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Message from Dr. Jeff Balser on finalization of VU-VUMC transition

Apr. 29, 2016, 5:55 PM

Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D.

April 29, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

I’m delighted to report that we have reached an historic milestone:   tomorrow will be the Medical Center’s first day as a separate legal and financial entity. After nearly 18 months of work, we are emerging well positioned for the future.

As we promised when we first announced the plan to establish VUMC as a separate nonprofit entity, we have taken care to assure VUMC is seamlessly connected to Vanderbilt University in fundamental ways, including a vast array of educational and research programs aimed at training the leaders of the future and driving innovation through discovery science. I’m deeply grateful to Chancellor Zeppos, and to the Vanderbilt University Board of Trust and leadership team, for their unwavering support as we’ve navigated all matters to position both organizations for success.

VUMC is now guided by its own Board of Directors. Chaired by Edith Carell Johnson, the diverse experiences and talents of our governing board include university and academic medical center leadership, clinical practice, health care education, biomedical research, biotechnology commercialization, banking, capital financing, law, and others.  This diversity, reflecting the totality of our mission as an academic medical center, has never been more important. We remain unique in this region of the U.S., as our world-class health system, training and research programs remain tightly interwoven and mutually supportive.

Our many strengths follow us forward. We are the benchmark resource in the region for a vast array of clinical services, including most of the pediatric subspecialties, and a vast array of adult clinical services from trauma to transplantation. We remain the region’s largest clinical training center. Currently, there are more than 1,000 physicians-in-training in over 130 programs in our midst, and admission to these programs continues to be among the most competitive in the nation. Through our cutting-edge work in biomedical informatics, VUMC is widely acknowledged as the national leader in precision medicine.  And our commitment to the full spectrum of research – from basic through clinical to population health – is world-renowned and steadfast.

Just as importantly, we remain committed to delivering excellent clinical care in our communities.  Anyone caring for patients in our hospitals and clinics knows that the demand for our clinical services has never been higher. Each year we care for more patients, both adult and pediatric, many of whom need services only we can provide in this region. So we must grow and evolve to meet these increasing needs, bringing on additional inpatient and observation beds in our adult enterprise at record speed while very soon launching construction on the “top-out” expansion of our Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital.

With our reorganization now complete, some may wonder what’s ahead.   My answer is:  opportunity.  We have an opportunity to provide unique and transformative healthcare to more people than ever before, changing lives and communities for the better.  But realizing that opportunity requires that we focus like never before on the fundamentals. By doing so, we will continue to be that special place—a place of hope—where people with a vast array of backgrounds and talents come together with compassion and purpose to relieve suffering and transform the future of medicine.

My sincere thanks for all that you do.

Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D.

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