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MU School of Medicine dean stepping down effective March 31

Delafontaine taking new position; Zweig named interim

March 15th, 2019

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

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri Provost Latha Ramchand announced today that Patrice “Patrick” Delafontaine has resigned his position as dean of the MU School of Medicine to take a position at another institution. The resignation is effective March 31, 2019. Ramchand said Steven Zweig, professor and chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine, would serve as interim dean.

“We appreciate all the work that Dean Delafontaine has done over the past several years to strengthen the School of Medicine,” Ramchand said. “It is a key factor to the success of the state of Missouri as MU educates the vast majority of Missouri medical professionals. Additionally, the research enterprise at the School of Medicine has grown during his leadership. We’re looking forward to utilizing that foundation and expanding the research and academic success greatly.”

During Delafontaine’s tenure, the medical school advanced its educational, research and patient care missions. The school expanded its incoming class size from 96 to 128 students to train more physicians and address the shortage of doctors in the state and nation. To accommodate the increase in students, the medical school opened a clinical campus in Springfield in 2016. The Patient-Centered Care Learning Center, a $42.5 million medical education center, opened in Columbia in July 2017 to create further room for the growing student population.

“I’ve been honored to serve as the dean of this outstanding institution,” Delafontaine said. “I’m proud of our accomplishments and that we have built a strong foundation for the future. I’ll be working with the provost and the interim leadership to ensure a smooth transition.”

Prior to coming to MU, Delafontaine served as chief of cardiology at Tulane University in New Orleans and was funded by the National Institutes of Health for approximately 20 years.

Zweig, who will serve as interim dean, received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and joined the MU School of Medicine in 1984 after graduating from medical school and completing his residency and academic fellowship training at MU. He also earned a master’s of science in public health from MU.

He is past director of the MU Interdisciplinary Center on Aging, current president of the national Association of Departments of Family Medicine, and has been the lead researcher on several grants, receiving more than $7 million in external funding from several sources, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the American Association of Medical Colleges and Pew Charitable Trusts. In addition to his responsibilities as department chair, Zweig is a family physician with certifications in geriatric medicine and hospice and palliative medicine.

“Building on the success of those who have come before me, I will do my best to advance the mission of the School of Medicine: to improve the health of all people, especially Missourians, through exemplary education, research, and patient-centered care,” Zweig said. “We will do so with the work of the outstanding faculty, staff and students of the medical school; our vital partnership with University of Missouri Health Care; and the collaboration of our colleagues on the MU campus and beyond.”

“The MU School of Medicine is an institution that should elicit pride from all Missourians,” MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright said. “I’m particularly grateful to Dr. Zweig for being willing to take the helm of the School of Medicine during this transition. We’re fortunate to have an experienced leadership team among our associate deans and chairs already in place that, under Dr. Zweig’s leadership, I expect will carry us forward.”

Earlier today, Cartwright and UM System President Mun Choi announced that a search for an Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs had begun. The position will oversee MU Health Care and the School of Medicine and will report to both Cartwright and Choi.