Gary Francis, M.D., describes his recent return to the University of Minnesota’s cardiology faculty as “a homecoming of sorts.”
Francis joined the University faculty in October as an adult clinical cardiologist and associate director of the Lillehei Heart Institute’s Clinical Trials Center. But he first came to the University professionally in 1977 and stayed for 20 years, serving at the end of that tenure as a professor of medicine and research director of the Rasmussen Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention.
Then, after a decade away, serving as head of clinical cardiology at Cleveland Clinic, Francis felt a near-gravitational pull to return to the University, primarily because of the renewed energy in the cardiology program.
“I’m attracted by the direction that [cardiology chief] Dr. [Daniel] Garry is bringing to the University,” Francis says. “The cardiology group has been rejuvenated. There are new resources, a lot of recruiting going on, lots of young people, a fellowship program on the upswing. All of these things factored into my decision.”
Francis and his wife also grew up in the Twin Cities, and Francis had attended the University as an undergraduate.
Through his clinical work, Francis became interested in studying the interaction between renal function and heart failure and at Cleveland Clinic took part in a long series of studies on this connection. He also participates in large national and international clinical trials as a steering committee member and data and safety monitoring board member.
In his future research, Francis will study new treatments for heart failure and renal dysfunction.
“The most rewarding part of my return here has been the palpable sense of optimism and energy,” says Francis. “I really want to make a contribution to that energy—to the group’s collective goals and to our patients. It’s just good to be back.”