VC Notes Archive Office of the Vice Chancellor
Friday, July 1, 2016

Another Year, Another Fourth of July

In Mississippi, we have summer and then we have the really hot part of summer, which in my mind usually kicks off right around the Fourth of July holiday.  Judging by the last few weeks, with temperatures pushing triple digits on several days, that tradition seems to be out the door.

american flag 2It's really hot, folks.

So, as you plan your holiday weekend activities, I will just add a few reminders to the chorus of those coming from mothers and emergency medicine physicians everywhere:

Stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, be careful in and around the water, avoid mosquitoes, and if you possibly can, leave the fireworks to the professionals and keep them out of the hands of children.

July also marks a major transition - to a new academic year and a new fiscal year.  So I'll take a moment to reflect on a few highlights from the year that ended yesterday, and to relate some of my priorities for the one that lies ahead. 

For the year just ending: 

  • We are past the halfway point on two of the three major campus construction projects, and Garage C will open in just a couple more months.  The new School of Medicine and the Translational Research Center will both be completed during the year ahead.


  • I'm so pleased and inspired by the commitment of Joe and Kathy Sanderson to lead our capital campaign for Children's of Mississippi.  We are off to a good start, and we could not be in more capable hands.



  • The new School of Population Health, approved this past year, will be a powerful new tool in our shift from prospective, after-the-fact health care to preventive care and more targeted intervention in the determinants of health status.
  • We deployed a new fleet of shuttle buses that provides a more comfortable ride around campus.
  • Under the steady guidance of Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael Henderson and his team, we developed a sustained focus on quality and are finally beginning to make progress toward our goal of becoming a high-reliability organization.


For the coming year:

  • We will continue our laser-like focus on clinical quality.  We've had a good beginning, but our engagement with agreed-upon quality measures needs to become as automatic and natural as breathing.  We have a lot more work to do. 


  • We will pull the trigger on several projects that address some of our most critical space needs in both the inpatient and outpatient settings.



  • Our relationship with the Mayo Clinic, which gained traction last year, should continue to deepen as we build our joint capabilities around the concept of “precision medicine.”



  • I hope to gain additional clarity around the development of a true statewide system of care for Mississippi, working with a variety of partners who share our goal of improving health status.
  • Just as our other large construction projects wrap up, I expect to be finalizing plans for a major expansion of our children's services.



  • We will follow Chancellor Vitter's lead to expand existing collaborations with the Oxford campus and bring UM and Medical Center faculty together to find solutions to some of society's toughest challenges.



  • I'll be redoubling my efforts to tell our story - to legislators, policymakers, philanthropists and friends of every sort -- that UMMC is one of the best things going in Mississippi.  There is no stronger force for good for the people of our state, and no institution more worthy of support.


Finally, I can't help but say that completing my first full year as vice chancellor gives me a sense of both satisfaction and relief.  So many people here at UMMC and beyond have been so encouraging and supportive of me that I really can't thank all of you enough.  

I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Fourth of July and then let's come back and keep moving toward A Healthier Mississippi.

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