VC Notes Archive Office of the Vice Chancellor
Friday, May 11, 2018

The Surgeon General, Fondren Parking, Etc.

Good morning!

Whether it’s for high school, college or even kindergarten, the graduation buzz is getting louder.   We’re preparing for our own a couple of weeks from now, and I’ll talk about that in the next VC Notes.  Today I’ll touch on several topics of possible interest.

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I’m pleased to share that the Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Jerome Adams, will be visiting our campus next Thursday, May 17.  Only the 20th surgeon general in the nearly 150-year history of the office, he is a board-certified anesthesiologist and former state health commissioner of Indiana.  I am not sure if previous surgeons general have visited UMMC, but their national stature and public visibility can serve to concentrate the nation’s attention on important public health issues such as the dangers of tobacco use. 

Dr. Adams has made the opioid epidemic one of the focal points of his tenure.  He will make a presentation open to the Medical Center community at noon in Room 124 of the medical education building, with lunch available for up to 200 attendees.  An earlier event, from 9 to 11 that day in the same location, will involve a panel discussion with state officials focused on the opioid epidemic in Mississippi.  This part of his visit is by invitation only, but if the opioid crisis is an area of interest to you and you wish to attend, please contact Laura Hodge in Public Affairs at

Thanks to Dr. Claude Brunson, my senior advisor for external affairs and a fellow anesthesiologist of Dr. Adams', for his help in bringing the surgeon general to UMMC, and to Dr. Ann Kemp in Family Medicine for heading up our own Opioid Task Force. 

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vc_notes_may_11_2018.jpgWe’ve had a number of contacts recently from merchants and others in the Fondren community about inappropriate use of parking spaces by our staff and students.  Because parking lots near Cups and shops deeper into the business district are closer to campus than the far reaches of the stadium, some of our folks are parking in these lots and slipping across the street to campus to work or attend class.  That ties up a parking space – often for nine hours or more – that could have been used by a paying customer of these businesses.  Yes, the business owners can monitor their lots and have the offenders towed, but this is an added expense for them and creates hard feelings on both sides.  This situation has worsened recently with the temporary closure of street parking so that sidewalks can be enhanced in the area.  For those of you who are parking in these lots, I hope you will help UMMC maintain its reputation as a good neighbor among the communities that adjoin our campus and not take up these spaces. Thanks in advance.

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I was thrilled to see that employee giving toward the Children’s of Mississippi expansion has now reached 30 percent of the Children’s workforce.  Thank you!  As our development staff solicits financial support for the project from state and regional philanthropic foundations, one of the things they repeatedly hear is that the extent of support from the applicant’s own organization factors in their decision of whether to provide funding.  Whether you work in Children’s or in other parts of the Medical Center, if you’d like to make a pledge, contact the Office of Development or go online at and select Children’s Hospital>Children’s Hospital Capital Campaign Fund.

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Last week’s VC Notes about our one-sided contract with Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi launched me on a one-woman crusade to remind people about all that you and UMMC do for our state.  If you follow me on Twitter (@LAWoodward), you’ve been seeing a series of tweets that put a face on the impact we have through our education, research and patient care missions.  It’s just a fact of life that people are busy, involved in their own day-to-day activities, and they may be only vaguely aware that we even exist.  But, heaven forbid, when they or their loved ones are involved in a head-on car crash, you better believe it’s a comfort to see that blue and white AirCare helicopter show up - or even the rural paramedics who were trained at UMMC.  You get the idea:  What we do here matters!  #WeAreUMMC

If you’re not a Twitter user and don’t plan to be, that’s fine.  If you are and you follow me, I hope you will retweet these messages.  A change in perception begins with one voice and happens one person at a time. 

Of course, nothing will ever matter more than the real work you are doing every day to teach our students and trainees, advance the science and care for our patients.  But perception is often reality, and I want every Mississippian to know about the unique role in leading the journey toward A Healthier Mississippi.

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