The University of Minnesota Medical School is pleased to announce James Pacala, MD, MS, as the new Head of our top-ranked Department of Family Medicine and Community Health.

Dr. Pacala, a board-certified family physician, and geriatrician is currently a professor and associate head in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. Dr. Pacala has been deeply committed to the success of this department and played a pivotal role in this growth and impact for the past 25 years. The arc of his career has been comprised of three phases, each characterized by a primary focus on research, education, and administration.

"We all have been motivated by Dr. Pacala's continuous resolve for excellence, and responsibility to family medicine as a profession. He is a strong, loyal and innovative leader and his extensive experience will be key to continuing the nationally recognized work of this department," said Jakub Tolar, dean of the Medical School. 

Dr. Pacala has received several awards for his research, teaching and clinical care, including the American Geriatrics Society’s Outstanding Achievement for Clinical Investigation Award in 2002,  the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award in 1999,  the University of Minnesota’s All-University Postbaccalaureate, Graduate, and Professional Education Teaching Award in 2002, and the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center Award for Excellence in the Scholarship of Teaching in 2009. He has also authored numerous research publications and co-authored the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) practice handbook, Geriatrics At Your Fingertips, which is now in its 19th edition. In addition, he has served as co-editor-in-chief of the AGS comprehensive geriatrics resource, the Geriatrics Review Syllabus, for its 7th and 9th editions.
He earned his BA from Carleton College and his MD from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. After completing a residency in Family Medicine at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Dr. Pacala obtained a master’s degree in chronic disease epidemiology from Brown University and completed two fellowships, one in Health Services Research in Gerontology at Brown University, and the other in clinical geriatrics at the University of Connecticut. He has been on the faculty at the University of Minnesota since 1992.

Dr. Pacala begins his new position on December 1, 2017.