VC Notes Archive Office of the Vice Chancellor
Friday, May 10, 2019

Our Teachers, a Guest from Hattiesburg, a Committee on Committees and Other Topics

Good morning!

There is so much going on this time of year that it’s hard to limit my comments to one subject, so I’ll again cover multiple topics today.

Last week I wrote about my plan to establish a campus Sustainability Committee.  If you missed that VC Notes, my desire is to renew our efforts around promoting a greener, more environment-friendly campus, and I want to form an advisory group to lead our thinking on these initiatives.  I’m pleased to report that I’ve received six nominations – including self-nominations – of individuals with more than a passing interest in sustainability.  I’ll accept nominations for a couple more weeks and then follow up with the nominees shortly after that.  If you wish to make a nomination, reply to this VC Notes or send me an email directly.  Be sure that you include your name, contact info and qualifications for service.  Thank you.

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VC_May_10_Nelson.jpgAs we head toward Commencement, this is the season we celebrate the academic achievements of our students and also the excellence of our teachers.  Each year I have the pleasure of recognizing the members of our faculty who are admitted to the Nelson Order, our teaching honorary named for the late great Vice Chancellor Norman C. Nelson.  As I said at the induction ceremony Monday, education is the reason we are here.  The job that our teachers do, day in and day out, is where it all starts.  The deans and I have our roles, but our teachers are the ones who are doing the work and making a difference in the lives of our students.  I applaud the 21 faculty members admitted to the order this year, and especially salute this year’s winner of the Regions TEACH Prize for overall teaching excellence, professor of physiology Dr. Michael Ryan from the School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences. 

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On Wednesday we had the pleasure of hosting a graduate of our School of Medicine and Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Residency Program, Dr. Bryan Batson, a med-peds specialist at the Hattiesburg Clinic.  Dr. Batson and the clinic have been leaders in the daunting quest to transition from the traditional fee-for-service model of health care reimbursement, which is widely seen as financially unsustainable, to payments based on value, defined as high quality at low cost.  Speaking to our Clinical Cabinet, Bryan provided an informative and thought-provoking account of the Hattiesburg Clinic’s several-year journey to providing value-based care using this new model.  The challenges they encountered and the lessons they learned as a large, private-practice multispecialty group are surprisingly applicable to an academic medical center like UMMC.  Bryan’s words of wisdom and experience served as a clear call to action for us.  His presentation was one of several recent interactions between UMMC and HC that reflect a meaningful relationship between our two organizations. 

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An academic medical center like ours has lots of committees.  These come in all sizes and can be long-standing or more short-lived in nature.  Some are required by outside authorities.  Most do vitally important work, but others have outlived their purpose and their members no longer even meet but the committees are still “on the books.” 

For the last few years we have been trying to get a better handle on our committees, including establishing an annual process for reviewing and renewing their charges and for changing out their members on a regular basis.  About a year ago we took this work to a new level, forming the Committee on Institutional Committee Management (known humorously by its members as “the Committee on Committees”) to develop a new process for registering UMMC committees.  This group has just unveiled a new webpage on the UMMC Intranet that includes all UMMC committees, charges and memberships.  Online forms for establishing a new committee, updating and changing the membership of an existing committee and expressing interest in service on specific committees are available on the webpage.  Chairs of all committees will receive regular communication about updating their committees. 

This is a wonderful new tool and I’m grateful to Academic Affairs’ Natalie Gaughf, committee chair, and other committee members who worked on this, including Mary Beth Addington, Leslie Musshafen, April Giavotella, Rakesh Patel and Dorothy Singleton. 

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I couldn’t end this VC Notes on this Friday of Nurses Week without acknowledging all the nurses who put on a UMMC badge every day and provide so much energy, brainpower and love in caring for our patients, teaching our students, and keeping this huge academic medical center machine moving forward.  Through my own experience as a health care professional and on the receiving end of a nurse’s expert care and compassion, I know that you “bring it” every day, and I could not be prouder to walk beside you on this journey to A Healthier Mississippi.   

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