Duluth med school announces $1.6 million anonymous giftAn anonymous gift of almost $1.6 million will allow the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Duluth campus to further achieve its missions of providing physicians to rural communities and training American Indians to be doctors, the school’s dean said on Friday.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
An anonymous gift of almost $1.6 million will allow the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Duluth campus to further achieve its missions of providing physicians to rural communities and training American Indians to be doctors, the school’s dean said on Friday.
“This generous, unrestricted gift will provide us with the flexibility and the resources necessary to educate the next generation of doctors,” Gary Davis told dozens of people packed into the school’s atrium. “We are deeply grateful for this gift. It will help us to continue to provide doctors for rural and Native American communities and conduct research on health issues relevant to those communities.”
Davis chose an already celebratory event in which to announce the largest gift in the school’s history. Medical students, community members and members of the school’s inaugural class and faculty were on hand to commemorate its 40th anniversary.
How the money will be used hasn’t been determined. The faculty was unaware of the gift’s amount until the 5 p.m. announcement, Davis said, and he wants them to be heavily involved in spending decisions.
It’s likely some of the money will be put into an endowment for future use and the rest spent for immediate needs, Davis said. It’s not likely to be used toward construction or to endow a chair, either of which would require more sizable investments.
But it’s a sizable amount nonetheless, he said. To put it in perspective, the school’s annual operating budget is $9 million. But Davis already has ideas about how some of the money could be used.
“I’ll give you one example: We have a simulation center over there,” he said, referring to a laboratory in which medical procedures are simulated on high-fidelity mannequins. “It’s a really nice simulation center. We can spend some additional money on that simulation center and make it a really cool simulation center.”
What’s certain is that the money will be used with the missions of serving rural areas and American Indian populations in mind, Davis said.
The 40th anniversary celebration centered around the school’s record of meeting those goals. Davis told the audience that the Duluth campus leads the country in terms of the proportion of graduates who practice family medicine in small towns and rural areas. And 151 American Indian physicians began their medical studies in Duluth. That’s the third-highest number in the country.
Among them was Dr. Alan Johns, who was in the charter class of 1972 and now is an administrator in the school.
Johns, one of five members of the 24-member charter class who attended, told the audience he was proud of the school’s achievements.
“We’ve literally trained hundreds of family medicine physicians for rural areas,” Johns said. “And Native American physicians: 151. Ed La Due and I were the first two in the first class, which I’ve always been proud of. This school has really delivered the goods. The citizens of Minnesota … invested in this school, and they got their money’s worth.”