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University of St. Thomas announces founding dean for new College of Health

ST. PAUL, Minn., Sept. 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The University of St. Thomas today announced Dr. MayKao Y. Hang's appointment as vice president and founding dean of its College of Health – officially launching the college that reimagines how future professionals can solve systemic health care problems. Hang, who has served as president and CEO of the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation since 2010, will begin her role part-time Oct. 7 before transitioning to St. Thomas full time Nov. 4.

Informed by Catholic social teaching, the college is comprised of the university's existing School of Social Work and Graduate School of Professional Psychology. It will also create a nursing school to be housed within the college.

Hang joins a college with a vision to educate health care providers and leaders to skillfully, compassionately and collaboratively advance the physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being of individuals, families and communities. Her leadership will help show students how to address whole-person wellness and improve underserved communities' health.

"In researching this college's potential to address existing health care disparities, we see an acute demand for non-MD health care practitioners who have technical skills and cultural competencies," said St. Thomas President Dr. Julie Sullivan. "Dr. Hang is the perfect fit to lead this college because she is a champion of addressing disparities, passionate about the well-being of underserved communities, and a values-based leader."

At the Wilder Foundation, Hang designed programs to address education, workforce, health and poverty disparities. She developed programs to integrate behavioral health services, expand school-based mental health services to African American and Southeast Asian children, and grow the number of licensed clinicians of color. Hang also helped reform services for people with disabilities and chemical dependency, as well as vulnerable adults and the elderly with the St. Paul Public Housing Agency and Ramsey County Human Services.

"St. Thomas strives to educate the whole person – body, mind and spirit," said Dr. Richard Plumb, executive vice president and provost. "We want to carry that holistic, whole-person approach to the next generation of health care leaders, continuing the 150-year tradition of Catholic health care. Dr. Hang is a passionate pioneer in building collaborative efforts to address these types of needs, and we're excited for her leadership to execute the college's vision."

The College of Health will prepare future professionals to educate both urban and rural communities, spearhead initiatives and conduct research. Hang will work with faculty and academic partners to develop curricula, hire faculty and cultivate partners.

"St. Thomas has an opportunity to be holistic and interdisciplinary to educate our future workforce. We need practitioners who have the technical skills and cultural competence to meet the needs of our changing demographics," Hang said. "I'm grateful for the opportunity to help prepare the next generation of people who will lead us into the future."

Hang earned her BA in psychology from Brown University, MA in public affairs from the University of Minnesota, and doctorate in public administration from Hamline University.

Vineeta Sawkar

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SOURCE University of St. Thomas