As executive director of the Essentia Institute of Rural Health, Tom Elliott, MD, devoted the past three years to building the framework needed for EIRH to become a national force in rural health research. That era ends April 1st, when Dr. Elliott transitions into a pure research role at EIRH and the executive director position is assumed by Richard Ziegler, PhD.
Dr. Ziegler has more than 25 years of administrative experience, including a long tenure as Dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School in Duluth, where he currently serves as a professor of microbiology and infectious diseases. He has a B.S. in biology from Muhlenberg College and a Ph.D. in microbiology from Temple University. He is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Society for Microbiology, the American Society for Virology, the American Society for Neurovirology and the Society for Neuroscience.
In addition to his academic work, Dr. Ziegler has a long history of involvement with Essentia Health and its predecessors, the Duluth Clinic and SMDC Health System. Most recently, he has been serving on the EIRH Research Committee and the Essentia Health Board of Directors. He will be resigning from these governance roles when he assumes his administrative duties.
When Dr. Ziegler assumes his executive directorship, Dr. Elliott will officially become a full-time senior research scientist. He will continue using the Institute’s data warehouse to conduct comparative effectiveness research and retrospective analysis on issues ranging from bariatric surgery outcomes to the effectiveness of opioid prescription tools. Dr. Elliott will also collaborate with Health Partners to analyze the effectiveness of Essentia’s Accountable Care Organization (ACO) model on the care of patients (including Essentia Health's employees) covered by Health Partners insurance.
EIRH exists to support Essentia Health's mission of making a healthy difference in people's lives. The Institute does this by working closely with Essentia Health physicians, nurses and other staff to develop education and research programs aimed at improving both the health and healthcare services for our patients. Learn more about EIRH by visiting its website at www.essentiainstitute.org