Tuesday, May 15, 2007

BigU’s MedSchoolDean Comments on St. Thomas/Allina
Feasibility Study for New Medical School

Mr. Bonzo has previously posted on this topic.

A blanket email was sent to faculty yesterday that is quoted below in full and without any editorial comments.

Mon, May 14, 2007 at 11:13 AM

To: MED-ALL@oris.ahc.umn.edu
Dear Medical School Faculty and Staff,

You may have noted with interest – as did I – that Allina and the University of St. Thomas have formally announced their intention to study the feasibility of starting a third medical school in the state of Minnesota. Like many of you, I had heard that there were discussions in the community as long as six to eight months ago. Now that the two institutions have made their goals public, I wanted to share with you my thoughts on this development.

This medical school was founded before the establishment of the state of Minnesota, and we have significant experience providing medical education to generations of physicians. We have a solid record of ensuring physicians are interested in practicing in communities throughout the state with our Rural Physician Associate Program, and our residency programs have provided generations of leading care to the families of the state. We were recently named one of the top 10 medical schools in the nation for training family medicine physicians.

We educate students from the state of Minnesota to become physicians for the state of Minnesota.

Although I haven’t been asked, I’d be happy to speak with leaders of this fledgling effort. Having spent my professional career in academic medicine in universities across the nation, I have worked with colleagues at the Association of American Medical Colleges to transform medical education for the next generation. Our Flexible M.D. program and the evolving MED 2010 are but two examples. More importantly, I’ve had the opportunity to work with our national educational accrediting programs, providing an opportunity to witness firsthand what leads to success or failure in the current environment.

Do I have concerns? Certainly. Medical education is an expensive undertaking that requires significant resources to drive its success. This medical school today is an $800 million enterprise and many of its sources of revenue are shrinking, including federal Medicaid dollars dedicated to education and many state programs.

Medical education is not simple. In our Medical School, however, we collectively have a large amount of experience. We have been educating physicians for the state of Minnesota for more than 150 years. The University of Minnesota Medical School was mentioned in the Flexner Report of 1910, which called for reform of medical education, as a school that was doing it right. We still are doing it right.

Deborah E. Powell, M.D.
Dean of the Medical School
Assistant Vice President for Clinical Sciences
McKnight Presidential Leadership Chair