The Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees announced on Friday, Nov. 9, that it has elected Kent Thielen, M.D., vice president of Mayo Clinic and CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida.
Thielen is a 1982 graduate of Shakopee High School.
Thielen succeeds Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., who will become president and CEO of Mayo Clinic, on Jan. 1. In the meantime, Farrugia will continue to serve in his role as vice president of Mayo Clinic and CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida. Farrugia and Thielen will work closely through this transition. The board also welcomed Jay Alix and George Bilicic as new public members.
“Dr. Thielen is an exceptional and proven leader who brings a wealth of experience to the position and a steadfast commitment to Mayo Clinic’s mission, values and culture,” Samuel Di Piazza, chairman of the Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees, said in a press release. “He has a bold and strategic vision for the way Mayo Clinic will use innovation to further improve patient care and advance Mayo’s leadership in medical education and research.”
Thielen, a Minnesota native, first came to Mayo Clinic as a resident in radiology in 1990. He has been a member of the Mayo Clinic staff since 1996.
Thielen serves in several leadership roles. As chair of the Midwest Department of Radiology, which encompasses leadership of Mayo Clinic Health System and Rochester Radiology operations, Thielen leads a staff of 260 physicians and physicists, 52 residents, 24 fellows, and 1,500 allied health staff.
Since 2013, Dr. Thielen has led integration efforts between the Mayo Clinic Health System and Rochester practices to create the Midwest Department of Radiology. He significantly expanded scholarship and research support infrastructure within the Department of Radiology. From 2013 to 2017, the Rochester Department of Radiology steadily climbed from 19th to eighth in national rankings of National Institutes of Health awards to academic radiology departments.
Also, as chair of the Enterprise Radiology Specialty Council, Thielen leads the integration of radiology practices across Mayo Clinic. He also led the planning and implementation for the new health records system throughout all radiology departments at Mayo. Thielen previously served as chair of the division of neuroradiology in the Department of Radiology from 2004 to 2013.
“I’m humbled, honored and excited to continue to build upon Dr. Farrugia’s outstanding legacy, which includes his involvement and leadership in the Jacksonville community, and to accelerate Mayo’s efforts in discovery and world-class innovation,” Thielen said in the release. “I’m looking forward to working collaboratively with my colleagues to ensure the Florida campus continues to grow its stellar reputation as a leader in patient care, education and research.”
Thielen received his bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from South Dakota State University in 1986 and his doctor of medicine degree from the University of Minnesota in 1990.
Thielen then completed his residency training in diagnostic radiology at the Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education in Rochester, serving as chief resident from 1993 to 1994.
He subsequently completed a three-year combined fellowship in diagnostic and interventional neuroradiology at the Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education in Rochester.
As leader of Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus, Thielen will work with Christina Zorn, J.D., vice chair of administration and chief administrative officer of the Mayo Clinic in Florida, to provide leadership and direction, define and implement Mayo Clinic’s operational plan, and expand Mayo Clinic’s leadership and reach in the Southeast.
“Mayo Clinic in Florida has seen tremendous growth under Dr. Farrugia’s leadership and is well-positioned to serve as the destination medical center for the Southeast,” Thielen said in the release. “I look forward to working with Florida’s leadership and staff, as well as our external partners, to continue to develop our capabilities in Florida and provide new solutions and world-class care for patients, ongoing innovative research and a range of excellent educational offerings.”
Farrugia has been vice president of Mayo Clinic and CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida since January 2015. In this role, he led a staff of more than 6,400 staff members.
The thorough search process to elect Thielen included a survey sent to Mayo Clinic voting staff, interviews with Mayo Clinic trustees, and conversations with physician and administrative leaders at Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus. Valuable input was obtained regarding potential candidates, the challenges facing Mayo Clinic and the leadership attributes needed for this position.
“Dr. Thielen is firmly committed to Mayo’s mission, so I know that as CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida, he will continue to push for the highest standards and quality of care, research and education, and that he will support and advance collaboration between our physicians, researchers and partners to find new solutions for patients,” Farrugia said in the release.