End of Summer

As our summer is winding down, and we are preparing to enter the rush of fall preparations, I would like to share some of the things I have learned or am learning.

Recently I gave the State of the Medical School address. As the data for the talk was gathered, I saw many signs that in this 130th year of the Medical School’s existence, we are moving in the right direction. There are so many changes going on right now, so many initiatives started or revived, that it was nice to look at the solid achievements of the past year. I was able to look at the five foundations of our mission—to combine our scientific and clinical strengths to deliver the best in innovative, accountable, compassionate care to our patients and to impact the field of medicine for all—and point out extraordinary accomplishment and commitment.

Patient Care - This year saw us sign a Letter of Intent of partnership with Fairview that recognizes the value of academic medicine, keeps our M Health brand, and assures physician leadership through UMP. It also saw us work hard to form a pediatric academic health system. We were unable to resolve the differences around some of the partners, so we are going to take a step back, reboot, re-evaluate and find a new way forward. We will not give up on this. Creating a better way to deliver pediatric health care is too important to us and to our community.

Research –There was a measurable improvement in our research efforts in all ways last year. Faculty publishing was up significantly, as was NIH funding. Our Blue Ridge Ranking was raised from #34 to #33. The improvement has been steady over the past few years, reflecting the time, effort and commitment on the part of the faculty.

Education – Our education programs continue to attract outstanding students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Last year we graduated 215 young physicians. If past trends are any indication, 70 percent of them will remain and practice in Minnesota. Additionally, we graduated 26 master’s students and 44 PhDs. The Medical School continues to pioneer unique education efforts, like the Medical Scientist Training Program and to encourage diversity across both the Twin Cities and Duluth campuses.

Community – Four years ago, the state of Minnesota asked us to address some areas of particular concern to our community. In response, the four Medical Discovery Teams were formed. All four teams are now operational, recruiting and hiring new members, submitting grant applications, collaborating across the university, and addressing issues that impact all of us: aging, brain science, addiction and rural and American Indian health.

Legacy – We both inherit a legacy and leave one behind. This year we focus on the greatness of the past through our 130th Anniversary activities, and we work to refine our vision of what we want our legacy to be. Although legacy is often measured in tangible ways, like discoveries or inventions, our greatest legacy is people. It is the students we have taught, the people we heal, the lives we improve and the examples we set for others.

I am proud of the efforts I see throughout the Medical School, the drive to improve and to make a difference in the world around us.