Engagement in the community is central to the College of Medicine at UTHSC, said David Stern, MD, Robert J. Kaplan Executive Dean in his recent State of the College of Medicine address.
“If you consider our community – the underserved community that lives all around us – that community presents us with both an opportunity and a challenge,” Dr. Stern said. “The promotion of health and wellness, and the elimination of disparities of care, allowing all to achieve their greatest potential” – these are the college’s mission, he said.
Dr. Stern said the college is doing well on the clinical, educational and research fronts. Test scores, matches for residencies and research funding all are on the rise. And he called for a continued culture of excellence for both short-term performance and long-term outcomes. “How can we make the most of the success we’ve been having?” he asked faculty and staff gathered for the address.
As examples of a culture of excellence and engagement with the community, Dr. Stern cited Jon McCullers, MD, and the Institute for Research Innovation, Synergy and Health Equity (iRISE), which seeks to facilitate innovative translational research driven by community health priorities; Andrei Alexandrov, MD, and the Mobile Stroke Unit unveiled in March; Daniel Sumrok, MD, and the Center for Addiction Science; and Altha Stewart, MD, and the Center for Health in Justice-Involved Youth, which aims to reduce the number of young people in the criminal justice system by treating mental health and behavioral disorders.
These centers of excellence, as well as others in the planning stages, will help boost the college’s national prominence and enable the recruitment of new talent, as well as the retention of the strong talent that is here already, he said.
Dr. Stern pointed to successful clinical partnerships, such as UT Regional One Physicians, UT Methodist Physicians and UT Le Bonheur Pediatric Specialists. He also said the college had recruited approximately 60 new faculty members over the last few years, most recently including R. Lebron Cooper, MD, chair of Anesthesiology; David Shibata, MD, chair of Surgery; James Bailey, MD, chair of Orthopedic Surgery and Biomedical Engineering; and Boyd Gillespie, MD, chair of Otolaryngology. “We’re delighted to have all of them,” he said.
Dr. Stern called on faculty and staff to consider how the College of Medicine makes a difference in the community, and how much would be missing if it were not here.