MINNEAPOLIS, MN- May 07, 2019 – The Medical School at the University of Minnesota has received a $1 million investment from the Otto Bremer Trust to make Minnesota’s health system increasingly “age friendly” by educating and training health professionals in core geriatrics principles that will improve medical care for this growing population.

“We are grateful for the Otto Bremer Trust support for catalyzing our development of an integrated system of care for the growing number of seniors we see in our clinics,” said Jakub Tolar, M.D., Ph.D., Medical School dean and vice president for clinical affairs. “Our family medicine leaders are collaborating with experts across many fields to develop state-of-the-art geriatrics care training programs designed to deliver coordinated care for seniors through our expanded network of primary care sites. 

“We aim to transform health care for our older patients, not only in this community, but throughout the region,” added Tolar. “That aligns directly with the University’s land-grant mission to serve the people of Minnesota and the broader region.”

The growth in the number of Americans over age 60 presents a challenge to current health care delivery. Aging is the primary risk factor for such debilitating conditions as heart disease, diabetes, cognitive decline, mobility issues and cancer. Although these age-related illnesses are not unique to Minnesota, the University’s recognized expertise among our health disciplines of nursing, pharmacy, public health, social sciences, psychology, as well as medicine make this investment timely.

“The Otto Bremer Trust invests in organizations whose mission, work and accomplishments contribute in a significant way to helping address challenges facing our region,” said Brian Lipschultz, Co-CEO and trustee, OBT. “The Medical School’s multidisciplinary approach to delivering health care to our aging population is groundbreaking, and we are proud to partner and make this transformative investment.

With support from former Gov. Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature in 2014, the Medical School launched its Biology of Aging Medical Discovery Team, the Institute on the Biology of Aging and Metabolism, a task force on healthy aging, and the clinical geriatrics training programs led by Jim Pacala, M.D., head of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health.

“We have an ambitious goal to share the emerging lessons of geriatrics care with the significant number of providers in our clinics throughout Minnesota,” said Pacala, a geriatrician himself. “If you look at our students, residents, faculty, practicing physicians, nurse practitioners and other care staff, our ability to imbue geriatrics knowledge in the pursuit of developing age-friendly health systems is profound.”

Pacala noted that the Otto Bremer Trust’s investment will allow the University to more quickly apply new knowledge coming from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the nationally renowned public policy think tank dedicated to improved health outcomes. “Our expanded relationship with Fairview Health Services gives us a path to ensure patients across the state will benefit from the training we will provide through this work.”

About the University of Minnesota Medical School
The University of Minnesota Medical School is at the forefront of learning and discovery, transforming medical care and educating the next generation of physicians. Our graduates and faculty produce high-impact biomedical research and provide top-tier patient care. Visit med.umn.edu to learn how the University of Minnesota Medical School is advancing medicine.

About the Otto Bremer Trust
The Otto Bremer Trust, based in St. Paul, Minn., is a private charitable trust established in 1944 by founder Otto Bremer, a successful banker and community business leader. OBT owns 92 percent of Bremer Bank and also manages a diversified investment portfolio. The mission of OBT is to invest in people, places and opportunities in the Upper Midwest. Since its inception, OBT has invested more than $700 million in organizations throughout Minnesota, North Dakota and western Wisconsin. Visit ottobremer.org.

Contact: Naomi McDonald
Chief Communications & Marketing Officer
Medical School | UMPhysicians | Academic Clinical Affairs
Office: 612-301-9525
Email: mednews@umn.edu