April 25, 2003

VUMC launches medical ‘renaissance’

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The celebration of the “Shape the Future” campaign began yesterday with a meeting of the campaign co-chairs and Dr. Harry R. Jacobson. From left: Orrin H. Ingram, Jacobson, Frances Williams Preston and Alyne Q. Massey. (photo by Dana Johnson)

VUMC launches medical ‘renaissance’

Vanderbilt Medical Center is uniquely poised to help shape a “renaissance in medicine,” Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Dr. Harry R. Jacobson said yesterday as the Medical Center kicked off an ambitious campaign to attract $625 million in investment in people, programs and facilities.

Jacobson made his remarks as Vanderbilt University officially launched “Shape the Future: A Campaign for Vanderbilt” under the leadership of Monroe J. Carell Jr., chairman of Central Parking Corporation. The Medical Center campaign is a major component of the “Shape the Future” campaign, making up one half of its $1.25 billion goal.

To date, more than $828 million in gifts and pledges have been made during the campaign’s "quiet phase," Carell told the more than 500 people gathered at Langford Auditorium last night. The total raised to date for the Medical Center’s component is $362 million.

Vanderbilt now joins only 22 other universities in the United States pursuing goals of $1 billion or more in a fund-raising campaign.

Rare, too, is the institution where both discovery of new knowledge about biology and the capacity to put those findings to work solving human disease can occur, Jacobson said.

“Vanderbilt is one of those places, rare in the world for its mission and accomplishments, and perhaps unique in its growing potential to shape the future of medicine,” he said. “Three fundamental ingredients are essential to fulfilling this potential: people, programs and facilities. Of these, the most important by far is people. World-class clinicians and scientists are highly sought after, as are the top medical and nursing students. We must be able to attract them and bring them together with other great minds and tools they need to push the boundaries of knowledge.”

The Medical Center component, called “Shape the Future: A Renaissance in Medicine,” is co-chaired by Orrin H. Ingram, president and CEO of Ingram Industries; Frances Williams Preston, president and CEO of the entertainment rights organization BMI; and noted philanthropist Alyne Q. Massey. Dr. Irwin B. Eskind serves as honorary chair of the campaign.

A careful analysis of the state of medical science — the potential for scientific and medical progress as well as Vanderbilt’s specific strengths — led to a strategic vision to pursue the most promising lines of research. While funds will continue to be raised for all facets of the Medical Center, the campaign will focus on six strategically selected areas:

• Cancer

• Diabetes

• Heart disease

• Neuroscience

• Children’s health

• Foundational sciences (such as structural biology and proteomics)

Ingram, also chair of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center’s Board of Overseers, noted that Vanderbilt is already a world-class center in these areas. “We have some of the smartest, most talented people in the world gathered here to work on some of the most perplexing problems in science and medicine,” Ingram said. “Our potential to shape the future of science and medicine is incredible. The thing that’s holding us back — the only thing that could hold us back — is money. It takes phenomenal resources to bring and keep the very best people here, and to give them the very best equipment and the best environment to work in.”

Vanderbilt Chancellor Gordon Gee described the campaign as a comprehensive one involving all aspects of the University, and he echoed Jacobson’s characterization of the people — students, faculty and staff — as the most valuable resource of a great research institution. “‘Shape the Future’ and the giving it inspires will help provide the support for Vanderbilt’s unique strengths as an intellectual community that advances society through the creation of knowledge and the education, growth and mentoring of leaders,” Gee said.

Carell, a member of the Board of Trust since 1991 and chair of the campaign for the new Children’s Hospital, noted the ambitious nature of the campaign but also the strategic vision of Vanderbilt’s leaders to enhance and broaden Vanderbilt’s impact on society. “Now is the time for every member of the Vanderbilt family to join us in shaping a future that will ensure that Vanderbilt continues to be a place where the best minds will meet,” Carell said.

In the Medical Center, campaign funds will be invested in:

People – scholarships to attract the top medical and nursing students, fellowships for specialized postdoctoral training, and start-up packages and endowed chairs and professorships to recruit and retain leading clinicians and scientists.

Programs – discovery grants to bridge novel ideas with major NIH grant support, enhancement of existing research efforts and funding for innovative patient care initiatives to improve the experience of patients and families.

