Friday, February 5, 2016

Harnessing our collective wisdom

Published in VC's Notes on February 05, 2016

Harnessing Our Collective Wisdom

Good morning!

Today I want to talk to you about the new committee structure I've put in place to promote discussion and support decision-making at the Medical Center.

Academic medical centers traditionally have lots of committees.  When we took a closer look at our committees, we found that some serve crucial roles and others had probably outlived their usefulness.

So we spent a good part of last summer developing a complete inventory of formally sanctioned UMMC committees, renewing the charge for many and disbanding a few.  You can see the complete list of committees on the UMMC Intranet under the Administration tab or click here.

Despite having all these groups available to advise on crucial topics like ethics and compliance, what we did not have was a coherent set of administrative committees to oversee the high-level work of our three mission areas of education, research and patient care.  Or rather, we had some of these pieces in place but not others, and they did not interconnect and flow up to the Vice Chancellor level in an organized way.

Beginning with this calendar year, we now have this new committee structure in place.  The chart that depicts this structure can also be found on the Intranet or you can follow along as I describe it below by clicking here.

The three mission-related committees are the Research Council, the Council of Deans and the Health System Executive Committee.  These groups meet monthly and are “where the action is” in terms of organizing the work for each of the mission areas.  A fourth committee, the Administrative Advisory Council, serves as more of a communication channel to keep our senior administrators informed and handles issues that fall outside the three major mission areas.

Because the health system is so large and dispersed, there are sub-groups which roll up into the Health System Executive Committee.  These include the Council of Clinical Chairs and, reporting to that group, committees dealing with the adult hospitals, the adult clinics, the community hospitals, and Children's of Mississippi.

Woodward_meeting_2_3Where all this vast flow of information and policy development comes together is the UMMC Leadership Cabinet. Consisting of 27 academic, research, clinical and administrative leaders, this group met for the first time Wednesday.  Meeting quarterly, its purpose is to serve as a high-level sounding board for me on major strategic questions facing the Medical Center.

Finally, my Executive Cabinet of senior officers meets weekly to help me grapple with a host of day-to-day issues that are part and parcel of operating this huge enterprise we call UMMC.

So even after last summer's attempt to streamline our committees, we still have lots of committees and lots of meetings!  As many of you know, I spend the majority of each day in meetings with individuals and small groups.  And our monthly interactions with our governing board entail another set of very important meetings.

But I do feel confident that we have rationalized this set of administrative committees so that they are working in a unified way with the common objective of supporting our strategy.  If they perform as intended, they will also further other very important objectives that all large organizations struggle with, including engagement and communication.

I'm excited that this new leadership model is in place and moving forward.  We have a “brain trust” here that, pound for pound, has as much horsepower as any in the country.  This new structure promises to better harness that collective wisdom and propel us toward our destination of A Healthier Mississippi.



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