis while shaping the University’s four-year undergraduate medical curriculum and clinical training for new doctors.

“It’s an opportunity to take what I think is important and have a ripple effect on a broader number of patients,” she says. “I feel really fortunate to have the opportunity to practice clinically, take care of patients one-on-one and work with students one-on-one. I am able to step back and look at how to make changes to improve the education for the many students who graduate each year.” 

Dream Job Serving a Diverse Population

Pereira, herself, graduated from the University’s Medical School and completed an internal medicine residency at Hennepin Healthcare. Already interested in medical education, she next went to Harvard Medical School for a fellowship in academic general internal medicine, earning a master’s degree in clinical effectiveness from its School of Public Health, too.

For Pereira, there was no question she would return to her native Minnesota in 2003 when the opportunity arose to lead Hennepin Healthcare’s internal medicine residency program. “Hennepin is a really important place to me and embodies why I wanted to be a doctor,” she explains.

Pereira became assistant dean for clinical education in 2014, bringing a decade of experience and work at the national level in graduate medical education to the role. She was excited about the opportunity to more broadly influence clinical education at the student level and about the University’s wide variety of training and clinical options for students. That includes 15 clerkships that provide in-depth training in areas like rural medicine, international health and underserved populations. 

“Just being in Minnesota enables students to learn medicine and provide high-quality care for all patients, independent of their background or current situation. That’s not true in much of the United States,” Pereira says. “Plus, students have the opportunity to rotate among very high-quality teaching institutions across the metro and across the state that care for really diverse patient populations.”

Making a Difference 

It’s fulfilling work. Pereira walks with patients through many medical challenges and guides students and residents as they learn to provide excellent care. At the same time, she influences the way the University teaches and trains future doctors. By teaching, Pereira knows she’s having an impact on the medical care that legions of others receive.

For these reasons and more, Pereira loves what she does. “My work makes a difference. It’s the purpose of the work that really drives me,” she says. “I feel really honored and thankful to have the opportunity to work with and mentor students and residents. They are really bright, capable people who are going to be the next leaders in academic medicine.”