I'd like to begin with sincere thanks to all who responded directly to my original e-mail and post. This seems to prove the adage that you are seeking to engage on issues of import, but so far only our colleague Dr. Gleason seems to enjoy the comment opportunity on-line.
We'll see how this progresses -
Today, I want to share with you a set of documents I discussed with the department chairs concerning University investments in the Medical School and its programs. This is all part of the work we're doing to better understand the context for the shared decision-making that takes place at the University of Minnesota.
I've found that many of us operate within our own disciplines - and in the Medical School, that can be sub-disciplines or specialties - and rarely are we exposed to the big picture of what's driving investment decisions.
At the University level, there were a series of decisions made in the late 1990s and early 2000s that focused attention and investments on the health sciences and the biomedical enterprise in particular. Beginning with President Yudof, whose five priorities included a focus on biomedicine, this University has planned for and invested state and University dollars in the programs that benefit the health sciences to the tune of $194 million in the last five years alone. When combined with the capital investment in research building construction of more than $535 million, this represents a strong vote of confidence in our work.
Let's start with research buildings - since 2002, we've added 906,000 gross square feet to the pursuit of new knowledge.
- We occupied the Molecular Cellular Biology Building, MCB, in 2002, providing proximity to many of the basic science departments and programs at the core of the Medical School.
- In 2005, the McGuire Translational Research Building opened, supporting the Stem Cell Institute as well as important infectious disease and immunology work.
- Two years later, we completed renovations to the former state health department building, 717 Delaware Street that now houses important clinical research activities.
- In 2009, we completed the Medical Biosciences Building that houses the Center for Immunology and the N. Bud Grossman Center for Memory Research and Care.
- Also in 2009, we accepted delivery of the 16.4 Tesla magnet that is already producing significant research impact at the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR).
- This year, we've begun the 56,000 sq. ft. expansion of the CMRR, providing capacity for many of the Medical School programs, and finally,
- In 2012, we plan to move into the other cornerstone of the Biomedical Discovery District in a building to be discussed in more detail next month - the Cancer/Cardio/Research Commons.
Each of these represents a strategic investment in the core strengths of the health sciences and Medical School.
Among the documents posted are a chart of the Strategic Compact Investments in the AHC - these are state dollars that have been directed to health science programs and projects. And, as the largest school of the AHC, a majority of these projects and programs benefit the Medical School.
But wait - you might say - this doesn't represent money that has come directly to departments of the Medical School - we didn't get to decide how this money was spent.
To that I would respond that each of these investments grew from the education and research strengths of our faculty, as supported by department chairs, and agreed upon by the AHC Deans' Council over the past six to eight years. When we agreed, for example, that we would all benefit from the building and support of clinical skills labs for our students, we developed that program jointly and sought University support that now benefits all AHC schools - while eliminating duplication of effort and cost - an efficient, effective, and targeted use of increasingly scarce resources.
And to Bill, who has posted his conversation on-line, it's important to point out that the Center for Spirituality and Healing is an AHC Center, accountable to all of the AHC deans for its performance and outcomes, with more than 90 percent of its budget coming through its tuition, fees, philanthropy, and sponsored research, including the National Institutes of Health.
More to come.