Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Kolars to lead global medical training

The Medical School is expanding its educational mission in an effort to develop a more global impact, and Dr. Joseph Kolars has been named to oversee that initiative.

Photo courtesy UMHS

Kolars will become the Medical School’s first senior associate dean for education and global initiatives effective June 1, pending the approval of the Board of Regents.

“In his new role, Dr. Kolars will lead our efforts to enhance the full spectrum of medical training, from undergraduate to continuing education, biomedical research education, and bring it together with global impact,” says Dr. James Woolliscroft, the medical school’s dean and Lyle C. Roll Professor of Medicine.

A gastroenterologist, Kolars currently holds several positions at the Mayo Clinic, including professor of medicine, emeritus residency program director in the Department of Internal Medicine and consultant to the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Since late 2007, Kolars has divided his time between the Mayo Clinic and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where he works on education systems that will build human resource capacity to transform health. He will continue to work on these initiatives on behalf of the Gates Foundation after he arrives at Michigan.

Kolars has focused his career on physician education and has held a number of leadership roles in education programs for medical students, residents, and fellows, including program director of one of the largest internal medicine residencies in the United States.

His scholarship largely has emphasized educational outcomes, measurements of competency, faculty development and effective learning venues. Most recently, he has worked with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education on its Educational Innovations Project, designed to reform graduate medical education.

His extensive experience worldwide uniquely qualifies him to lead the Medical School’s global initiatives, leaders say. He has been involved in numerous faculty development programs worldwide. He has given lectures or conducted classes in many parts of the globe, including China, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Peru, Germany, Pakistan, South Africa, Ghana, and Vietnam.

For more than three years Kolars and his family worked in Shanghai to establish a new health-care system that also could serve as a learning site for local physicians.

Kolars obtained his medical degree in 1982 from the University of Minnesota Medical School and completed his gastroenterology fellowship training at Michigan. He stayed at U-M, first as an instructor in the Department of Internal Medicine in 1989, then as an assistant professor in 1991, and as an associate professor with tenure in 1995.

He served as associate chair for graduate medical education and was residency program director in the Department of Internal Medicine 1993-96. He has maintained his affiliation with Michigan by serving as an adjunct associate professor of medicine since 1999.