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MU Chancellor, Provost Name Delafontaine as School of Medicine Dean

Reappointment will help university move forward in areas of research, medical education and diversity

February 18th, 2016

Story Contact: Christian Basi, 573-882-4430,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – MU Interim Chancellor Hank Foley and Provost Garnett Stokes announced today the reappointment of Patrice Delafontaine as the dean of the School of Medicine. His appointment is effective immediately.

“Dr. Delafontaine has been recognized by his peers as an outstanding leader and has a track record of building great medical education, clinical and research programs while simultaneously taking action to improve diversity,” Foley said. “This is exactly what MU needs to move forward. As the state’s flagship, public research institution, and a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU), it is imperative that we have a leader in the School of Medicine who understands our responsibility to our students and the citizens of Missouri who rely on us to discover new information and invent new technologies to improve their lives.”

“I am pleased to announce the reinstatement of Dr. Patrice Delafontaine as the dean of the School of Medicine,” Stokes said. “He will help Mizzou move forward as we address issues that universities across the country also are facing. We know his leadership will strengthen our reputation as a leading public research university that provides excellent clinical, educational and research opportunities for our students. Dr. Delafontaine also has demonstrated a commitment to creating a more inclusive and diverse community, which is essential for the success of the MU health enterprise and for the entire Mizzou campus.”

Prior to coming to MU, Delafontaine served as chief of cardiology at Tulane University in New Orleans. His research on cardiovascular health has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for approximately 20 years. In 2012, Delafontaine, along with researchers at Louisiana State University and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, received a five-year, $20 million grant from the NIH for the study of biomedical research, including cardiovascular disease. In addition to his research, Delafontaine has served as associate director of Clinical Services, Cardiology Division, at Emory University Hospital, and Chef de Clinique at the University Cantonal Hospital in Geneva, Switzerland.

“The discoveries from MU research are a significant force for the economic engine of the state,” said Mark McIntosh, interim vice chancellor for research, graduate studies and economic development. “Dr. Delafontaine knows the importance of transferring research into businesses that contribute to the state’s economy through groundbreaking medical discoveries. I’m looking forward to working with him as we build on MU’s more than $200 million research enterprise, which has a significant impact on creating jobs and improving lives in our state.”

At MU, Delafontaine, who was raised in South Africa during apartheid, approved several initiatives aimed at underrepresented students, including:

  • A post-baccalaureate program for underrepresented students in the biomedical sciences;
  • A clinic to address health disparities;
  • A lecture series for clinicians and scientists who could serve as mentors to students;
  • An external advisory board of nationally renowned minority professionals in health care.

“I am delighted to be returning as dean of the School of Medicine,” Delafontaine said. “Our academic health care system and medical school have many strengths. I look forward to advancing our missions of patient care, education and research and to improve our diversity and inclusivity, working with our partners in the community and throughout the state.”

“Patrice Delafontaine’s unique background – growing up in a community of severe racial discord – has helped him understand some of the struggles that individuals of color experience on a regular basis,” said Chuck Henson, interim vice chancellor for inclusion, diversity and equity. “His work in the medical school will add to what we are doing on campus as we move forward toward better relationships among students, faculty, staff and the broader Columbia community.”