Duluth Campus

Our mission

The mission of the University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth campus is to be a national leader in improving healthcare access and outcomes in rural Minnesota and American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities. 
We do this by:
  • Educating medical students dedicated to serving rural Minnesota and American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities. 
  • Fostering excellence in research.
  • Emphasizing the training of physicians in Family Medicine.
  • Creating strong partnerships locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
  • Working in innovative, interdisciplinary and inter-professional teams.

The University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth campus was founded in 1972 to serve the needs of rural Minnesota and Native American communities. As a mission-based campus, we are proven leaders in the areas of primary care, rural medicine, and training Native American physicians.

  • #3 in rural medicine (2017 U.S. News & World Report)
  • #7 in primary care (2017 U.S. News & World Report)
  • 44% of our alumni practicing in communities with populations under 25,000
  • Graduated the second largest number of American Indian physicians


We admit a small class of 60 students each year. Through standard coursework and specialized one-on-one clinical teaching experiences, our students are trained to deliver expert care for rural and Native American communities. After two years in Duluth, our students have a variety of options for completing their medical education, including the Rural Physician Associate Program or clerkships in Duluth, Minneapolis, or St. Paul.


There are three main departments on the Duluth campus and over 130 faculty members. Our clinical faculty can be found throughout the state, and our on-campus faculty work primarily to educate undergraduate medical students and conduct research. Our faculty is supportive and tight-knit. We often interact with the Twin Cities campus remotely to continue engagement with the school's overall mission and goals, but we also work to nurture our students and remain leaders in our core mission areas.


Our research often relates to our mission, and connects with the broader Medical School research objectives. We study population health and ways to improve the lifespan and quality of life in Native American communities. We study Lyme disease, rural mental health, and cancer cell behavior. We work closely with the Duluth Global Health Research Institute to facilitate our clinical and academic work, and to improve access to medical science discovery on a broader scale.

Campus life

Hassle is a word we don't really hear up in Duluth. Getting to campus couldn't be easier, with plenty of parking and housing options across the street. Our faculty and staff are more than approachable, they're friends and allies to the students who come here. The city is vibrant and fun, with a lot of history and some truly amazing food. The beauty of the North Shore can't be beat, and for anyone who loves the outdoors, there's plenty to see and do near Duluth.



Paula Termuhlen, MD
Regional Campus Dean

Assistant/Associate Deans

Raymond G. Christensen, MD
Associate Dean for Rural Health

Alan M. Johns, MD, MEd
Associate Dean for Curriculum, Medical Education and Technology

Robin L. Michaels, PhD
Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Admissions

Cathy McCarty, Ph.D., MPH
Associate Dean for Research


Jim Keith, M.S., PMP
Admin Center Director

Heather Heart, M.S.
Development/External Affairs Director

Lester Drewes, Ph.D.
Director, Academic Health Center, Duluth

Terri Rose-Hellekant, Ph.D., D.V.M.
Director, Animal Services

Mustafa al'Absi, Ph.D.
Director, Duluth Global Health Research Institute

Mary Owen, M.D.
Director, Center for American Indian and Minority Health


Centers and institutes

Centers and institutes

Mary Owen, MD

Director, Duluth Global Health Research Institute

Donor relations

Donor relations

Heather Heart
Director of Development—Medical School Duluth campus

Faculty and staff resources

 Dean Paula Termuhlen, M.D.

Regional Campus Dean
Paula Termuhlen, MD

Note from the dean

In addition to our faculty and staff of 130, some 300 Minnesota physicians teach our students on campus in Duluth or in hospitals and clinics around the state. Our faculty members include research scientists investigating important medical questions related to the health of rural and Native American communities.

Welcome to a team focused on the health of people in Greater Minnesota and Native American communities.

Paula Termuhlen, MD
Regional Campus Dean