James Boulger begins the interview discussing his educational background. He briefly discusses his first academic job at the new Medical College of Ohio at Toledo in the late 1960s and his decision to move to the University of Minnesota-Duluth (UM-D) Medical School in the early 1970s. Boulger describes the work done to get the school ready for the first class of students; the experiences of the charter class; and the experiences of the faculty—including the challenges they encountered—running the medical school in its first few years. He discusses the different expectations and priorities of the UM-Twin Cities Medical School and its faculty compared to the expectations and priorities of the UM-D Medical School and the state’s rural clinicians and legislators. Boulger discusses the move on the UM-D campus to unionize the faculty; the establishment of the first curriculum and the Department of Family Medicine at UM-D Medical School; various UM-D Medical School deans; the decision by the UM-D Medical School to use community physicians as clinical faculty; and the responsibility of a land-grant university to the people of Minnesota. Next, Boulger discusses Robert Carter’s departure as first dean of UM-D Medical School, the appointment of Arthur Aufderheide as interim dean, John LaBree as dean, and Boulger’s term as interim dean. Boulger describes the strategies that were used to recruit students committed to family medicine and rural practice and the strategies used to recruit Native American students to UM-D Medical School; and reflects on the changes in family medicine in rural and urban practice settings over the past forty years, particularly in terms of what procedures family medicine physicians are performing. Boulger goes on to discuss the relationship between UM-D Medical School and the Duluth area hospitals—Miller-Dwan Hospital, Saint Mary’s Hospital, and Saint Luke’s Hospital—and the establishment of the graduate medical education at these hospitals; the relationship of the medical school to the rest of the UM-D campus; and how the UM-D Medical School faculty balance their teaching, research, and service responsibilities and expectations and whether the balance of those expectations changed once the Duluth and Twin Cities campuses merged. Next Boulger discusses his second two tenures as interim dean. During his second stint, Boulger describes dealing with difficult retrenchments, while during his third stint, he describes trying to marshal support to convert UM-D to a four-year medical school. Boulger next discusses the establishment of the Center for Rural Mental Health Studies, telemental health, and telemedicine; and the Rural Medical Scholars Program.
James Boulger received his BA in Psychology from the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN in 1963 and his PhD in Psychology from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 1968. In 1969, Boulger joined the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at the Medical College of Ohio at Toledo, first as an instructor and then as an assistant professor. From 1972 to 1974, he served as assistant dean of student affairs at the Medical College of Ohio at Toledo. In 1974, Boulger moved to the University of Minnesota-Duluth (UM-D) Medical School. From 1974 to 1978 he was associate professor of Behavioral Sciences and Psychology, from 1978 associate professor of Behavioral Sciences and Clinical Sciences, and since 2005 professor of Behavioral Sciences and Family Medicine. In 1974, Boulger was appointed associate dean of curricular affairs of UM-D Medical School, a position he held until 1976, when he was appointed associate dean of curricular and student affairs. From 1977 to 1979, he was associate dean of admission and student affairs; from 1979 to 1983, associate dean for administration, admissions and student affairs; from 1983 to 1988, associate dean for administration and student affairs; and from 1988 to 1990, associate dean for student affairs and alumni relations. Boulger has served as acting or interim dean of the UM-D Medical School on three occasions: acting dean from July through September 1975; acting dean from July 1980 through January 1, 1982; and interim dean from October 1, 1987 through September 30, 1988. From 1988 to 1990, Boulger was interim director of the Native Americans into Medicine program at UM-D Medical School. Since 1975, Boulger has served as director of UM-D Medical School’s Family Medicine Preceptorship, and since 1993 he has directed both the Basic Science Faculty Family Practice Preceptorship and the Medical Student Research Assistantship Program in Family Medicine. Since 1990, he has served as director of alumni relations at the Medical School. In 2000, Boulger was appointed director of UM-D Medical School’s Center for Rural Mental Health Studies, a position he continues to hold. And from 2007 to 2012, Boulger served as head of UM-D Medical School’s Department of Behavioral Sciences.
Boulger, James; Tobbell, Dominique.
Interview with James Boulger.
University of Minnesota.
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