The following article summarizes the original event which is listed below the summary.

Committed to medical eminence

Tue, February 14 2023, 12pm

The University of Minnesota’s health sciences are committed to achieving medical eminence—eminence in research, teaching, innovation, and clinical care, Dr. Jakub Tolar, dean of the Medical School and vice president of clinical affairs, told members of UMRA during a special forum held via Zoom on February 14.

This was the unifying theme of Tolar’s extemporaneous remarks and detailed responses to questions raised during the well-attended forum addressing “A merger, a medical school, and health care in Minnesota.”

In reference to the ongoing merger talks between Sanford Health and Fairview Health Services, Tolar characterized the University as “an island of coherence in a sea of chaos.”

Tolar asserted that the University has been on a trajectory toward medical eminence in the past several years. The University has been able to attract some outstanding faculty and has made its clinical care more widely accessible. 

In just-released rankings of medical schools receiving funding from the National Institutes of Health, the University rose from No. 28 to No. 21 among all schools and is now No. 8 among public medical schools. 

The Medical School’s partnership with Fairview Health Services has been fruitful in allowing M Health physicians to practice in a variety of settings and reach more people, Tolar said.

The University aspires to increase its positive momentum. 

— Ron Matross, UMRA president

Event recording
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Special Forum: A merger, a medical school, and health care in Minnesota

Tue, February 14 2023, 12pm
Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD
Dean of the Medical School and vice president of Clinical Affairs
University of Minnesota

Event to be held via Zoom.

Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD, dean of the Medical School and vice president for Clinical Affairs at the University of Minnesota, has accepted an invitation from UMRA to participate in a special forum on February 14. He will address the proposed merger between Fairview Health Services (current owner of the University’s hospitals and clinics), and South Dakota-based Sanford Health, as well as the University’s vision: the MPact Health Care Innovation project.

The intent of this forum is to bring UMRA members up to date on the issues surrounding these changes and to share more about the Medical School’s progress and vision for the future. Register now to attend this Zoom webinar.

Competition in the health marketplace

Before 1997, University health care professionals worked and trained the next generation of clinicians in University-owned clinics and hospital. A new facility (the current hospital on the East Bank) was built in the 1980s with state support. This hospital and the clinics were sold to Fairview Health Services in 1996. Even today there are differing opinions on the reasons for and necessity of this sale.

Over the years, the University has tried several iterations of the partnership between Fairview and the University/University of Minnesota Physicians (M Physicians). The latest, signed in 2018, launched the joint clinical enterprise branded M Health Fairview. This agreement included new opportunities for academic physician leadership in the health system, a benchmark level of academic support for the first time in this affiliation, and market-level compensation for our physicians. The University of Minnesota Medical Center (UMMC), now three hospitals including Masonic Children’s Hospital, continues as the main site for our M Physicians practice and the training of health professionals.

If you would you like to submit a question in advance of the February 14 forum, email Frank Cerra.

Now, with three years remaining in the original agreements, Fairview has proposed a merger with Sanford Health, leaving open the future relationship with the University and its medical and health professional education and training programs, that also support all the health systems in Minnesota and their continued needs for health professionals. 

In the first of four public hearings on the merger, held by Attorney General Keith Ellison, the University announced opposition to the merger, citing the impact on the Medical School and the public purpose of UMMC. Two days later, the University announced its MPact Health Care Innovation vision that includes buying back the University hospital and pursuing a new, world-class medical center.

Much media coverage has been generated with more questions than answers: How will the Medical School and other health professional schools be supported, thrive and provide the needed health workforce, rural and urban? How will such a merger contain costs, retain quality, and support clinical education and research? How will the University realize its vision in a competitive health marketplace?

UMRA is privileged to have this exclusive opportunity to hear directly from Dean Tolar. Many UMRA members will remember him as the guest speaker for our September 2021 forum—“How we became a speedboat in a time of crisis”—on the Medical School’s extraordinary response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please mark your calendars and register (required) for this Zoom webinar starting at 12 p.m. on Tuesday, February 14. We hope you will join us.

—Co-authored by Frank Cerra, Medical School dean and senior vice president for health sciences (retired), and Jakub Tolar, Medical School dean and vice president for clinical affairs

Upcoming Events

Event Date: October 2, 2023, at 9:30am

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Event Date: October 3, 2023, at 1pm

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Event Date: October 4, 2023, at 10am

The first meeting of UMRA’s Family History Interest Group for 2023–24 will feature a presentation by Marilyn DeLong about sharing family stories and learning surprising family connections. 

Event Date: October 4, 2023, at 10am

UMRA has a special opportunity to engage with the four newest members of the U of M Board of Regents on Wednesday, October 4, via Zoom. The purpose of the event is to share our perspectives as former University employees. 

Event Date: October 10, 2023, at 12:30pm

All UMRA members with an interest in photography are welcome to attend the meeting of the UMRA Photo Club on Tuesday, October 10. We welcome photographers of all abilities. Most of us are struggling amateurs. We laugh a lot and learn from sharing and talking about our pictures.

Event Date: October 16, 2023, at 9:30am

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Event Date: October 19, 2023, at 11am

UMRA’s workshop on Open Enrollment for U of M retiree health plans for 2024 will include a briefing on the choice between Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plans, by Jeff Snegosky of BCBS of Minnesota, followed by an overview of the U of M’s retiree health insurance plans, by Katie Kolodge from the Office of Human Resources.

Event Date: October 20, 2023, at 2pm

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Event Date: October 24, 2023, at 11am

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Event Date: October 27, 2023, at 2pm

The Fourth Friday Book Club will meet from 2 to 3:30 p.m. CDT on October 27 to discuss the life and narrative of Frederick Douglass.

Event Date: November 6, 2023, at 9:30am

Join us for a 5 mile moderately paced hike around Pleasant Lake located in the heart of North Oaks.  It takes us past some of James J. Hill’s original farm buildings as well as beautiful homes built along the lakeshore. The trail is wide, generally flat and consists of packed dirt and crushed rock. 

Event Date: November 6, 2023, at 9:40am

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Event Date: November 7, 2023, at 1pm

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Event Date: November 27, 2023, at 9am - December 3, 2023, at 5pm

Get an insider's perspective on Santa Fe and Taos alongside local artists, exploring the Georgia O'Keeffe museum, enjoying traditional music and learning about native cultures. The deadline for reserving a space is June 2, 2023.

Event Date: December 4, 2023, at 9:30am

Please join us for an invigorating hike from The Monument located at the intersection of Mississippi RIver Blvd and Summit Avenue in St. Paul to Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis and back.  This hike is on paved trails, approximately 5.5 miles in length, and will be at a pace suitable to the weather.

Event Date: December 13, 2023, at 11:30am

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