VC Notes Archive Office of the Vice Chancellor
Friday, December 14, 2018

Thank You for a Successful Year

Good morning!

vc_Dec_14_santa.jpgIt’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, at least judging from all the sweaters on display in the People of the U Facebook page!  I hope you are able to take a peek at our staff members in their holiday finery. 

At this time of year, we look back on the events and accomplishments that occurred over the previous 12 months.  There were highs, including concrete and steel coming out of the ground for our Children’s of Mississippi expansion, and lows, including the passing of a true UMMC hero, Dr. Blair E. Batson.

Speaking of Dr. Batson, nothing could have made me prouder than to have two giants in UMMC history – Dr. Arthur Guyton and Dr. James Hardy – enshrined in the Mississippi Hall of Fame on Tuesday.  Contemporaries of Dr. Batson, their contributions to their respective fields are enormous and enduring.

Below I’ve listed some of the highlights of 2018.  Many other items could be added to this list, but I don’t have the space for everything.  I’m proud of this list, though, and the work it took from all of you to make these things happen.

Campus Development 

  • Began construction of a $180 million inpatient tower and outpatient clinics for Children’s of Mississippi.
  • Began buildout of 1.5 floors in the Translational Research Center for the School of Population Health.
  • Began construction of the Clinical Research Unit in University Hospital with 22 beds and eight infusion chairs.
  • Broke ground for the Mississippi Center for Emergency Services on the eastern edge of campus.
  • Completed restoration of the historically significant canopies, walkways and entrance area for the original School of Medicine building.


  • Hosted a visit of the Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Jerome Adams.
  • Achieved a flawless fifth-year accreditation review from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
  • Enrolled a total of 24 students in the School of Population Health in its second year of operation, up from five last year.
  • Matriculated the largest ever incoming medical school class of 165 students.
  • Established an endowed chair in Family Medicine in honor of Alma Lowry Hill.
  • Received the Joanna Briggs Institute Centre of Excellence for our School of Nursing’s efforts to enhance the process of converting research into clinical practice.
  • Conferred 930 health science professions degrees.


  • Completed FY18 with $2.3 million in net income and 91 days cash on hand.
  • Successfully negotiated a new commercial health insurance contract with Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi.
  • Began transition to Workday, a new enterprise resource planning platform.
  • Established the Office of Strategic Planning.
  • Established the Office of Web Strategy.

Human Resources

  • Recorded highest-ever employee engagement score on employee survey since UMMC began surveying campus-wide – 4.0 on scale of 5.
  • Initiated the Office of Wellbeing to manage initiatives around provider burnout and employee wellness.
  • Appointed chairs of the Departments of Medicine and Pathology in the School of Medicine and the Department of Pediatric Dentistry in the School of Dentistry.


  • Received 314 grants and awards funded in FY18, three short of the record set last year.
  • Won renewal of the Jackson Heart Study of cardiovascular disease in African Americans for six years by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
  • Hosted the inaugural conference of the Delta Health Disparities and Translational Research consortium including UMMC, Tulane University and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.
  • Renewed the Mayo Clinic Collaborative agreement, including conjoined biobanks, collaborative clinical trials and precision medicine initiatives.
  • Formally affiliated the UMMC MIND Center with the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging to jointly research Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
  • Began a clinical trial of a marijuana-derived compound for use with pediatric patients with severe epilepsy.
  • Ranked 4th in funding of physiology departments by the National Institutes of Health.

Clinical Care

  • Organized an Opioid Task Force to undertake a comprehensive review of policies, education needs, and development of best practices for the use of opioids.
  • Entered formal affiliations with Anderson Regional Medical Center in Meridian,  Oktibbeha County Hospital in Starkville and Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.  Entered shared services agreements with Gulfport Memorial Hospital.
  • Acquired primary care pediatric clinics on the Gulf Coast.
  • Earned designation by the state Department of Health as a STEMI Receiving Center for heart attack patients.
  • Performed the state’s first combined heart and liver transplant.
  • Completed 47 liver transplants, 125 kidney transplants, 2 pancreas transplants and 9 heart transplants during the last 12 months – a record-setting pace.
  • Completed a “double-upgrade” of the Epic electronic health record.
  • Continued making progress toward our #1 strategic goal of causing “zero harm” to patients and becoming a high-reliability organization.
  • Began the buildout of our capabilities envisioned under the Telehealth Center of Excellence designation from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration.
  • Initiated an addictions program for the treatment of alcohol and opiate use disorders.
  • Established a Center for LGBTQ Health.
  • Established a Primary Care Task Force to evaluate our strategy and identify ways to add ambulatory space.
  • Established Pediatric Fast Track and Employee Rapid Access programs to enhance access to select clinical services. 
  • Initiated a reorganization of care activities in the critical care tower.
  • Last and certainly not least, provided $1 million in free dental care to 1,826 low income adult and pediatric patients during Dental Mission Week.
Whew, that’s a lot of great work!  And it only begins to scratch the surface of what you do in your “day jobs” – teaching our students, discovering new knowledge, taking care of our patients and supporting our missions with the myriad services required to run this huge, far-flung organization.  Thank you for a great year that’s brought us that much closer to our goal of A Healthier Mississippi.

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