University of Minnesota medical school dean resigning

This announcement from University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler was forwarded to me:

Dear Colleagues,

Dr. Aaron Friedman, vice president for the health sciences and dean of the Medical School, has informed me of his plans to step down at the end of the calendar year, which is also the end of his current, three-year appointment.

President Bruininks appointed Dr. Friedman to lead the Academic Health Center and the Medical School beginning in January 2011. He has been a strong leader through a time of transition and a strong voice for the health sciences. He has been a true partner to me in moving the health sciences forward. His integrity, ability to collaborate, and talent have been essential as we have pursued a new relationship with Fairview, worked to ensure our health professional graduates are successful in the changing healthcare landscape, and continued to grow our research portfolio in the biomedical and health sciences. I thank him for his service to this University.

Prior to his appointment as vice president, Dr. Friedman was head of the Department of Pediatrics and pediatrician-in-chief at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital. He is a pediatric nephrologist and has been awarded the Henry L. Barnett Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics for his contributions to children with kidney disease and to the pediatric nephrology community.

We will immediately launch a national search for a new vice president and dean. Consistent with a model advanced in the recent AHC external review, I plan to keep these positions combined, with a direct report to me. I believe it is critical that this position have the scope and strength to attract the very best candidates nationally. I am pleased to announce that Bobbi Daniels, vice dean for clinical affairs at the Medical School and CEO of University of Minnesota Physicians, and Leon Assael, dean of the School of Dentistry, have agreed to co-chair the search. We will name the search committee membership in the next two weeks. Dr. Daniels, Dean Assael, and I are committed to structuring a robust, transparent process—with consultation from the AHC, the University community, and our external partners—that will attract the very best pool of candidates nationally.

Due to this transition, I have asked the Medical School to postpone a search for a new head of medicine. Dr. Wes Miller has agreed to continue to serve as interim head until the end of 2014.

Dr. Friedman will continue to lead the Medical School and health sciences for remainder of the calendar year. He will continue to serve as a valued member of the senior leadership team and an important leader in our efforts to move the University forward.

I am confident that the University's health sciences will continue to thrive under our education, research, and clinical leadership during this transition and that we will be successful in finding a visionary, strong leader for the health sciences. I look forward to engaging many of you in the search process.


Eric W. Kaler


It seems Friedman's role was designed to be an interim one, as suggested in this September 2010 announcement by Bob Bruininks, who was president at the time (with the bold type being mine):

I have asked Dr. Friedman to assume this position during the period that includes Dr. Cerra’s and my own transition from our respective roles, and the search for and appointment of the next President of the University of Minnesota. I fully expect and will strongly recommend that the next president of the University of Minnesota conduct a national search for this position. However, we can reasonably assume that such a search would take place at some point after the new president arrives and settles into his or her role, and given the critical need to establish stable leadership for the Medical School and the health sciences in the near term, I believe that this strategy of appointing Dr. Friedman as vice president and dean, subject to the ratification of the Board of Regents, is the best approach.

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