Bruininks announces med school temp dean

Aaron Friedman will replace Frank Cerra for a term of two to three years.

Kyle Potter

University of Minnesota President Bob Bruininks announced Friday his appointee to temporarily replace the outgoing vice president of health sciences and dean of the Medical School.
Aaron Friedman will replace Frank Cerra, effective Jan. 3, 2011. In February, Cerra announced his plans to retire at the end of this calendar year.
“It’s certainly a challenge in attempting to fill his shoes,” Friedman said, referring to his new post as both daunting and exciting. His new role will likely last two to three years, Bruininks said. Though it will be temporary, Friedman will tackle short- and long-term problems like preparing the Medical School for accreditation review in March 2012 and solidifying the relationship with Fairview Health Services.
“I fully intend to be somebody who is thinking about decisions that we make as future decisions and things that will have an impact … for potentially a longer period,” Friedman said. “We have to look at it that way.”
He will leave his current seat as chairman of the University’s pediatrics department, where he has sat since arriving at the University in 2008. He has also worked for the University of Wisconsin and Brown University’s medical school.
The appointment will go before the Board of Regents for approval at its October meeting. Bruininks said he has “no doubts whatsoever” that the appointment will be approved.
Bruininks stressed the need to fill the position until the next University president can choose his or her own appointee.
“I felt it was important to appoint someone from inside the Medical School and the academic health sciences because of several transitions occurring in a short period,” he said.
Bruininks will step down as president June 30, 2011.
“I thought with a new president taking the helm in July that I needed to make sure that he or she would have the opportunity to actually make the longer-term appointment,” he added.  
Beginning Oct. 15, Friedman will spend half his time working with Cerra, training and identifying goals.
“I expect it to be one of the smoothest handoffs in the University’s history,” Bruininks said.