Facilities – construction and renovation of facilities to take full advantage of the close proximity of research, patient care and training activities on the same campus. These include construction of the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital, the Vanderbilt Orthopedics Institute and the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center, the Vanderbilt Eskind Diabetes Clinic and renovation of Godchaux Hall, home of the School of Nursing.

Of the $625 million goal, $422.7 million will be allocated to people and programs: $170.9 million for faculty support; $53.2 million for student support; and $182.8 million for programs and research. The goal for facilities and technology is $202.3 million. The goal also includes $15.8 million in unrestricted funding.

The investment in each of these areas is vital to the continued success of Vanderbilt as it strives toward becoming one of the top 10 academic medical centers in the nation, said Dr. Steven G. Gabbe, dean of the School of Medicine.

Gabbe likened faculty members to competitive entrepreneurs who receive start-up funding from an institution and must then secure major funding from the National Institutes of Health or other sources to sustain their work. “One of the most meaningful measures of an academic medical center’s success is the amount of NIH funding it receives,” Gabbe said. “Vanderbilt has the third-fastest growing NIH grant program in the country, but the already intense competition for these funds is becoming more so. Investment from philanthropy is the invaluable bridge between bold ideas and established, ongoing NIH support.”

Colleen Conway-Welch, Ph.D., dean of the School of Nursing, noted that the competition for students is also increasingly tough.

“In today’s world of nursing shortages, we have done very well in the School of Nursing in recruitment and retention of top students,” Conway-Welch said. “But the competition for these students increases every year and is directly linked to available scholarship support. The major source of this support is from philanthropy.”

Frances Preston noted the collaborative spirit at Vanderbilt as one of the things that has most impressed her in the 10 years since the cancer research laboratories that bear her name were created at the VICC.

“I selected Vanderbilt as the home for this effort not only because of my love for my hometown, Nashville, but also because I knew the caliber of the work being done here,” Preston said. Preston also serves on the VICC’s Board of Overseers and as president of the T.J. Martell Foundation, which supports the Preston Laboratories.

“In the years since, I have come to know many of the scientists and doctors at Vanderbilt Medical Center and I continue to be impressed by the degree of talent, dedication and above all, the spirit of collaboration here. The environment for true partnership and collegiality doesn’t happen by accident, and it doesn’t happen in many places the way it does at Vanderbilt.

“There is great power in collaboration, in bringing together great minds to answer questions and solve problems of great importance. This campaign will enable that spirit of collaboration to grow and flourish.”

Alyne Massey brings to her role her perspective as a 26-year member of the Vanderbilt Board of Trust. “Vanderbilt Medical Center has lifted the bar for scientific research and offered patients life-extending services along with renewed quality of life,” Massey said. “Like an oasis in the desert, it provides hope and serves as a resource for patients and the persons who love and care for them.”

Jacobson praised the strength of leadership that Ingram, Preston, Massey and Eskind bring to the campaign and expressed appreciation for all those supporters, friends, faculty, staff and others gathered at yesterday’s kickoff celebration.

“Simply put, philanthropy creates new opportunities,” Jacobson said. “It allows new ideas to flourish. It enriches the care we provide our patients. It enables us to better serve our students and prepare tomorrow’s scientists, doctors and nurses.

“This campaign will impact not only our immediate future but the future of generations to come.”

Before the evening celebration and program in Langford Auditorium, more than 100 guests gathered in Light Hall classrooms to hear more specifics about the Medical Center’s work in the targeted areas. They also were invited to tour research laboratories and the new Children’s Hospital, slated to open later this year.

The priorities of the “Shape the Future” campaign were developed through a rigorous strategic planning process over the past three years. The specific targets for the university-wide initiative are:

• Attracting the Best Students: Scholarships and Fellowships, $300 million

• Recruiting and Retaining Top Faculty: Faculty Chairs and Support, $260 million

• Discovery Without Boundaries: Translational Initiatives, $25 million

• Creating New Knowledge: Research and Programs, $231 million

• Building Community: Residential Colleges, $50 million

• New Foundations: Facilities and Technology, $326 million

• Growing Support: Annual Giving, $58 million

The campaign also seeks commitments totaling $100 million in new planned bequests.

In addition to launching the public phase of the campaign, last night’s event kicked off a series of events throughout the United States and abroad that will involve Vanderbilt alumni, parents and other supporters around the globe.

The last comprehensive Vanderbilt fund-raising effort was the Campaign for Vanderbilt, which concluded in 1995 with more than $560 million in gifts, pledges and planned bequests.