Greater faculty and staff engagement and involvement in enterprise-level decision-making is a key step in strengthening University of Iowa Health Care as a “destination” academic medical center, noted Brooks Jackson, MD, MBA, UI vice president for medical affairs and dean of the UI Carver College of Medicine.
In his State of the Enterprise presentation, “Strengths, Challenges, and the Path Forward,” on Nov. 28 in the Prem Sahai Auditorium, Jackson noted that UI Health Care is an integrated academic health system, with closely aligned strategic priorities among the Carver College of Medicine, UI Hospitals & Clinics, and UI Physicians.
Being an integrated system led Jackson to establish an Enterprise Committee this past year, a predominantly faculty-led group that works with UI Health Care administrative leadership to help “plan, strategize, and operationalize as one unit,” according to Jackson.
“I’ve always believed that 10 heads are better than one,” Jackson said. “Getting input from a lot of the key players within our organization is extremely important. And it’s not just [department] chairs or administrators. We will have work groups—faculty, nurses, and others. This will help guide this committee in the big decisions we need to make.”
During his presentation, Jackson noted examples of UI Health Care successes, including:
- Faculty who are recognized leaders in their fields of medicine—such as 2018 Warren Albert Foundation Prize recipient Michael Welsh, MD, who was honored for his research on cystic fibrosis, and 2018 National Academy of Medicine inductee Ronald Weigel, MD, PhD, who serves as chair of the Department of Surgery
- New faculty who have joined the Iowa Neuroscience Institute, dedicated to studies on the brain and nervous system and an example of a collaborative and multidisciplinary research culture at Iowa
- Nearly $225 million in external research funding in fiscal year 2018
- High demand for patient care services at UI Hospitals & Clinics and off-site clinic locations
- A fourth consecutive designation as a Magnet hospital for nursing excellence in 2018
Jackson also cited a number of challenges, including:
- The costs of medical education and the need to increase scholarship support for students
- Balancing low, flat, or negative reimbursements for patient care services against unfunded mandates and operational expenses
- Improving national rankings, which can affect recruitment of faculty, staff, students, and trainees and impact philanthropy and private-industry partnerships
- Reductions in state support to the UI and UI Hospitals & Clinics
Looking ahead, Jackson outlined eight priority areas for continued growth and success:
- Increase patient care volumes and achieve a more favorable payer mix
- Make strategic investments in capital, research capital, and training programs
- Develop new sources of revenue through philanthropy and intellectual property
- Consider and explore collaboration and partnerships with other hospitals and health systems
- Encourage faculty to become national/international experts through scholarship and service leadership
- Make education more affordable and boost scholarship support through philanthropy
- Apply for larger and more federal research grants
- Advocate for more state support for research and education
In closing, Jackson emphasized that UI Health Care is part of “one University of Iowa” and encouraged even greater collaboration with other UI colleges, centers, and programs.
“We will be stronger in working with our peer colleges on this campus. This really can allow us to be leading in a number of areas and offer a number of competitive advantages,” he said.