Dear SPH faculty, staff, and students:
Yesterday, Provost Rachel Croson named Mayo Professor Timothy Beebe as the interim dean of the School of Public Health (SPH) effective Feb. 1, 2022. I’m very grateful to the provost for her leadership and to all of you who submitted nominations and feedback during this process.
Tim is an outstanding member of our University and SPH communities, and I know you — our faculty, staff, and students — will rally around him as he moves into the interim dean role. Tim’s leadership strengths are considerable — both in and outside the University. In 1998, he was appointed as the youngest division head in the history of the Minnesota Department of Human Services and he has held several key roles at the Mayo Clinic, including most recently as chair of the Division of Health Care Policy and Research; research director for their Kern Center for the Science of Healthcare Delivery; and director of the Mayo Clinic Survey Research Center.
Tim has been head of the SPH Division of Health Policy & Management (HPM) since 2016 and holds University-wide leadership positions as deputy director of the Center for Learning Health System Sciences and senior advisor of the Community and Collaboration Program at the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). Through these and other roles, Tim has honed his skills as a leader, convener, negotiator, and collaborator, strengthening and forging relationships that advance the school’s mission. Under his leadership, HPM has launched new educational offerings, increased enrollment, strengthened and diversified its research portfolio, led important COVID-19 projects, and increased investment in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. The division has also sparked important new collaborations, including a $5 million investment from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota to establish the SPH Center for Antiracism Research for Health Equity, a collaboration in which Tim played a critical role.
Tim is a nationally renowned researcher in survey methodology and learning health systems research. In his role as program director of the Minnesota Learning Health System Mentored Career Development Program, Tim advances the practices of embedding research into clinical settings to help inform patient-centered approaches to healthcare delivery across diverse populations.
As interim dean, Tim will report directly to Provost Croson and will have all the authority of a dean to advance the school. As Tim takes up the dean’s responsibilities, I am confident that you will provide the support and counsel he and SPH need to keep moving forward in preparation for the dean’s search to be initiated in fall 2022.
There is much to do in the next 18 months. School priorities include:
- Continued progress on our Strategic Plan for Antiracism — with special attention to diversifying our faculty, staff, and student body and all of the inter-related commitments to which we aspire.
- Strengthening our public health workforce development activities in response to federal and state initiatives and the loss of practicing professionals.
- Continuing to further our collaborations and engagements with healthcare systems seeking to build their strength as “learning systems”.
- Forwarding our proposed undergraduate major in public health through the University approval process.
- Review of our national public health accreditation through an onsite review in April.
- Building our research and learning infrastructure and faculty development program school wide, and many other critical endeavors.
Under Tim’s leadership, I am certain that the school will not pause or slow down on current and new initiatives critical to its future, especially our determination to become an antiracist school. I am also confident that our school leadership team will provide the support and consultation Tim needs to lead and prepare for a successful dean’s search starting in fall 2022.
During the next month, Tim, I, and many others will work to ensure a smooth leadership transition. One task involves naming an interim division head of Health Policy & Management to serve as Tim steps into the interim dean role. Naming the interim division head is a top priority and will be made in January, as we initiate a process of consultation and nomination.
I am extremely grateful to Tim for his dedication to SPH and its future. Please join me in welcoming him to this new role.
John R. Finnegan Jr.
Dean and Professor