Board of Regents reviews proposal of unique Institute for Child and Adolescent Brain Health

University seal

During its Finance and Operations Committee meeting Thursday, the University of Minnesota Board of Regents reviewed a proposal to purchase what is currently Shriners Hospital in Minneapolis (2025 East River Parkway) and learned more about the vision for how the University would use the property.

Dr. Jakub Tolar, dean of the University’s Medical School and vice president for clinical affairs, and Dr. Jean Quam, dean of the University’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), shared with Regents how they would bring together leading experts from the globally recognized programs they oversee at the University to form a first-of-its-kind interdisciplinary institute. The Institute would focus its work on brain development at two critical developmental stages, the first 1,000 days of life and adolescence. The Institute would focus on clinical research, clinical services for children and families, and policy/outreach, resulting in better diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders in childhood and adolescence.

“Autism and other childhood developmental disabilities are a core research, teaching and outreach focus for our college,” said Quam, highlighting potentially life-changing benefits for children with neurological disorders and their families. “We are committed to enhancing human learning and development at all stages of life and this partnership could expand those efforts.”

“The Institute is poised to serve as a national model of excellence for child and adolescent brain health, while also expanding our ability to treat more people throughout our state and region,” said Tolar. “The University has an unprecedented opportunity to bring the Institute together in this existing facility that can be rapidly up and running.”

The proposed home for the Institute for Child and Adolescent Brain Health is a children’s hospital property that Tolar told Regents is “uniquely suited” to host the patients and families that the Institute would serve. The facilities on the 10.2-acre property were designed and constructed to serve the needs of children with disabilities and their families, including a hospital, clinic and support facilities, hotel rooms for overnight stays, and an attached parking ramp.   

The potential purchase and any renovations to the existing facilities would be funded through philanthropic donations. The University is currently pursuing its standard due diligence on the acquisition. The Board is expected to consider action on the proposed purchase at its October meeting, prior to the end of the due diligence period.

President Joan Gabel Shares Update on Systemwide Strategic Planning

On Friday, Gabel provided the Board with more detail about how her administration will develop a systemwide strategic plan, a process that began in 2016 with the development of a strategic framework for the system. Gabel and the Board will see this work through its final phase, which will ultimately yield an updated strategic plan to guide the University into the future.

Gabel reiterated to the Board her focus on a collaborative process involving consultation with stakeholder groups from all five of the University’s campuses and beyond. Gabel will charge each campus to develop and present individual plans later in the process that will outline local strategies and actions to support the systemwide approach.

While she cautioned a comprehensive effort to collect varied perspectives can be time-consuming, she reinforced the value of the practice and anticipates her team will have a draft plan for Board consideration by June 2020.

The Board also:

  • Recognized the three newest Regents Professors: Ned Mohan, department of electrical and computer engineering in the College of Science and Engineering; David Y. H. Pui, department of mechanical engineering in the College of Science and Engineering, and; Marlene Zuk, department of ecology, evolution and behavior in the College of Biological Sciences.

  • Heard the first in a series of updates on the University’s health sciences strategy from Tolar, who was joined for his presentation by James Hereford, president and CEO of Fairview Health Services. 

  • Discussed extending the Twin Cities campus dining services agreement with Aramark for up to two years to allow sufficient time to fully consider and plan for future campus dining services options, a process that will continue to engage as many campus stakeholders as possible, and students in particular.

  • Learned more about a record-breaking fundraising year during the University of Minnesota Foundation’s annual presentation. Foundation CEO Kathy Schmidlkofer detailed $361 million in contributions to the University in fiscal year 2019, breaking the previous record of $351 million from fiscal year 2015.

The Board of Regents will meet next on October 10-11, 2019. Visit regents.umn.edu for more information.

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University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
09/13/2019