Keeping it simple
In the last few weeks I have made three trips to Washington, D.C. and am currently in Chicago. These trips have involved a range of activities related to health care delivery, the funding of health care, medical education, accreditation and the development of key relationships through the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the Department of Education and our congressional delegation.
During the many discussions of the last few weeks, I often find myself thinking how complicated the environment of academic medicine truly is - from conversations on high level accreditation outcomes to health care price transparency (or lack thereof) to National Institutes of Health funding for junior investigators to the projected insolvency of Medicaid in 2026, and on and on. It’s really complicated.
Our challenge in the midst of this ever-evolving landscape and its ever-growing complexity is to keep our focus sharp. I believe the more complicated the universe of academic medicine and health care in general becomes, the more important it is for us to keep our focus simple: The patient. The learner. The science.
We cannot escape the reality of the world we live in professionally, but we must consistently do the right thing for every patient, keep the needs of each learner primary and forge ahead on our path to scientific discovery.
In a VC Notes some time ago I mentioned we should “keep the main thing the main thing.” Perhaps that is the best way to express it. No matter who you are or what job you have in this organization, you play a part in the success of at least one of our primary mission areas. Be sure you know what that is.
A few years ago we hosted, as we often do, visitors from across the country. These visitors, who were from the AAMC, make a point of seeing all the academic medical centers in the country. During the few days they were here, I observed them asking the same questions over and over to the many people they encountered about our mission and the community we serve. At the end of the visit, the visitors remarked that they had NEVER visited a place where they found a more consistent and unanimous response to those questions. They asked how we accomplished such a feat. The answer was simply that we all believe in the purpose for the work we are doing.
So no matter how crazy or complex the world around us becomes – and I have witnessed it first-hand during the last few weeks – I ask that as you complete your work here each day, you pause to remember why you are here and which mission you support, and to do your best to advance that mission. The uncertainty of the political and financial and regulatory landscape will continue. We have to deal with it. But we won’t let it deter or detract us from the vital work we are doing to create A Healthier Mississippi.