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Michele Halyard, M.D.

February 13, 2024

By Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science staff

Michele Halyard, M.D., recently retired from Mayo Clinic as dean of Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine’s Arizona Campus and vice dean of Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine. Dr. Halyard was the first dean of the school’s Arizona campus. She played an important role in Mayo Clinic’s antiracism efforts, including recruitment and retention of underrepresented learners.

Throughout her career, Dr. Halyard was involved in high-level administrative roles, including starting the Center for Women’s Health on the Arizona campus, serving on the Mayo Clinic in Arizona Board of Governors and on Mayo’s Board of Trustees, and chairing the Department of Radiation Oncology.

When leaders on the Arizona campus decided that having a medical school campus was the top strategic priority, colleagues suggested Dr. Halyard apply for the dean position. She served in that inaugural role for a decade. While it may be one of the most high-profile roles in which Dr. Halyard has served, it’s only part of her legacy.

She played an important role in Mayo Clinic’s antiracism efforts, including recruitment of underrepresented residents and fellows and retention of trainees to become staff members. Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Student Life and Wellness Committee named a lecture series after Dr. Halyard. The monthly lectureship features Mayo speakers from underrepresented backgrounds talking about their careers. 

Dr. Halyard helped to recruit her successor in the clinical area, Sarah James, M.D., Ph.D. Dr. James was only the second Black resident in radiation oncology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester — Dr. Halyard was the first — and is now in the department on the Arizona campus.

Looking ahead to the next chapter

Dr. Halyard’s work in equity, inclusion, and diversity isn’t complete just because she retired from her medical career. She co-founded a nonprofit, the Coalition of Blacks Against Breast Cancer, which focuses on health disparities in the Black community and has expanded to include prostate cancer. She also plans to develop a coaching consultancy for women and people of color in middle and upper leadership, including at Mayo Clinic.

"I’m immensely grateful for the career Mayo Clinic afforded me," she says. "There has never been a day when I felt like I wanted to be somewhere else. I’ll miss the daily interactions with my patients and colleagues."

This story originally appeared in Mayo Clinic Alumni Magazine, a quarterly magazine for the Mayo Clinic Alumni Association.