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Academic Health Center Oral History Project

About the Academic Health Center

In 1970, the University of Minnesota’s previously autonomous College of Pharmacy and School of Dentistry were 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). The university’s College of Veterinary Medicine was also closely aligned with the AHC at this time, becoming formally incorporated into the AHC in 1985.

Please click here for the Academic Health Center timeline.

Bartels, Dianne

DBartels.jpgDr. Dianne Bartels served as a staff nurse and then head nurse at University Hospital from 1964 to 1970. After completing bachelor's and master's degrees, she returned to University Hospital in 1979, serving as associate director of nursing until 1986. Dr. Bartels helped create the Center for Bioethics in 1985, serving in various leadership positions in the Center, including associate director and acting director. After earning her Ph.D. in family social science, Dr. Bartels became an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine. She retired in 2011.

Dickler, Robert

RDickler.JPG Robert Dickler completed a master's degree and doctoral coursework at the University of Minnesota as well as a residency program at University Hospital in 1972. He served in several administrative positions over the course of his ten years at the Hospital. He worked at the University of Colorado from 1981 to 1987, until he returned to Minnesota in 1987 as General Director of University Hospitals and Clinics and Assistant Vice President of the Academic Health Center. He served in this position until 1992.


Howard, Robert B.

RHoward.JPGRobert Howard received his BA in 1942, his MD in 1945, and his PhD in 1952 all from the University of Minnesota. He completed a residency in internal medicine at the University of Minnesota Hospital. He joined the faculty of the Department of Medicine in 1948, and served as associate dean of the Medical School from 1957 to 1958. From 1958 until 1969, Howard served as Dean of the College of Medical Sciences.

Kersey, John

Kersey.jpgJohn Kersey received his MD from the University of Minnesota in 1964, and completed residencies in Pathology and Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota. He subsequently joined the faculty of the Medical School in the Departments of Laboratory Medicine, Pathology, and Pediatrics. From 1974 to 1995, Kersey was the director of the Bone Marrow Transplantation Center, and the founding Director of the University of Minnesota Cancer Center from 1991 until 2007.

Kralewski, John

Kralewski.jpgJohn Kralewski received his BS in Pharmacy in 1956, his Masters in Hospital Administration in 1962, and his PhD in 1969, all from the University of Minnesota. He was founding director of the Institute for Health Services Research at the University from 1977 until 1998.

Learn, Elmer

Learn.JPGElmer Learn received his BS in 1950, his MS in 1951, and his Ph.D. in agricultural economics in 1957 from Pennsylvania State University. Learn served on the faculty of the University of Minnesota's Department of Agricultural Economics from 1956 until 1969. In October 1964, President O. Meredith Wilson appointed Dr. Learn to chair the Committee for the Study of Physical Facilities for the Health Sciences. In this role, and as executive assistant to the President, Dr. Learn played a key role in the reorganization of the health sciences and the creation of the Academic Health Center.

Quie, Paul

Paul-G-Quie-MD 2.jpegPaul Quie received his MD from Yale Medical School in 1953, and completed his residency in Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota University Hospitals. He has been a member of the faculty of the Department of Pediatrics since 1958. From 1979 until 1984, Dr. Quie was Chief of Staff at the University Hospitals and Clinics, and in 1985 he was the first director of the University's Biomedical Ethics Center.

Vikmanis, Villis "Vik"

Villis Vikmanis earned his bachelor's degree in political science at the University of Minnesota in 1961. After holding various positions in state government, Mr. Vikmanis returned to the University and became a full-time consultant to the Hospitals' cost containment task force in 1983. In November of that same year, he served as assistant to the vice president in Central Administration at the University. He was then appointed assistant vice president for the health sciences in September of 1984. He also served on the Hospital Board of Governors. He held these two positions until he retired in 1998.

Vince, Robert

RVince.jpgDr. Robert Vince became an assistant professor in medicinal chemistry within the College of Pharmacy at the University of Minnesota in 1967. Dr. Vince has contributed to and developed many drug interventions over the course of his career. Most notably, Dr. Vince developed the HIV drug abacavir in 1987, which was commercialized by GlaxoSmithKline in 1999 as Ziagen and resulted in over $600 million dollars in revenue for the University. Through his portion of the proceeds from the sale of Ziagen, Dr. Vince established the Center for Drug Design in 2002 as an independent entity within the Academic Health Center to support academic research and drug development. Dr. Vince continues to direct the Center and conduct research.

Westerman, John

JWesterman.JPG After earning a bachelor of science in law from the University of Minnesota in 1954 and then attending law school for two years, John Westerman was called up as a member of the ROTC to serve in the Air Force. When he returned from duty, he took additional coursework and earned a bachelor of business administration with a major in finance in 1958. He then attended the University of Minnesota for his Masters in Hospital Administration, which he earned in 1960. He then completed his administrative residency at University Hospital under Ray Amberg from 1959 to 1961. From 1961 to 1964, he served as assistant administrator, in a position akin to chief operating officer, at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York, part of Rochester University. Westerman returned to the University of Minnesota to work with Dr. Richard Magraw, under Dean Robert Howard, on expanding the Comprehensive Clinic. As the project grew, he transferred to President O. Meredith Wilson's office as an executive secretary, serving as the coordinator of the Committee for Long Range Planning in the Health Sciences. After serving in this position from 1964 to 1966, he took over as general director of University Hospitals and Clinics in November of 1966. He served in this position until 1982.