Distributed on Fridays via e-mail to all Medical School employees, students, residents, and postdoctoral fellows, UT 2 Me is Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo's weekly update of news and items of interest. He also welcomes feedback through this two-way communication.
Today I am writing you from across the world in Chieti, Italy. I am here as the guest speaker of the start of the new academic year ceremonies for the "G. d'Annunzio" University, my medical school alma mater. I am pleased to be back in my home country and sharing the stage with Italy’s equivalent of Larry King, Roberto Gervaso.
While I am here, I also will visit a satellite of Rome University near my hometown, which has a small medical school that was founded in 2005. I am looking forward to meeting with their 30 faculty members, who are planning to present their tough pediatric cases to me and want to learn more about our school’s curriculum. I also will meet with their students to discuss the top 10 discoveries in pediatrics over the last few years.
The Medical School is fortunate to have Memorial Hermann and the Harris County Hospital District as its partners. These relationships are based upon good work, good faith, appreciation, and understanding. This is an important time of the year for these partnerships as our affiliation agreements are renewed. The agreement with Memorial Hermann is about $30 million of our budget, which will be strategically allocated among services and departments. The Harris County Hospital District agreement also is worth a substantial amount. We are working hard to ensure that we are fairly compensated, and we expect some appreciation for our outstanding faculty. We anticipate a signal of growth as we continue to meet the increasing health needs of our community by providing quality clinical service.
Memorial Hermann has been a very supportive partner as we grow our graduate medical education program. This year they are providing $26 million toward this effort, as we add 20-25 new residents. I remind you that these residency positions are not driven by an increase in number of hospital beds; rather, they are driven by the accreditation agency, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), which looks carefully at needs, teaching opportunities, and other factors.
To foster our collaborative partnership with Memorial Hermann, we have a weekly “family meeting,” which is chaired by Dr. Jim Willerson and includes leadership from both institutions to discuss urgent matters and strategic plans. This week we discussed the growth of our cardiovascular clinical program, with Dr. Deborah Meyers coming on board to run a congestive heart failure program and the likely creation of a heart transplant program under the leadership of Dr. Hazim Safi.
Faculty compensation is an issue that is a pressing challenge – and there is no easy solution. I realize that academic institutions are a bit behind the times of the reality of the marketplace for highly competitive specialties. I am committed to developing a fair compensation structure and finding solutions so that our faculty members feel they have stability and trust, see a simple reward system, and feel valued. I encourage our young faculty to talk to the chairs, senior faculty, and assistant and associate deans to look for guidance in this area. And, I encourage all of you to send me your good ideas on this topic. As previously noted, we will reward productive people – regardless of their department’s financial status. In addition, the Medical School will place strong emphasis on our faculty career development.
In order for us to continue to have healthy rewards, let’s remember to keep our business in house. This includes seeing our UT Physicians for your health needs, referring to each other, and utilizing our UT Imaging Center. This state-of-the-art center conveniently located at 6700 West Loop South offers the latest in diagnostic imaging. We plan to increase our medicine and surgical faculty presence at this location and change the name of the facility to UT Physicians. Patients and physicians are extremely pleased with their overall experience at this facility, and I strongly encourage everyone to make use of this great site.
I am pleased to tell you our good news on the research front – we, as a health science center, rank very high in the country for growth in National Institutes of Health funding. Everyone associated with the research mission should be very proud of this outstanding achievement.
Have a great weekend,