As we approach the 60th anniversary of UMMC's establishment in Jackson later this year, it's interesting to reflect on our origins and the transformation that's occurred in the intervening years.
We started in 1903 as a two-year medical school on the University of Mississippi campus in Oxford. How much simpler life was then! We had no teaching hospital, little in the way of research, and our students left Mississippi after two years to complete medical school outside the state, some never to return. Our physical plant consisted of exactly one building.
Upon moving to Jackson, we added the final two years of medical school, a teaching hospital and residency programs. Over the years, schools of nursing, dentistry, health related professions, graduate studies and pharmacy joined our family. More hospitals came on line, as did community hospitals in Lexington and Grenada. We have 70 buildings now, with more going up all the time.
So, with all that in mind, I have a quiz for you.
Which statement is true: UMMC is a….
- Primary care provider
- Safety net hospital
- Educator of health professionals
- Center for scientific discovery
- Tertiary referral center
- Nonprofit health system
- University campus
- State agency
It's a trick question, because all are true.
All of these roles are part and parcel of most public, academic health science centers, which have been described as the most complex organizations in the world.
This complexity has advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, it's what makes academic health science centers such as ours so consequential in our world today. When you add up all the good we do in our state through our missions of education, research and health care, it's pretty amazing. Add to that our multi-billion dollar annual economic impact and few institutions in our society can match what we deliver.
On the other hand, managing this complexity can be a tall order.
Think about this….
- We are expected to operate nimbly in a volatile business environment, but we have to comply with state procurement regulations that are better suited for the purchase of highway culverts.