Kaler: Outside reviewers coming to UMN Academic Health Center


This is on the University of Minnesota’s Web site today.

The crux: A recent internal review of the Academic Health Center doesn’t get to larger issues that Kaler wants answered — among them whether the center is structured correctly.

(Note: I find that interesting, since the report’s executive summary lists “mission, functions and administrative responsibilities of the AHC, with an eye toward optimizing the use of enterprize-wide systems …” as a main focus. Perhaps I need to hone my skills in Adminspeak.)

So he is forming a committee headed by a Stony Brook University colleague, which he hopes will begin after an accreditation team visits the center in March.

Here’s the announcement:

Email to Academic Health Center faculty and staff

January 30, 2012

Dear AHC colleagues,

This fall the Academic Health Center Review Executive Steering Committee, chaired by Vice President and Dean Friedman and Vice President Mulcahy, completed a review of the AHC mission, structure and centers. This review was an instructive self-study and was consistent with the charge issued by President Bruininks.

As I noted upon receiving the report, it made several meaningful recommendations but was not designed to answer larger questions about the vision and the future of the AHC. I believe those are important questions and for that reason, I am charging a small committee to complete an external review. This external committee will be chaired by Dr. Ken Kaushansky, a member of the Institute on Medicine, dean of the School of Medicine, and senior vice president for the Health Sciences at Stony Brook University.

The primary question for the external review committee to consider is whether the AHC is structured to ensure excellence in all of our health science schools. One of my strategic goals for the University is to strengthen the health sciences and improve the national reputation of the Medical School. It is critical to both the future of the University and the state of Minnesota that we improve our leadership position in the health sciences in order to meet workforce needs, discover new cures and treatments, continue to provide high-quality clinical care, and support the biomedical industry. This requires an objective look at where we are and where we need to be to improve our position.

The recent self-study, along with many internal and external reviews and strategic plans that outline the strengths and challenges of our health science enterprise, will provide a valuable starting point for the external reviewers. In addition, the committee will visit campus to interview leaders and have the discussions necessary to fully understand and assess our needs.

As you may know, the Medical School accreditation team will be here in March. The external review team will visit as soon thereafter as is practical.

The mission of the AHC—to train the next generation of health professionals, to discover new cures and treatments and to enhance the economic vitality of our health industries—has never been more important. We need to ensure that we are positioned to meet that mission to the fullest.

Thank you for all you do to make the AHC and the University successful. I look forward to working with you to continue to build on the strengths of the Academic Health Center.


Eric W. Kaler