VC Notes Archive Office of the Vice Chancellor
Friday, May 19, 2017

Commencement, Computers and More

Good morning!

Today I'll cover a few topics I've been thinking about lately.

commencement_17Our commencement is exactly one week from today. Our graduates have worked hard to get to this point in their lives. They've accomplished a great deal and I am so proud of them. It looks as if we will set another record for total number of graduates this year, and the vast majority of them will stay in Mississippi and begin health careers here. A few will leave the state for additional training or for other reasons, but my hope is most if not all of them will eventually come home. Mississippi needs you! Educating this latest class of health care professionals - nearly 1,000 strong - is perhaps the most important way UMMC is changing the future of our state. 


Last Friday we experienced a brief scare when the information systems of a large number of hospitals in the United Kingdom were attacked by hackers, effectively shutting down these facilities for a period of time. As the malware virus spread to other industries in other parts of the globe and computers were disabled, the hackers demanded a ransom to remove the virus. When news of the attack first appeared, our information security team along with DIS took appropriate actions to secure our network. We were fortunate the virus was contained prior to introduction to our network, since infection of only a single computer can compromise an entire network. Over the past year, we have taken a number of steps to enhance our cybersecurity, and we will continue to do more. You as an individual also have a role to play, by not responding to phishing attempts to obtain sensitive information, by not sharing your password with others, and by immediately reporting suspicious network activity to DIS. Attacks on computer networks will continue to increase so we will all need to be vigilant.


And speaking of computers, I want to remind everyone that inappropriately accessing confidential patient records is a violation of HIPAA that will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. Everyone should be aware that our electronic health record generates a log of all those who have accessed a patient's record. So we are able to determine who has accessed a record with a legitimate “need to know” a patient's confidential information and those who only wished to satisfy their personal curiosity. This behavior is not only illegal it is unethical. Please be aware of this and act accordingly.    


I hope you got a chance to read the story of last week's Nelson Order induction in the May 11 eCV. Inclusion in the Nelson Order is the highest honor UMMC bestows on our teachers. Twenty faculty received the honor, based on nominations from their students. Dr. William Daley, professor of pathology in the School of Medicine and a previous Nelson Order inductee, won the TEACH Prize sponsored by Regions bank. That's a feather in his cap and a $10,000 check to support his Medical Center activities. Dr. Daley's roundabout path to medical school and a career in pathology is a wonderful story of following one's passion and having the persistence to see it through. I appreciate Regions' support of our teaching mission and I congratulate Dr. Daley and all of this year's members of the Nelson Order.

Our teachers represent the bedrock of our purpose as an institution of higher learning. Next Friday at commencement we'll celebrate the most important product of their dedicated service - a new class of graduates ready to join our march toward A Healthier Mississippi.

Follow me on Twitter @LAWoodwardMD