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Academic Health Center Oral History Project

Academic Health Center Timeline

1931 The College of Medical Sciences (CMS) is established, bringing together the Schools of Medicine and Nursing and the University Hospitals (at the time, Public Health was a division within the Medical School. In 1944 it became the School of Public Health and was formally included in the CMS). Richard E. Scammon served as the first dean of CMS
1953 Dr. Scammon resigns as dean of the College of Medical Sciences. Harold S. Diehl, who had been director of the students' health service, is appointed dean. In 1936, Dean Diehl also takes on the deanship of the Medical School
1959 Surgeon General's Consultant Group on Medical Education draws attention to a growing shortage of physicians in the U.S. The consultant group also recommends that the federal government provide emergency matching funds for the construction of new medical buildings, and especially for buildings to be used for teaching
1963 Congress passes the Health Professions Education Assistance Act, providing matching federal funds for the building of new, and the expansion of existing, medical schools
1964 The Hill Family Foundation of St. Paul sponsors a regional study of the projected need for dentists and physicians in the upper Midwest: Health Manpower Study Commission, directed by Dr. Osler W. Peterson, Harvard Professor of Public Health and assisted by Dr. Ivan Fahs, sociologist at Bethel College, St. Paul. In response to the need for more health practitioners in the community, President Meredith O. Wilson creates the Committee for the Study of the Physical Facilities for the Health Sciences, appointing Elmer Learn as its chair. The Committee is charged with studying the space needs of all the units of the health sciences in order to help facilitate growth and expanded student enrollments
1967 The Committee for the Study of the Physical Facilities for the Health Sciences makes a proposal to the state legislature requesting $54 million dollars to build three new buildings, which would double the existing amount of space currently available to the health sciences
1968 The Health Sciences Design Coordinating Committee publishes the Health Sciences Planning Report that contains the plans for Units A-K, new buildings on the East Bank to house the health science programs and encourage growth
1970 An external review board recommends restructuring the administration of the health sciences at the University. The College of Medical Sciences is dissolved and the University's previously autonomous College of Pharmacy and School of Dentistry are reorganized, together with the Schools of Nursing, Medicine, and Public Health, and the University Hospitals, into a centrally organized and administered academic health center (AHC) referred to as the Health Sciences. The university's College of Veterinary Medicine was also closely aligned with the AHC at this time, although it wasn't formally incorporated into the AHC until 1985
1971 Dr. Lyle French, head of the Department of Neurosurgery, is appointed acting Vice President for Health Sciences by the Regents in 1970 and becomes Vice President in 1971. Dr. French is the first to hold this new administrative position, which reports directly to the university president
1977 Cherie R. Perlmutter is named assistant vice president for Health Sciences
1982 Lyle French resigns as vice president of Health Sciences to return to teaching and research. Dr. Neal Vanselow from the University of Nebraska Medical Center is appointed vice president
1984 Cherie R. Perlmutter is named associate vice president for Health Sciences
1985 The College of Veterinary Medicine is officially incorporated into the Academic Health Center. The Center for Bioethics is founded
1989 Dr. Vanselow resigns to become chancellor of the Tulane Health Sciences Center. Cherie R. Perlmutter is appointed acting vice president for the Health Sciences until Dr. Anderson's appointment in 1992
1991 The University of Minnesota Cancer Center is founded. In 1998, it is officially designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center, receiving $5.8 million grant over five years. In 2008, it receives a $65 million gift from the Minnesota Masonic Charities, the largest gift received by the University to date
1992 Dr. Robert E. Anderson from the University of New Mexico is appointed vice president of the Health Sciences
1993 Dr. Robert Anderson resigns during the investigation of Dr. John Najarian, then head of the Department of Surgery, over the production and sale of antilymphocyte globulin. Dr. Richard Elzay, dean of the Dental School, is named interim vice president for the Health Sciences. Dr. Shelley Chou, former head of the Department of Neurosurgery, is named deputy vice president of Medical Affairs while also serving as interim dean of the Medical School. Winston "Win" Wallin, former CEO of Medtronic, is brought to the University as a special advisor to President Nils Hasselmo to oversee the Academic Health Center
1994 Dr. William Brody is named provost for the Health Sciences. The position of senior vice president of the Health Sciences is retitled in an experiment with a three-provost system: one provost for agriculture, one provost for the health sciences, and one provost for the rest of the University
1996 Dr. William Brody resigns from his position, and Dr. Frank Cerra is appointed provost. [In 1997, his title was changed to vice president after it was determined that the University should only have one provost.] He was previously the dean of the Medical School and a professor of surgery
2009 Because of the reorganization of the health sciences, the deanship of the medical school is absorbed into the senior vice presidency of the Academic Health Center. Dean Deborah Powell resigns, and Frank Cerra assumes both roles
2011 Frank Cerra retires as dean of the Medical School and senior vice president for the Health Sciences. Dr. Aaron Friedman, who arrived at the University of Minnesota in 2008 after being Chair of the Department of Pediatrics the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is named dean of the Medical School and vice president for the Health Sciences

*For more information, please see Academic Health Center archivist Erik Moore's blog here