Question & Answer
Aspects Volume 39 No. 1
What’s the state of the School of Medicine?
The state of the School is good. It’s our mission to take responsibility for the health of the 2.2 million people in our 66 county-defined population. That’s our social accountability.
The School of Medicine has a good reputation and has done good work with training students and resident physicians to be the heart and soul of clinical practice – it’s impressive what’s been done, but we have significant opportunities to do more to improve the region’s health.
What are your top priorities?
I want to renew and strengthen relationships and make new ones. Regions that work together more closely will do the best with opportunities in future health care reforms.
We need to examine our education efforts on all fronts to create a balanced workforce. Our upcoming focus on population health will be a big part of that analysis.
This department will do work in clinical epidemiology and link to quality improvement programs, continuing education and new educational methodologies.
What do you enjoy doing in your personal time?
I’m an oenophile (wine connoisseur), a golfer, a trumpeter and a poet. I’m a big sports fan and longtime Cardinals fan. I like crossword puzzles and I’m a brown belt in KenKen (a sodoku-like puzzle that uses mathematical operations).
Talk about the physical changes happening on the Springfield campus.
In the coming years, we will work to ensure that our facilities can meet our mission. In the past year, the Memorial Center for Learning and Innovation has been a great way to enhance the education pieces of our surgical skills lab, simulated patients, continuing medical education and quality improvement programs. We’ve also consolidated numerous administrative functions in our new building on Madison (Information Technology, Center for Clinical Research, Office of Community Health and Service, and SIU HealthCare administration). That has helped employees maximize interactions and work better as teams.
The Center for Family Medicine is expanding, thanks to our partnership with MMC. As a Federally Qualified Health Center, the Center has been able to increase its patient volume. The expansion, set to open in 2016, doubles the patient space. We’re also working with St. John’s on an outpatient women and children’s center in the next year. After that, renovations to the Moy building will allow the Neuroscience Center to advance.
Who are your personal influences?
A lot of people have been influences, from grade school to today. All were experts in some way of teaching critical thinking and problem solving, or they used good research to challenge the usual way of thinking and improved things for the masses.
Historically, the printing press changed technology, and other periods in time had subtle changes with big effects: the Renaissance, Reformation and the Industrial Revolution. Similarly, we are now in the midst of the next great technological revolution with social media and other electronic innovations changing the way we live.
How will you balance the four pillars of the mission?
I’m proud of what we’ve done as a school and a practice. SIU is well-balanced – we are a community-based school that has a social accountability to a region, but we also want to train our learners for any opportunities. We want to attract faculty members who can make an impact they give and succeed in their own scholarly pursuits.
We can bring balance on the educational spectrum, but we need to smooth the edges between education levels: from pre-med to medical students, from medical students to residency, from residents to practicing physicians.
I want all learners — students, residents, physician assistants, graduate students — to all be part of the SIU culture; I hope to make connections with health profession students from the entire SIU system.
In our clinical practice, individual departments are really coming together as a group. We’ve done a good job at removing redundancies. More standardized processes are leading to better experiences for our patients.
For research, the scholarly and research pieces will need to link clinical research with bench science and medical education research. Again, we need to smooth transitions, integrate and blend research, health and health outcomes. We need to have a research continuum.