VC Notes Archive Office of the Vice Chancellor
Friday, July 19, 2019

Workday, Golf and Other Topics

Good morning!

VC_July_19_Workday.jpgWe’re nearly three weeks into July and all indications are that the implementation of Workday, our new enterprise resource planning software, is going well.  I’m told our support staff have seen lots of little issues that are being managed, but we’ve experienced no major challenges.  We are still relying on our Lawson legacy system for some functions, but many human resources tasks and related business activities, including payroll, have migrated to the Workday environment.  Getting the hang of any new system takes time, of course.  I encourage you to take advantage of the training and open labs that continue to occur and if you need assistance, contact the Helpdesk or submit your question to  The next implementation phase, which will include supply chain and accounts payable, will occur later this year with another round of training offered before go-live.  I’ve heard positive things about some of the features Workday offers and particularly the mobile app that allows remote access to the application.  Thanks to all the teams that have been working overtime for months to get this product launched and to all of you for your patience through this transition.

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The Sanderson Farms Championship golf tournament will be getting a lot bigger this year. The event is scheduled for Sept. 16-22 at the Country Club of Jackson, a full month earlier than last year’s tournament.  To improve the field for the tournament, the date change means the championship is a stand-alone event for the PGA TOUR, so more top players can attend, and the winner will qualify for a spot in the 2019 Masters Tournament.  More top players should translate into more spectators and more spectators necessitate more volunteers.  We’ve enjoyed such wonderful support from the Sandersons and this tournament and I am grateful to many of you who return the favor by volunteering (including using your personal time!) during the event.  About 140 UMMC employees volunteered at last year’s tournament and this year, we’re hoping to boost that number to 250, which represents just 20 percent of the total number of volunteers needed.  Volunteer opportunities are available in every part of the event, from marshaling a hole to driving a golf cart shuttle to assisting in hospitality and media areas.  And UMMC employees get  “perks” for free, including a golf shirt and hat; a lawn chair; food and drinks during their shifts; and a weekly grounds pass.  Be sure to use the code “UMMC2019” when registering here.  By the way, I’m proud of our School of Nursing for taking responsibility for the tournament’s First Aid tent this year. 

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At a recent Leadership Rounds – our monthly visit to clinical units with a focus on quality improvement – I was struck by a comment made by Skye Stoker, head of our Office of Patient Experience.  Skye said her team uses the phrase, “help or get help,” to emphasize the importance of resolving complaints of patients and their families on the spot, whenever possible.  When some issue or need arises, it’s best if a staff member can respond to it immediately.  And if he or she doesn’t have a solution readily at hand, he or she should immediately find someone who can provide it.  Help or get help.  In most cases, the quicker an issue can be resolved, the less likely it will escalate into a major grievance that can negatively color a patient’s entire stay with us.  Indeed, when we can quickly turn a potential negative into a positive, it’s more likely that our responsiveness will be appreciated and remembered.  I will remember, “help or get help.” 

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Another comment that stuck with me recently was one I read from the incoming president and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges, the group that represents the interests of academic medical centers like ours.  Dr. David Skorton is only the fifth president and CEO in the long history of the AAMC, a remarkable record of effective leadership during that period.  A cardiologist who specializes in congenital heart disease, Dr. Skorton has also served as president of the University of Iowa and of Cornell University.  Before joining the AAMC, he spent four years leading the Smithsonian Institution.  In a recent interview, Dr. Skorton said, “We want to make sure that people have access to health care, that the health care is affordable, and that it is of high and consistent quality. We have work to do in all three areas.”  Access.  Affordability.  High quality.  Most of what we do in an academic medical center is focused on one or more of these objectives.  And, yes, we have a lot of work to do.  In the interview, Dr. Skorton also talks about the importance of promoting diversity in the health professions, a goal with which we are very much aligned.

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Finally, I think it’s fair to say that most of you know the importance of PERS, the Public Employees Retirement System of Mississippi.  A strong and financially healthy PERS is important to all of us.  So I was pleased to see that the vice chancellor’s chief of staff, Dr. Brian Rutledge, became chair of the Board of Trustees of PERS for the fiscal year that began July 1.  This was not unexpected, since Brian served as vice chair last year, but it is a nice honor and a credit to the work he has done since being elected to the board as the representative of the State Institutions of Higher Learning in 2016.  As chair, Brian presides at board meetings, appoints members of board committees and can call special meetings.  The 10-member board includes the state treasurer, a gubernatorial appointee who is a member of PERS, two retirees, two state employees and one representative each of public schools and community colleges, the IHL, and counties and municipalities.  Congratulations, Brian.

We have many accomplished people at the Medical Center who are making a difference here and in our community, all doing their part to help us reach A Healthier Mississippi.

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