March 15, 2012

Checking in...

Over the last two years, many of you have devoted countless hours to our strategic planning process and to the university-wide Changing for Excellence project. The goal of these efforts is to focus our resources on the priorities that will allow us to meet the challenges facing our medical center as we shape the future of health care.

Now we are moving beyond planning and into the implementation process.

Under the leadership of Heidi Chumley, MD, Paul Terranova, PhD, Doug Girod, MD, and David Cook, PhD, faculty and staff in our four main mission areas are implementing new ways of advancing educational excellence, strengthening the quality and impact of our research, expanding our clinical enterprise, and, as I wrote about in the last Checking In, elevating our outreach efforts. Progress reports are posted on our strategic planning website.

To reach our goals, we need the highest performing workforce possible. Last week, department heads, managers and supervisors received a letter from Steffani Webb, Vice Chancellor for Administration, and Chris Lyon, Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, asking them to consider, on an individual basis, each employee's conduct, performance and overall contributions to our institution.

We also asked department heads to make budget cuts in some areas to ensure that we have the resources to devote to our priorities. For example, we know that retaining and inspiring a top-notch workforce requires investment. We are painfully aware that due to severe pressures on the state budget, our employees have gone without raises for four years. One reason we are asking leaders to make targeted cuts is so that we can begin to free up resources to correct that.

Meanwhile, we are already seeing significant changes. Human Resources is now providing a high level of personalized service to departments, faculty and staff, focusing on recruiting, hiring, training and retaining great employees.  KUMC's Vice Chancellor for Administration web page has information about similar efforts being undertaken in all of the central support services departments to be leaner, more efficient, and more effective.

But this is not an exercise just for central administration. We are asking all medical center programs to take a fresh look at ways to change for excellence. Change of this magnitude is not easy, but I hope you share my excitement about reaching our potential.

pink barrel

Toni Clark and Kristy Humphrey, both with Alumni and Community Relations, empty paper into one of the new large pink recycling barrels now placed at 18 locations around campus. The new recycling program, sponsored by Facilities Management and Student Services, will allow faculty, staff and students to recycle paper while promoting breast cancer awareness. A portion of the proceeds from this recycling effort will be donated to organizations supporting breast cancer research, with the remaining proceeds funding additional campus recycling efforts. Please recycle only non-confidential white paper in these barrels (no magazines, newspapers, books or carbon paper). These materials can still be recycled in the green and yellow recycling dumpsters located around campus.

In the news

KU remains a leader in the region and measures well against its national peers in preliminary 2013 U.S. News & World Report rankings of graduate programs. The School of Medicine tied for 12th overall when it comes to our rural medicine program. The school's primary care ranking rose to 25th among public schools and 35th overall, while the family medicine program ranked 16th overall. Details here.

The School of Health Professions also had several programs in the top 25 in the U.S. News and World Report rankings. More here.

The Kansas City Star this week ran an in-depth feature story on three initiatives of the Johnson County Research Triangle (JCERT). The article included a lengthy section on KU's new Clinical Research Center in Fairway. You can read the entire story here.

A Georgia psychiatrist who earned his MD from KU has donated $100,000 to the university's endowment. The donation from Hugo Zee, MD, and his wife, Nora Dougherty Zee, of Atlanta, will create an endowed scholarship for medical students, with a preference for African-American students. Read more here.

Around campus

On April 10th-13th, TEDMED will gather 1,300 thinkers and doers from 300 medical and nonmedical disciplines, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. For three days, this diverse community will explore the issues, challenges and innovations that will help shape the future of health and medicine. KU Medical Center will live-stream the conference into Battenfeld Auditorium, where you can be an active participant in the event. We will provide more details soon. You can learn more about TEDMED here.

The KU School of Nursing and Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kan, are collaborating on plan for associate degree RNs to earn advanced degrees. Registered nurses with an associate degree in nursing from Butler can now transition into an RN to BSN program at KU that focuses on advanced nursing concepts and eliminates requiring students to repeat courses that they have already taken. Read more here.

A reminder that KU Medical Center is sponsoring a book drive for Reach Out and Read during the month of March.  We are doing a virtual book drive as well as having collection bins in the medical center and KU Hospital for people to drop off books. More information about the Reach Out and Read book drive is available here.

Jeffrey Curtis, MD, an interventional cardiologist in Hays, Kan., will discuss life as a rural physician on Friday, March 30, from noon-1 p.m., in the Stoland Lounge/Rieke Auditorium. Lunch will be provided with an RSVP. Details here.



School of Medicine-Wichita associate professor Mark Stovak, MD, has been re-elected to the board of directors of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine. Dr. Stovak is also chair of the Fellowship Committee.