Welcome message from the new Executive Vice Chancellor

February 01, 2013

Doug Girod
Douglas Girod, M.D. Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs

As one of my first acts as the new Executive Vice Chancellor for the University of Kansas Medical Center - a job I officially begin today, Feb. 1, 2013 - I want to send a message to all of our campuses to tell you how honored and grateful I am to get this chance to work with you all, and how excited I am about our future.

Although I have been on the faculty at our fine institution since 1994, I have much to learn. I plan to spend the next three months meeting with stakeholders across the state of Kansas - but also, most importantly, with all areas of our three campuses. I want to hear from faculty and staff in the School of Nursing and School of Health Professions at least as often - if not more than - I hear from faculty in the School of Medicine. I have scheduled trips to Wichita and Salina for early March. I plan to make the rounds with Steffani Webb, so I can get a true sense of the effort it takes to keep the lights on, the payroll checks flowing, the buildings maintained, the phones and computers running and our campus safe. I need to meet often with our basic science and research faculty as well as with our clinical faculty.

I want to hear concerns and suggestions from everybody, because, quite simply, we are all in this together. One of the most important things we can do at the moment is to get to know each other better, so that's what I plan to do. One early opportunity is a town hall meeting scheduled for noon on Feb. 14. It will be broadcast in Wichita and Salina, at our Clinical Research Center in Fairway and the Landon Center, and we'll record it so that if you can't make it you can watch it later. I plan to hold similar town halls once a quarter.

When I go out into the communities of Kansas - and Missouri - in the months ahead, I'll be using three main points to tell the KU Medical Center story. We know that our to-do list is long, but the three areas I'm focusing on will allow me to emphasize our great strengths while thanking communities throughout the region for their continued support in our crucial efforts to provide leadership to shape the future of health and health care.

Specifically, our three top promises to Kansans are as follows:

1. We will expand the 21st century health care workforce for Kansas.

The KU School of Nursing's new agreement with 18 community colleges has made it easier for nurses with associate's degrees to advance their careers, earning increasingly necessary bachelor's degrees without leaving their hometowns. The School of Medicine has increased its class size from 175 to 211 students in an effort to address the state's looming physician shortage. Through our excellent Continuing Education programs, we help health care providers improve their practices and deliver high-quality, safe, effective patient care throughout their careers. These are just a few examples of how we are expanding the 21st century health care workforce for Kansas. With hopes of building a new, state-of-the-art, interprofessional health education building on the Kansas City campus, we plan to accommodate even more future health care professionals.

2. We will become a top 25 school of medicine in U.S. News rankings.

Governor Brownback has challenged us to earn a top 25 School of Medicine ranking from U.S. News and World Report. We are certainly up for that challenge. Meanwhile, I intend to brag constantly about our School of Health Professions, which currently has five programs in the U.S. News top 25 for public universities. The School of Nursing and the School of Medicine both have two programs in the U.S. News top 25. Moreover, our clinical faculty members have been instrumental in The University of Kansas Hospital earning U.S. News Best Hospitals rankings for 10 specialties. 

3. We will be recognized as a national leader in biomedical research.

I could go on and on about our excellence in biomedical research, as evidenced by our NCI designation, our Frontiers Clinical and Translational Science Award, our Alzheimer's Disease Center designation, and the fact that the NIH looks to our Institute for Advancing Medical Innovation for advice on how to forge unique partnerships between academia, industry, government and philanthropy - just to name a few examples. Our national peers need to know that here at the University of Kansas Medical Center, we are expanding the horizons of science.

There's a lot more I want to say, but the folks in Communications tell me that this newsletter is already too long. I'll be back in touch soon. Meanwhile, thank you so much for being part of this exciting time at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Last modified: Apr 24, 2014