Dr. Alfred Michael, a pediatric and kidney specialist, came to the University of Minnesota as a fellow in 1960 to work with immunologist Dr. Robert A. Good. In 1973, he became chief of the Immunopathology Laboratory. He became a Regents’ Professor and head of the Department of Pediatrics in 1986. Then, in 1997, Dr. Michael succeeded Dr. Frank Cerra as dean of the Medical School. He resigned as dean in 2002.
Dr. Alfred Michael begins his interview with a reflection on his childhood and education in Philadelphia and his interests in medicine and pediatrics. He describes his decision to move to the University of Minnesota in order to work with Dr. Robert A. Good. He then discusses all of the following in relation to his research: working with Robert Vernier; changes in technology and methodology related to testing the kidney; his graduate work in biochemistry; specialization in medical research; work on transplantation and dialysis with John Najarian and Carl Kjellstrand; kidney research at the University; the expansion of and coverage for dialysis; and his time in Copenhagen. Dr. Michael then describes Dr. John Anderson’s tenure as department chair and his own tenure as dean, during which he made efforts to create a major children’s hospital facility in combination with the University. He also reflects on the larger context of changes in healthcare structures in the period, particularly the emergence of HMOs and Minnesota’s role in the development of HMOs, and town/gown relations in the Twin Cities. Dr. Michael then discusses Robert Howard and David Brown’s tenures as dean of the Medical School and issues with private practice and finances at the University. Turning to administrative matters, Dr. Michael describes his work with Win Wallin; William Brody’s tenure as provost of the AHC; and the growth of the administrative power of the AHC. He then elaborates on the creation of University of Minnesota Clinical Associates and University of Minnesota Physicians; the sale of University Hospital to Fairview; divisions of responsibility and administration within the AHC; relations between different schools in the AHC; and the investigation of John Najarian in connection with Antilymphocyte Globulin (ALG). He concludes with reflections on the balance of research, teaching, and clinical work; his moves into administrative positions; his work on various boards; his work with the Legislature; and the Medical School’s standing.
Alfred Michael was born and raised in Philadelphia. He earned his undergraduate and medical degrees at Temple University in Philadelphia. Dr. Michael completed a portion of his residency at Philadelphia’s Saint Christopher’s Hospital for Children before he was inducted into the Air Force under the Selective Service Act of 1948. After he completed his military service, Dr. Michael returned to his residency in 1957, this time at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, ultimately specializing in pediatrics. Dr. Michael then served as chief resident and instructor in pediatrics at Cincinnati until 1960, when he came to the University of Minnesota as a fellow to work with immunologist Dr. Robert A. Good. From 1966 to 1967, Dr. Michael spent eighteen months in Copenhagen doing kidney research on a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. In 1973, he became chief of the Immunopathology Laboratory. He became a Regents’ Professor and head of the Department of Pediatrics in 1986. Then, in 1997, Dr. Michael succeeded Dr. Frank Cerra as dean of the Medical School. Dr. Michael resigned as dean in 2002.