It has been quite some time since I last posted to this blog. Contributing to my sluggishness in completing my assignment has been the hot, humid – some would say lazy – days of June? It seems everything in the world is changing, even the climate. But some of it bodes well (though perhaps not the weather).
A lot has happened at Brody since I last shared my thoughts with you. All of it is good, thanks to the extraordinary humans that make up the Brody School of Medicine family. It is your dedication, commitment and effort that is transforming Brody into a model for other medical schools to emulate.
I would be remiss if I did not comment on the success we are enjoying from work we have done in the recent past. We have begun to turn the financial tide against which we were struggling. Although there is still much work to do, our redoubled efforts are resulting in ECU Physicians anticipating a modest financial positive margin by the end of the fiscal year. The Governor and the Legislature are supporting this turnaround. While a final state budget is still weeks, if not months, from being finalized, I am very pleased that all three budget proposals – the Governor’s, the House’s and the Senate’s – each contain $8 million in new funding for Brody. With the strong support of university friends, trustees and others, our very effective advocacy for Brody in Raleigh will not abate.
In order to continue this turnaround, key hires have been made. Organizational structures have been better defined, revamped or added to. A new compensation plan has been put in place and continues to be refined. To learn more about the new roles and to understand the composition and inter-relationship of the boards, committees, teams and groups that are guiding our course, please spend a few minutes looking at materials in the ‘Recent Updates’ section of the Preserving the Mission webpage.
Now, let’s turn our attention to work we must do to secure our future.
For several months we have been engaged in meaningful conversations with Vidant leaders. Both organizations have come to a clear understanding that we are each stronger and better positioned to deliver on our respective missions. Vidant Health’s new CEO, Dr. Mike Waldrum, and Brian Floyd, president of Vidant Medical Center, both entirely share that view. The shared vision we have for meaningful alignment has led ECU and Vidant to jointly engage Huron Healthcare to gather, review and analyze information provided by both Vidant and ECU to develop options and recommendations about how our two organizations might more closely align our medical services, educational activities and research.
Huron has begun this work and will continue their limited engagement with us for approximately 12 weeks, with an anticipated report toward the end of September. To efficiently sift through information, Huron has requested four specific committees be created to help gather information, provide advice and context, and suggest direction for their project. Both Vidant and ECU will have equal representation on these committees. From ECU, the committee representatives will include a mix of faculty and administrative leaders. If you’re interested to know who serves on these committees, that information is also available on the Preserving the Mission web page under ‘Recent Updates.’
I expect the result of Huron’s work to be a report with options or recommendations on how the two organizations might consider pursuing enhanced alignment and how that might be accomplished. In all meaningful ways, whatever set of options and recommendations are presented will mark the beginning of a process of consideration, decision and implementation that will take substantial study and time to reach conclusion and will involve all of us, including the Chancellor, ECU Board of Trustees and the UNC Board of Governors.
The variations we experience in the daily weather resulting from global climate change can sometimes make us uncomfortable or even nervous. Similarly, the possibility of change at Brody, particularly in the midst of an industry-wide upheaval, can be unnerving and anxiety-producing. I advise you to take great comfort from the knowledge that at the conclusion of this effort, Brody faculty and staff will continue to do on a daily basis what we have been doing for over 40 years. We will teach students, we will train residents, we will care for patients, we will conduct important research and we will continue to improve the lives and health of eastern North Carolinians. In short, Brody will preserve the mission we have so successfully championed.
Stay cool, y’all!