The University of Minnesota’s Academic Health Center has three requests in front of the state Legislature this session, and all are critical to our success in training, research, and care delivery.
Health sciences education facility:
We are seeking funding for a state-of-the-art health sciences education facility. Last year, a legislative impasse suspended this request. Currently, our students learn and train in outdated, underground facilities. This new building will encourage interprofessional and simulation training and small-group learning.
Having such a building will help our health sciences programs recruit the best students and train them to work collaboratively in today’s fast-changing health care marketplace. Funding for this request is especially important because the national medical school accreditation body has cited the Medical School’s inadequate facilities.
Family medicine residency funding:
We have also requested restoration of funding to the Medical School’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and to the School of Dentistry that was discontinued when UCare lost its state contract in 2015 (see related story). These funds help pay for residency training programs for family physicians and help fund the University’s Mobile Dental Clinic, which provides dental care in underserved areas of Minnesota.
Expanded cancer clinical trials:
Our third request seeks funding to expand cancer clinical trial opportunities in greater Minnesota. Cancer is the leading cause of death in Minnesota. One in four Minnesotans will be diagnosed with potentially fatal cancer in his or her lifetime; over half live more than 30 miles from a clinical trial site. Clinical trials offer the latest new treatments, drugs, and devices. We propose building a clinical trials network to give more Minnesotans access to these trials while expanding Masonic Cancer Center research that would bring treatments to market faster. The Minnesota Cancer Clinical Trials Network initiative is part of the University’s Minnesota Discovery Research and InnoVation Economy (MnDRIVE) request, and, if funded, will be implemented in partnership with local providers across the state.
All three of the requests were included in Gov. Mark Dayton’s proposed budget and are under consideration by the Legislature. To succeed this session, we need your voice. Please visit www.advocates.umn.edu and encourage your state lawmaker to support the University of Minnesota’s health sciences initiatives.