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Medical School makes leadership changes

Dean Frank Cerra, M.D., and executive vice dean Mark S. Paller, M.D., M.S., now lead the Medical School’s strategic direction and daily operations, respectively. (Photo: Scott Streble)

Mark S. Paller, M.D., M.S., a physician and leader in the University of Minnesota’s research efforts for the last 27 years, in July became executive vice dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School.

As the Academic Health Center’s (AHC’s) assistant vice president for research since 1999, Paller has developed programs to encourage faculty and associate deans to expand research productivity throughout the health sciences.

The creation of the new executive vice dean position is part of an overall restructuring plan within the AHC and Medical School. Also under that plan, Frank Cerra, M.D., senior vice president for health sciences for the AHC, has taken on the additional role of Medical School dean.

As dean, Cerra will handle long-term strategic direction, foster strong external relationships with clinical partners, and promote financial stability. As executive vice dean, Paller will focus on the critical day-to-day operations of the Medical School, working with Cerra to implement the school’s strategic plan.

“I greatly value Mark’s ability to develop simple, focused solutions to complex problems,” says Cerra. “Throughout our tenure together at the University, I have always respected his keen insight and dedication to supporting the core missions of the Medical School and University.”

Paller served as the University lead on the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics, a collaboration between the state of Minnesota, the University, and Mayo Clinic.

He retains his clinical role as a practicing nephrologist, and as a professor of medicine in the Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension, he regularly teaches medical students, residents, and fellows.

Medical School Dean Emeritus Deborah Powell, M.D., is now serving as AHC associate vice president for new models of medical education. The position will allow her to continue her work on the transformation of medical education begun during her seven-year tenure as dean.

“Debbie Powell is a strong advocate for, and national leader in, the need to transform medical education for the next generation of physicians,” says Cerra. “Her new role will be important to ensuring our Medical School’s success in that realm.”
A recognized national leader in medical education, Powell is chair-elect of the Association of American Medical Colleges Board of Directors. She is also a member of the newly appointed Scientific Management Review Board for the National Institutes of Health and a member of the National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine.

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