Friedman: ‘Time was right to step down’

He served as the University’s Medical School Dean and Academic Health Center VP for three years.
February 14, 2013

 

After three years as vice president for health sciences and dean of the University of Minnesota’s Medical School, Aaron Friedman said in a statement Monday that he felt the time was right to step down at the end of 2013.

His impact on the University ranged from pediatrics to a leadership position during the construction of the Amplatz Children’s Hospital.

“This is a great time to welcome a new leader aboard to take the Academic Health Center into this next phase,” Friedman said in the statement.

University President Eric Kaler announced Friedman’s decision Friday in an email to faculty and staff.

Friedman is currently out of the country and should return within two weeks, according to the Academic Health Center Office of Communications.

As a result of Friedman’s decision, Wesley Miller agreed to extend his term as chair of the Department of Medicine  through 2014.

Miller said it was sensible to prolong his term a little bit so the search for a new dean can begin before the search for a new department chair.

“I’m personally disappointed with [Friedman’s] decision to step down primarily because I really enjoy working with him,” Miller said. “But I think that his reasons for stepping down are his own, and I think they are very well-founded.”

Friedman’s term was originally intended to last up to three years, but Miller said he had hoped Friedman would sign on beyond that term.

Before his current positions, Friedman served from 2008 to 2010 as Ruben-Bentson chair of pediatrics and as pediatrician-in-chief of the University’s Amplatz Children’s Hospital.

“He was a wonderful colleague to work with,” said Kathie Taranto, Amplatz Children’s Hospital president.

“He is passionate about health care for children, and it really came through in everything we did together until he moved into the deanship,” Taranto said.

Friedman was instrumental in moving the organization forward so the hospital could be ranked among the top academic children’s hospitals in the country, Taranto said.

As a leader at the time the children’s hospital was being built in 2010, Taranto said Friedman helped ensure it was designed with the input of patients and families.

“I think he played a very big role in helping it be one of the best facilities in the country for care for kids,” Taranto said.

A national search for a new Medical School dean and vice president for health sciences will begin as soon as possible, according to the AHC Office of Communications.

Both positions will remain combined and directly report to Kaler.

“The University was lucky to have him, and I was lucky to have him as a partner,” Taranto said. “He’s just a great man in my estimation and a great leader.”

Friedman said in the statement that although he felt the need to step down, his work at the AHC is not yet finished.

“We have a lot of work in the next 11 months and I am committed to ensuring that we have a strong and smooth transition into the next phase of the AHC,” he said.

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