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University at COM/UMA

LDI held, new Excellence director named

by Jerry Reves, M.D.
Dean, College of Medicine and Vice President, Medical Affairs
The College of Medicine and University Medical Associates (UMA) recently held its eighth Leadership Development Institute (LDI), titled “Brave New World: How to Thrive and Not Just Survive.”
Susan Harvey, M.D., served as the moderator, reminding us at the onset of how many struggles we have faced and overcame successfully as an organization by “circling the wagons.” This set the tone for a day of discovery, planning and creative problem-solving.
We reviewed a number of significant “wins,” most notably Hollings Cancer Center’s recent NCI designation—an outstanding achievement. We have also risen four points this year to reach our highest NIH ranking ever, 47th among freestanding medical schools. We are very hopeful that our Clinical and Translational Research Center application will also be funded in the near future. I commend all of those among you who have succeeded in securing federal research support despite significant NIH budgetary constraints.
We also introduced our new director of the MUSC Excellence Program, Andrea Swartz. She will begin focusing on areas of concern within the college and UMA during the coming months. Our pillar goal progress was reviewed, and employees were reminded to complete their annual satisfaction surveys. Resident and post-doctoral satisfaction surveys are forthcoming, and student satisfaction-related concerns have been elicited through a series of focus groups in an effort to improve these scores.
Inpatient satisfaction scores remain below goal, and providers were reminded to continue key behaviors such as AIDET, managing up, patient rounding, and functioning as effective team members. Though outpatient satisfaction remains above goal, we will continue to look for areas of improvement here as well, particularly regarding space utilization and clinical outreach efforts.
Robert Dickler served as the key note speaker, focusing on the challenges facing academic medical centers (AMCs) across the nation. He reviewed the critical roles and contributions of AMCs, looking beyond the traditional tripartite model of education, research, and clinical care to include serving as a safety net for the uninsured, providing unique community benefits, and fostering economic development. He discussed the national imperative to produce more physicians and eliminate gaps in graduate medical education.
Mr. Dickler also focused on the critical agenda of how to finance AMCs in an era of economic turmoil, discussing key financial and legislative trends and challenges. He reviewed the broad concept of health care reform and how definitional variations can influence and potentially impede effective planning efforts. The talk concluded with a look at how AMCs should be positioned to respond to health care reform efforts: by ensuring mission alignment and accountability, functioning effectively as a unified organization, identifying and focusing on clinical strengths, positioning ourselves economically, providing leadership for change, and educating future physicians to focus on quality.
We reviewed outcomes from our recent strategic planning meeting, “Mission Critical Success,” where the college’s key leaders focused on preserving our best people and programs to not only accomplish our critical missions but also come out of this financial crisis better and stronger. In light of the recent budget cuts, our projected fiscal balance would continue a rapid downward spiral to a $14M deficit by the end of this fiscal year without intervention. However, by implementing sweeping reforms, we can overcome the current $8M deficit and be out of the red by June, if we work together cohesively and move quickly to enact necessary changes.
Following the recommendations of our task forces, we will critically evaluate all of our departments in terms of their responsiveness to our tripartite mission and critical objectives and their financial solvency. We will restructure our basic sciences to capitalize on current strengths, better define critical areas of focus, foster a broader spirit of collaboration, and permit growth through economies of scale. We will implement broad educational reform in the basic science curriculum to permit greater integration of systems-based content and employ more effective methods of adult learning. Our clinical spectrum of services will move from an integrated to a multi-specialty model of operations, with an even greater focus placed upon academic productivity. A new COM Leadership Council will ensure consistent levels of accountability throughout the college. These changes must be in place by the end of this fiscal year if we wish to reverse our rapid economic decline.
We also held breakout sessions on critical topics, including tactics for enhancing faculty and staff performance, dealing with budgetary constraints, using financial data for clinical management, improving administrative and research operations through best practices, and implementing educational reform. These interactive sessions provided an open forum for discussion and produced an array of take-home lessons and practical tools for change.
For information about MUSC Excellence, visit
I  commend you all for your commitment to excellence.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.