September 7, 2007

Communication focus of elevate meet

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Harry Jacobson, M.D., speaks at last week’s Leadership Development Institute meeting. (photo by Neil Brake)

Communication focus of elevate meet

Consultant Peg Neuhauser talks about communication patterns at last week’s elevate LDI. (photo by Neil Brake)

Consultant Peg Neuhauser talks about communication patterns at last week’s elevate LDI. (photo by Neil Brake)

The Fall 2007 Leadership Development Institute, held over two days last week, focused on communication, and was the first to feature afternoon breakout sessions in which participants could choose which session to attend.

The meetings are the Medical Center's quarterly series of daylong elevate management seminars, attended by some 800 managers and faculty leaders.

Harry Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs, began by reviewing the latest results from the Consumer Hospital Preference survey, and the U.S. News and World Report rankings. Regarding the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt being ranked 23rd, he said, “I'm very proud of that. We've only had a freestanding children's hospital for three years.”

He also went over VUMC's rankings in terms of NIH research funding, including faculty productivity indices, discharges, outpatient visits, and other indicators.

Jacobson showed the group a rendering of the eight-story Women and Children's Pavilion to be constructed — pending board approval later this month — at the current site of the Dayani Center, which will be moving to a new facility at VUMC's 100 Oaks location.

Finally, he went over the budget, highlighted by revenue topping — for the first time — $2 billion in the just-ended 2007 fiscal year, with more than $50 million available for capital programs and support.

He also noted that VUMC provided nearly $240 million in uncompensated care, which has doubled since the TennCare disenrollment of 2004-2005.

The other morning speaker was keynoter Peg C. Neuhauser, president of PCN Associates, a management consulting firm in Austin, Texas, and author of “Tribal Warfare in Organizations.”

She noted that tribes — subcultures within organizations — are useful and desirable for giving employees a sense of security and belonging.

“It's a basic human need [to form tribes],” she said.

She suggested that acknowledging and recognizing other “tribes” within the organization could help employees work collaboratively with other groups.

Neuhauser also led one of the afternoon breakout sessions, titled “Communication Survival Tactics.” Other afternoon sessions, all taught by VUMC personnel, were “Complex Communication,” a faculty session taught by Gerald Hickson, M.D., associate dean for Clinical Affairs, Steven Gabbe, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine, and Colleen Conway-Welch, Ph.D., dean of the School of Nursing; “Live From Studio D,” taught by Joel Lee, associate vice chancellor for Communications; “Can You Hear Me Now?” taught by Wendy Leutgens, assistant hospital director, Brent Lemonds, administrative director of Emergency Services and Inpatient Medicine, Ron Fortenberry, director of Case Management and Kimberly Harris, director of Social Work; and “At a Loss for Words?” taught by Pam Brown, director of Human Resource Services and Stephanie Brodtrick, consultant in HR organizational effectiveness.

Peter Giammalvo, Ph.D., chief learning officer for VUMC, noted the changes in the format of the LDI, and said the adjustments were aimed at institutional impact.

“For the leadership development institutes to have a solid impact, they must reinforce the elevate must-haves, enhance the competencies of the leadership team and make a real difference in the life of the Medical Center,” he said.

Slides from the seminar are available on the elevate Web site, The next LDI is scheduled for Dec. 13 and 14.