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Reorganization of the Medical School and the Academic Health Center

Straight From the Horse's Mouth

U of M restructures leadership of Medical School, Academic Health Center

Contacts: Daniel Wolter, University News Service, (612) 625-8510

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL ( 1/29/2009 ) -- University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks announced his plans to combine two key administrative positions in the university's health sciences area: senior vice president for health sciences and dean of the Medical School. Current Senior Vice President for Health Sciences Frank Cerra will be appointed to the new position, subject to approval by the university's Board of Regents.

"Our 154-year old medical school plays a foundational role in serving the needs of Minnesota," said Bruininks. "It is my considered judgment that this combined role will result in a number of key benefits, including strong, focused leadership for the health sciences and substantial cost savings through the ability to align and streamline resources and core functions in this severely challenged economy. This change will best position the University of Minnesota and the [Academic Health Center] to play a central role in shaping the future of healthcare for Minnesota and the surrounding region through excellence in our core mission of education, clinical services and health research."

Cerra, who has led the Academic Health Center since 1996, first came to the university in 1981 as director of surgical critical care. In 1995 he was named dean of the Medical School after serving briefly as head of the Department of Surgery.

Bruininks also outlined transition steps:

- Review and action on Cerra's appointment by the Board of Regents at the May 2009 meeting;

- Commencement of a national search for the new senior vice president and dean during the first quarter of 2010, with an anticipated appointment by the fall of 2010; and

- Transition to new leadership (working with Cerra and other senior University leadership and the leadership of our community partners) during the 2010-11 academic year.

If the Board of Regents approves Cerra's new appointment, he will assume the combined role July 1, 2009.

During the next several months leading up to the July 1 effective date, Cerra and current Medical School Dean Deborah Powell are working together on transition issues and are in discussions concerning a future administrative role for Powell in the area of medical education.

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