Meet Dr. Mel Kantor

With more than 35 years of expertise in health care, public health, epidemiology, dentistry and academic scholarship, the newly appointed Oliver Marion Ramsey Endowed Chair is poised to develop and strengthen the pre-professional and professional health science programs at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Dr. Mel L. Kantor joined UW-Eau Claire in August as the faculty chair of the Institute for Health Sciences following a national search. He will provide leadership and vision for the institute, a new initiative to advance the health sciences at the university.

"The Institute for Health Sciences is unique in that its consortium structure brings together professional health science students and pre-professional students across all four colleges," Kantor said. "Interprofessional education is an emerging trend among health profession programs because it has been shown to improve the quality of health care. My goal as chair is to promote multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary collaborations in the areas of curriculum, research, scholarship and service, as well as develop and strengthen linkages with regional health care providers."

The institute includes affiliated departments with baccalaureate degree programs in behavior analysis, communication sciences and disorders, environmental public health, health care administration, human performance, nursing and school psychology, along with nine pre-professional health sciences programs supported by the William J. and Marian A. Klish Health Careers Center, which offers coordinated advising and academic programming for students seeking admission to professional graduate programs.

Kantor's wide-ranging academic and research background, along with his leadership and administrative experience and skills, are a great match for the role of the Ramsey Endowed Chair, said Dr. Linda Young, member of the chair search committee and dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

"Understanding the health care world from both the practice and academic sides positions Dr. Kantor well for this endowed chair appointment," Young said. "He brings insight, creativity and a passion for health sciences to our campus. The Institute for Health Sciences is the overarching framework of which the Health Careers Center is a part, and Dr. Kantor's leadership will impact the center by the relationships built, grants obtained and the resultant student successes."

Kantor brings a high caliber of expertise and commitment to the campus and to the students and will provide significant leadership to the Institute for Health Sciences, said Patricia A. Kleine, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at UW-Eau Claire.

"Dr. Kantor is incredibly connected nationwide, allowing him to marshal resources and connect students interested in the health sciences with professionals and programs in their fields," Kleine said. "Throughout his extensive background in the health sciences, Dr. Kantor has always had a true understanding and respect for liberal arts education and has taken the approach of deliberately linking liberal arts to the health sciences. He also has a remarkable personal touch, and his demeanor, experience and values fit well with the spirit of the Ramsey family."

After 30 years of working in academic health centers, Kantor said he is looking forward to becoming familiar with the UW-Eau Claire campus and learning more about the culture and traditions of a liberal arts institution.

"I am also looking forward to meeting people and building relationships with the many constituents of the Institute for Health Sciences, including program directors, faculty, students and practitioners in the surrounding community," Kantor said. "The institute will serve as a champion for all of the pre-professional and professional health science programs at UW-Eau Claire, raising the awareness of the health sciences across the campus and among the regional health care providers and institutions."

The Institute for Health Sciences is the organizational structure that supports the Ramsey Endowed Chair, which was made possible by the fulfillment of an estate gift to the UW-Eau Claire Foundation from James and Anne Ramsey in memory of James Ramsey's brother, U.S. Navy Lt. Oliver Marion Ramsey, a Fairchild native and 1933 UW-Eau Claire graduate who later graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, served as a lieutenant in the Navy during World War II and died in battle in 1942.

"The Ramsey family's generosity and commitment to honoring their fallen relative — Oliver Marion Ramsey — and investment in this innovative program truly demonstrates they are part of the Greatest Generation," said Kimera Way, president of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation and executive director of university advancement. "This investment to establish the first fully endowed faculty chair of the Institute for Health Sciences and in support of such an innovative program on campus will impact so many current and future students. Although Marion Ramsey's life was cut short by World War II, his legacy and his family's legacy will live on forever through this endowed chair and the exceptional talents Dr. Kantor brings."