Tuesday, June 19, 2007

M & M's ? Minnesota and Mayo

Mr. B. attended a Regent's open forum earlier this month. It was chaired by Dr. Patricia Simmons who will officially be the chair as of July 1.

She is an articulate and intelligent doc with a specialty that should serve her well - pediatrics. She has
serious chops in the medical field as do most Mayo docs.

She is a graduate of Carleton and has an MD from the University of Chicago, so she knows about first class institutions. If Mayo and BigU are to do more collaboration, nothing could be better than to have a person of Dr. Simmons' caliber heading the Board of Regents.

From the Sar-Tribune:
Editorial: A fine time for a Mayo 'U' regent to rise
Count on Patricia Simmons to push the U-Mayo connection.

Published: June 19, 2007

With a bow to William Mayo's long service at the start of the 20th century, we know of no more propitious time than the present for the leadership of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents to be placed in the hands of a Mayo Clinic physician.

Mayo pediatrician and professor of pediatrics Patricia Simmons will take the governing board reins at the state's most important public institution on July 1, for a two-year stint. She rose to the chair after only four years on the board on the strength of her leadership ability, not her Mayo connection. But that connection is bound to serve Minnesota well.

With a nudge from Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the help of state grants, Mayo and the university's Academic Health Center have set old rivalries aside in recent years and begun a very promising collaboration. The four-year-old Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics combines the clinical strength of Mayo and the research muscle of the university to seek cures for some of humankind's most vexing disorders: Alzheimer's, prostate cancer, cardiovascular disease and more. The commercial application of their work is likely to fuel the growth of the biosciences industry in this state. (More information about the collaboration is available at minnesotapartnership.info.)

At the same time, the university's teaching and research presence in Rochester has been growing. The University of Minnesota, Rochester now has coordinate campus designation and is in the process of hiring its own chancellor.

Simmons already sees a lively exchange of students, patients, faculty and ideas between Mayo and the university, and she wants to see more. She said in an interview last week that she looks for more joint academic ventures to arise, and to also involve Rochester industries, particularly IBM.

She's not opposed to a little rivalry between Minnesota's two medical giants. "We should be so good at some things that we are competing for top students and teachers," she said. "But when it comes to competing on the national scene, for federal funding, we're much stronger when we stand together."

The value of a major university, dedicated to research and community service as well as to teaching, ought to be on vivid display in Rochester in coming years. Simmons as regents' chair should help see to it.

A hopeful Bonzo.

No comments: