New investment would help hire more faculty, secure new grants, address state's doctor shortage
Contact: Matt Swenson
ST. PAUL, MN -- Fifty years after declaring a pre-Med major in college, Governor Mark Dayton today announced a major new investment in the University of Minnesota Medical School that would restore the School to national prominence and train the next generation of world-class medical professionals right here in Minnesota. Governor Dayton's proposal, included in his 2015 Budget, would allow the University to hire 50 more medical researchers over the next eight years, address Minnesota's looming shortage of doctors statewide, secure new grants, and support medical innovation and job creation.
"Minnesota's future economic and social vitality depend upon what we do now to train the next generation of medical professionals in our state," said Governor Dayton. "Today's medical students will become the doctors, who will care for our families, and the researchers, who will develop life-saving innovations in medical technology, in the years to come."
Governor Dayton's proposal is based on the recommendations of a Blue Ribbon Committee -- comprised of medical experts, business and academic leaders, and policymakers -- he convened in August 2014. Brooks Jackson, M.D., Dean of the Medical School and Vice President for Health Services, served on the Blue Ribbon Committee. Dr. Jackson strongly endorsed the Governor's proposal today, urging the Legislature to fund the plan in full this year.
View the report of the Blue Ribbon Committee, Preeminent Medical Discovery, Education, and Workforce for a Healthy Minnesota
"The investments we make in the University of Minnesota Medical School have a direct and lasting impact on the quality of care all Minnesotans receive," said Dr. Brooks Jackson. "Our school has a long history of medical discovery that has brought new treatments and cures and have made a difference in countless lives across our state. Making these crucial investments now will help ensure that future generations of Minnesotans have access to the best doctors, and the best medical care in the world."
The plan proposed by Governor Dayton today would invest $30 million in the following initiatives:
Restoring the Medical School to National Prominence -- University of Minnesota Medical School faculty have made discoveries and created innovative medical practices that have transformed the lives of Minnesotans, revolutionized the practice of medicine, and generated significant economic returns through external research funding and technology transfer. But over the last two decades, the Medical School has lost 100 tenured faculty, making it difficult for the School to remain a national leader in medical education and research.
The Governor's proposal would allow the Medical School to hire 50 research faculty members over the next eight years -- providing the brainpower and capacity to continue and improve the University's tradition of nation-leading, innovative research. Hiring 50 new faculty members, at the top of their fields, also will help attract the best students to the Medical school, improve philanthropy, and secure new business partnerships.
Supporting Nation-Leading Research and Innovation -- The new research faculty funded by Governor Dayton's proposal would be used to form Medical Discovery Teams focused on researching the state's most pressing health concerns -- helping secure new National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants. The Governor's proposal will also support critical clinical research needs, expanding the University's ability to translate scientific discovery into treatments and cures. In the past, medical breakthroughs at the Medical School have helped spur important developments in Minnesota's medical device industry, creating new businesses and thousands of jobs.
Meeting the Health Care Needs of a Changing Minnesota -- A 2014 study from the Minnesota Hospital Association estimates that Minnesota faces a shortage of 850 primary care doctors over the next 10 years, primarily in Greater Minnesota. The Governor's proposed investment would the boost the University of Minnesota Medical School's Rural Physicians Associates Program (Twin Cities campus) and Rural Scholars Program (Duluth campus) -- training the next generation of world-class medical professionals who will practice in every corner of the state.
The University of Minnesota Medical School plays a critical role in Minnesota's position as a leader in providing broad access to the highest-quality, low-cost health care. In order to continue Minnesota's tradition of excellence in health care, the Governor believes the University of Minnesota must leverage the Medical School's strengths, invest wisely, and commit to the institution's continued improvement.
More than 70 percent of Minnesota's physicians have taken classes or earned their medical degrees from the University of Minnesota Medical School. The Medical School provides training to 1,200 primary care and specialty residents, and provides continuing education courses to 10,000 physicians each year -- making the School a major asset to the continued improvement of Minnesota's health care system.