We have been responding to the challenges that are shaping our future: substantive reductions in state funding, the initiation of leadership transitions, the health care debate, the beginnings of new approaches to prevention, population health and care delivery, and coming to grips with the new financial realities we face both inside the University and within the economy in general. The realist in me says the "invisible hand" is not going to fix this and that there are no "secret resources" in the Dean's Office, AHC or the University. The forces shaping our future, and that of the health system, are moving. It is up to us to position ourselves to successfully respond, and it is our responsibility to provide the leadership that will do it.
This Medical School has remarkable strengths. It has a very strong, productive and engaged faculty; its research productivity is recognized world-wide and its NIH ranking is improved; it is a destination for quality education and has an applicant pool of increasing quality with more than 4,500 applicants last year; and its reputation for clinical excellence and new discoveries is widely known. The primary challenge for today is to recognize that we - collectively and together - shape our future, and that we must be about that business as the next 18 months of leadership transition occurs.
You have all participated in what I have called Medical School Strategic Directions development that has resulted in a draft workplan for the Medical School. I want to clearly state what this effort is all about - this is an exercise in focusing our attention and work on the five core enterprises of the Medical School during this period of intense change. This is not an effort to create transformation or a whole new direction for the Medical School - merely the work of articulating what we have known and agreed-upon as areas of focus for the issues that matter most to our future. In short, the Medical School needs to move through the leadership transition and land in a position ready to respond and move ahead.
I have also had a series of small group meetings with the department heads. I have heard concerns that have resulted in something I call "Take Home Learnings" for the administration to work on. Summarized below are these key themes that will be more fully developed in the next several weeks:
- The primary goal during the leadership transition period is to ensure the Medical School is positioned for continued strength and growth. Any plan to aggressively drive the Medical School into the top 20 will await that new leadership.
- The department chairs and faculty have the opportunity to shape the future, and leadership is critical at this juncture in the school's history.
- The state has made a historic investment in the biomedical research enterprise of the University. It's critical we follow through and complete that investment through the Biomedical Discovery District. The success of that future is based on ensuring a continued investment in our faculty and all the facilities that support their work.
- We need to redefine our relationship with Fairview and our other clinical partners in the state. With Fairview, we need to dissolve the bucket, develop a new financial agreement, and update the status of the ambulatory care clinic and the status of an academic health system.
- We will work to develop a new financial model less dependent on state dollars.
- We need to develop a new compensation strategy and plan for the Medical School.
- We will work to solve the GME challenges: cost, planning, workforce.
- We will continue to prepare for the upcoming LCME accreditation by implementing a curriculum management system and a new curriculum.
As these are the issues you have highlighted, I would be most appreciative if you would discuss them at your departmental meetings and provide feedback and approaches to solutions to me. You can do that in two ways. Either leave a comment below or e-mail me at email@example.com.
I also know there is no substitute for eyeball time for communication, and there will also be a lot of opportunities for that over the next several weeks.