Unified strategic priorities | A message from the Dean

Dean Keith Mays in lobby of School of Dentistry office.

Approximately a week ago, the Governor’s Task Force on Academic Health Sciences at the University of Minnesota released their recommendations. The recommendations were shaped by listening to a variety of stakeholders— including the Health Science Deans—throughout the fall, and by the ongoing relations between the University, more specifically the Medical School and Fairview.

The report states that “The recommendations cover a range of topics and have varying degrees of detail and consensus. While there were some differing opinions among members, the highest priority recommendations for the group as a whole were those calling for an integrated strategic plan across the UMN health sciences programs, increased emphasis and funding for health workforce initiatives, and qualified support for UMN’s three priority proposals, which are described further below, as they continue to evolve through various decision- and policy-making processes.”

As a school, we will work with the other Health Science Deans to develop an integrated strategic plan. These thoughts were also articulated in Dr. Jakub Tolar’s message last week. While the plan is not currently formed, we find ourselves in a great position to partner with the other health science professional schools, because integration will be shaped around common interests and strengths. These strengths are our commitment to a sustainable rural healthcare workforce, to improving the health of Minnesotans, to educating and training practice-ready professionals and to interprofessional collaborative practice.

This is also a time for advocacy to ensure a sustainable infrastructure for health science buildings. As we envision a future health science physical infrastructure, it will be important for oral health to be purposefully integrated. We should look for the opportunities to be physically co-located with other health science clinics to drive better health outcomes for Minnesotans. We must continue to champion our message that oral health is part of overall health. Our future science and practice should advance integrated healthcare to facilitate better health outcomes for Minnesotans and beyond.