Second VPMA finalist outlines balance of tripartite mission

Jackson lauds UI Health Care as a well-aligned health system

Jay Brooks Jackson, MD, spoke in an open candidate forum on Oct. 9

To compete and succeed in today’s health care environment, academic medical centers must support a tripartite mission of education, research, and patient care, according to Jay Brooks Jackson, MD, the second of two finalists for the position of University of Iowa vice president for medical affairs and dean of the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine.

“The job of the VPMA is to make sure that mission is balanced,” said Jackson, vice president for health sciences and dean of the medical school at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

“What you want to be is a destination academic health system, which attracts the best students, faculty, and patients—especially for complex care, which really is what academic health systems are known for and are great at,” said Jackson, who also is professor in the laboratory medicine and pathology department at Minnesota. “To be in the top decile not just for research funding but also quality and safety metrics and education is important. If you can align these different types of activities, you can be very successful.”

Jackson spoke to an audience of approximately 150 people at an open forum late Monday afternoon, Oct. 9, in the Prem Sahai Auditorium Medical Education and Research Facility (MERF).

He addressed a broad range of issues of importance to academic medical centers, such as faculty and student recruitment, research, diversity, and clinical care.

Jackson stressed the importance of a diverse medical student body that reflects changing demographics in society. As dean of medicine at Minnesota, he said, the percentage of medical students from underrepresented groups has increased from 8 percent to 19 percent. He also championed competency-based learning in medical education, noting a pediatrics-based program at Minnesota that allows students to finish medical school and move on to residency training in three years.

Jay Brooks Jackson, MD

Speaking about faculty recruitment, he stressed the importance of creating a “pipeline” of medical students who want to pursue academic medicine as a career and nurturing that pipeline through MD/MPH or other combined degree programs.

Scholarship also is key to an institution’s success, Jackson emphasized.

“For faculty, this means developing an area of focus in that you will be a national expert and leader in your field,” he said. “And you do that by publishing—external review, peer-reviewed publications. Whether that’s in education, basic science, or clinical research, that is the key. Those individuals are the ones who get the funding, get the patient referrals, and serve on national committees.”

Jackson, an Ohio native who spent 18 years at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, including 14 as chair of pathology, before taking the University of Minnesota leadership post in 2014, detailed several accomplishments from his current and past leadership roles:

  • Chairing strategic plan and promotions committees at Johns Hopkins
  • Overseeing growth in the practice plan at Minnesota over the past several years from $300 million to more than $580 million
  • Securing $100 million for a health sciences education center as well as over $300 million in funding for research and educational programs, including those centered on primary care and care to rural parts of the state
  • Keeping medical school tuition at the University of Minnesota flat over the past four years while also boosting student scholarships

He also outlined his “keys to success” among academic health systems:

  • Align the tripartite mission and maintain financial stability that maximizes the practice plan, philanthropy, and partnerships with private industry
  • Focus on selective areas of excellence to become among the top institutions in specific fields of medicine, which would also enhance growth, national reputation, and faculty and student recruitment
  • Foster collaborations between basic science and clinical faculty that accelerate the translation of discoveries into care
  • Create a culture of excellence to develop and retain faculty

“The most important thing a chair can do in a department is make sure their faculty are successful,” Jackson said. “If they do that, the institution will be successful.”

In describing what attracted him to the top UI Health Care leadership position, Jackson praised UI Health Care as “a great setup” and its well-established and clearly defined organizational structure.

“This is truly a university-aligned health system—a medical school and practice plan that allows you to move strategically and together in a more rapid fashion and align resources accordingly. A closely aligned health system provides a lot of advantages—not just in terms of care but in areas of clinical trials, training, and the ability to adapt to changing demographics, such as an aging population.”

As with the first candidate, John M. Carethers, MD, the campus community is encouraged to review Jackson’s curriculum vitae and provide feedback on the candidate through the search committee’s website.

UI President Bruce Harreld will make a final selection and announce the new vice president for medical affairs and dean of the Carver College of Medicine.