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Task force named to prioritize Academic Strategic Plan health initiatives

May. 7, 2015, 9:01 AM

A new faculty task force has been appointed to prioritize and refine the eight health-related initiatives in the Academic Strategic Plan and to inventory existing health-related interdisciplinary centers and institutes at Vanderbilt.

Bonnie Miller (Vanderbilt University)

Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Jeff Balser and Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan Wente approved the creation of the new Health Care Solutions Task Force and appointed Associate Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Bonnie Miller as its chair. The task force comprises 16 faculty that represent a broad spectrum of health-related expertise and scholarship from across the university and Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

“One of the primary sources of our strength at Vanderbilt is the research and collaboration that occurs at the intersection of health care and multiple other disciplines,” Miller said. “The findings of this task force will allow us to leverage existing strengths, identify new opportunities for collaboration and move forward in strategic ways to continue and expand Vanderbilt’s impact on health.”

Building distinctive and distinguished programs that develop and offer effective solutions to pressing health and health care problems is one of the four pillars of the Academic Strategic Plan. Faculty who participated in an Academic Strategic Plan retreat in February recommended the creation of the Health Care Solutions Task Force.

In its work to inventory existing interdisciplinary health-related centers and institutes, the task force will produce a detailed list of the major initiatives each center currently pursues. Based on this inventory of current activities, the task force will then prioritize and refine the eight health-related initiatives outlined in the Academic Strategic Plan. Those initiatives are:

  • Develop the current M.D./Ph.D. program in the biomedical sciences and endow additional scholarships to support its growth;
  • Magnify the M.D./Ph.D. program’s impact to include options for Ph.D. studies in the humanities and social sciences and endow scholarships to support such growth;
  • Create sustainable platforms to elevate support for fundamental research yielding discoveries about the molecular basis of disease and its prevention and treatment;
  • Expand current personalized medicine research platforms that focus on the molecular basis of wellness and disease, prevention and treatment;
  • Expand personalized medicine research programs that focus on the social, behavioral, economic, legal and political determinants of health;
  • Develop forums that facilitate interaction between the biomedical sciences, social sciences and humanities regarding health-related issues and efforts;
  • Develop innovative interdisciplinary centers to support discovery and learning about health; and
  • Develop novel undergraduate, graduate and professional degree and joint degree programs focused on educating 21st century health care leaders.     

The task force will hold its first meeting May 12. Members are:

  • Dominique Behague, associate professor of medicine, health and society
  • Melinda Buntin, professor of health policy
  • Bruce Compas, Patricia and Rodes Hart Professor, Peabody College
  • Roger Cone, Joe C. Davis Professor of Biomedical Science
  • Benoit Dawant, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Engineering
  • Terence Dermody, Dorothy Overall Wells Professor of Pediatrics
  • Robert Dittus, associate vice chancellor for public health and health care and Albert and Bernard Werthan Professor of Medicine
  • Katharine Donato, professor of sociology
  • Keith Meador, professor of psychiatry
  • Bonnie Miller, associate vice chancellor for health affairs and task force chair
  • Dan Roden, assistant vice chancellor for personalized medicine and William Stokes Professor of Experimental Therapeutics
  • Mavis Schorn, senior associate dean for academics, School of Nursing
  • Holly Tucker, professor of French
  • Larry Van Horn, associate professor of management
  • Mark Wallace, professor of hearing and speech sciences
  • Consuelo Wilkins, associate professor of medicine

Miller is one of four academic leaders charged with leading the action phase of the Academic Strategic Plan. John Geer, vice provost for academic and strategic affairs; Cynthia Cyrus, vice provost for learning and residential affairs; and Larry Marnett, associate vice chancellor for research, are co-leading the action phase with Miller.

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