Honorary Degree Recipient
Doctor of Laws
School of Public Health, May 16, 2020
Jan Malcolm is the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), our state’s principal public health agency. Over the course of her 40-year career of public service, she has had and continues to have, positive and significant impacts on the University of Minnesota, Minnesota, and the nation. She has served under three governors - Ventura, Dayton, and currently, Governor Tim Walz, representing two different political parties. She has earned a national reputation as a health care policy expert. Malcolm was one of the first health care leaders to highlight health disparities and the impact of social determinants of health; and to reduce the causes of Minnesota’s leading preventable diseases. She created the foundation for legislation aimed at reducing health disparities for populations of color. The Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative (MN Statutes section 48) passed and was signed by the governor in 2001. She is credited with helping to create the high-profile teen antismoking campaign “Target Market,” and reducing the high school and middle school smoking rate by 21 percent; overhauling the Department of Human Services system for responding to and investigating allegations of elder abuse in care facilities; championing policy changes to combat the opioid addiction crisis in Minnesota; and, championing whole person care for people with disabilities. Prior to becoming commissioner, Malcolm served as vice president at Allina Health and as CEO of Courage Center. At HealthParnters in the early 1990s, she was a chief architect of the state’s safely net insurance program MinnesotaCare. Malcolm is the author and/or co-author of several health publications including the Journal of Public Health Management. She is or has been a member on and or chair of numerous professional and community boards. Malcolm is also the recipient of several awards and honors including the 21st Century Pinnacle Leader Women’s Health Leadership TRUST in 2019.
Biographies are as-of time of award presentation.