Amid the ongoing health care workforce shortage across Minnesota, the Walz administration announced Thursday a series of new appointments to a task force designed to improve the training of future medical professionals.
Officially known as the Task Force on Academic Health at the University of Minnesota, the group consists of 14 total members and two special advisors. Former governors. Tim Pawlenty and Mark Dayton serve as special advisors. Walz selected 12 of the members, while the Minnesota Senate and House of Representatives each appointed two lawmakers to the group.
The members of the task force are:
- Dr. Jakub Tolar, a professor at the U of M School of Medicine
- Dr. Penny Wheeler, former president and CEO of Allina Health System
- Dr. David Herman, CEO of Duluth-based Essentia Health
- Dr. Meghan Walsh, chief academic officer at Hennepin Healthcare
- Pahoua Hoffman, senior VP of government and community relations at HealthPartners
- Dr. Julia Joseph-Di Caprio, president and founder of Leap Pediatric and Adolescent Care
- Brenda Hilbrich, Executive VP at SEIU Healthcare Minnesota & Iowa
- Connie Delaney, dean of the U of M School of Nursing
- Barbara Joers, President and CEO of Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare
- Vance Opperman, CEO and owner of TCB Parent company MSP Communications and former CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota
- Carol Backstrom, deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health Health Systems Office
- Dennis Olson, Commissioner of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education
- Senator from Minnesota. Melissa Wiklund
- Minnesota Rep. Tina darling
All members’ terms officially begin on September 26 and end on June 1, 2024. The group is scheduled to meet at least twice a month and will meet for the first time on October 5 at the Minnesota Senate Building.
The group’s mission is, among other things, to “identify options for potential public funding for academic health.” Task members are also asked to “center primary care.”