Tolar_Jakub_2021 (2).jpgJune 2023 Advocacy Champion

Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD

Dean, Vice President for Clinical Affairs
University of Minnesota Medical School

1. Why is being an advocate important to you?
I am incredibly proud of this School and the value that is provided for the state of Minnesota — I want people to know that in a way that is meaningful to them.

As part of that, it is our job as a land grant institution to make health care better in this state and advocacy is a part of that.

The University of Minnesota Medical School serves this state, and I want people to know that we are focused on taking care of and improving their health. I believe deeply in our service mission and in ensuring we have the autonomy to continue to fulfill it.

2. What issue(s) did you advocate for over the past year and why was it important?
We advocated for the assurance that the academic medical facilities would remain governed by Minnesota. It's important because we are supported by and accountable to Minnesota.

We also supported CentraCare's advocacy for funding for a new regional campus in St. Cloud and an expansion of our campus in Duluth. We need the ability to train more rural physicians again to support access to high quality care in all parts of the state.

We have three ways that we advance the practice of medicine–teaching, researching, caring for patients–and it is important that all three of them work together. Our academic medical facilities are critical to this work, and our advocacy was to ensure that these facilities remain governed by organizations accountable to Minnesota and Minnesotans, as we are. We are also advocating to expand our training capacity for physicians who will work in Greater Minnesota, by creating a new regional campus in St. Cloud and to extend our Duluth campus.

3. What advice would you offer to others who are interested in advocacy?
Start with something you feel passionate about and never give up.

Tell your story in a way that is relatable; keep it local. Listen and always think about issues from others’ point of view.

Keep your supporters informed all along the way. Build coalitions—to ensure you are getting many different viewpoints.