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College of Medicine Administrative Updates

July 2017: Dean's Update

Colleagues,

While the first quarter of my time at Texas A&M was spent working with the legislature to shape our future with external stakeholders, the second quarter has been devoted to looking internally at the college and designing an organization ready for the 21st century.

We have 40 years of great history to build upon. The College of Medicine was established in 1977 as a result of the Teague-Cranston Act, which established medical schools at five U.S. land-grant institutions. These schools were chartered to care for rural populations and for the veterans of military service. I am re-committing to our charter and building on our core values.

Over the next several weeks, we will announce important strategic updates that are expected to better position the College of Medicine, helping us to more fully deliver on our promise of excellence for our medical students, faculty and staff, and for the state. I am asking all of you to join me in planning a future that honors our past and allows us to serve as leaders for the future of health care.

Within this first installment, I would like to further outline the foundational principles on which we will operate and how we will use these principles to develop three priority areas for the College of Medicine.

Foundational Principles

  • Act in ways that honor our core values, our commitments as a land-grant medical school and as stewards of the public trust
  • Deliver excellence in administration, clinical care, education, and research that provides value to the state of Texas, and improves the health of Texans
  • Identify stakeholders who will partner with the College of Medicine to transform health care delivery, educate students and develop new knowledge through innovative research
  • Provide consistency and transparency in governance and management across all campuses which will support the delivery of excellence in our missions and allow us to be in a constant state of readiness for accreditation

Priorities

Our priorities are focused on our strengths and areas where we can leverage our strengths to improve health and health care delivery in the state. An emphasis on these priorities also serves as a platform for transformational educational and research opportunities for our students, faculty and staff.

Rural Population Health

  • Improve the health of rural populations in Texas through innovative care delivery
  • Provide transformational learning experiences for students while improving rural populations' access to health care
  • Eliminate health disparities in our state

Military Health

  • Honor our military legacy
  • Provide care to active duty military and veterans
  • Diversify the clinical and research opportunities for our students, faculty and staff

Technology-Supported Innovation for Health and Health Care Delivery

  • Collaborate with the College of Engineering and the Health Science Center to develop and implement new technologies to support health care in the 21st century
  • Train a new type of physician—the physicianeer—through our EnMed program
  • Work with stakeholder health systems to re-invent the way health care is delivered

Updates

I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to Dr. Paul Ogden. Paul's commitment to the College of Medicine is admirable and I appreciate his service. He helped lead the college through a transitional period. He also helped lay a foundation for our future through his support of the EnMed program and his work towards LCME accreditation of this program. Paul will remain a vital member of our family as he continues to train future Aggie doctors in rural population health and in geriatric medicine at MatureWell, an innovative model of care developed in partnership with one of our local stakeholders, CHI St. Joseph Health.

I want to congratulate Dr. Jeremy Gibson, who has agreed to serve as a clinical associate professor in the new Department of Primary Care Medicine and as the new Bryan-College Station Regional Campus Dean. Jeremy has served as an assistant professor of pediatrics at the college since 2001 and has been a vital contributor in developing the case-based curriculum for the EnMed program. He will begin his new duties in early July. Jeremy's appointment marks an important step forward as we work to develop our clinical practice in primary care medicine and to deliver excellence and consistency in education and management across our campuses.

I welcome Colonel James Lucas, deputy commander for surgical services at the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, who will serve as the Campus Dean for Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood. Jim, an ENT surgeon, graduated from the Texas A&M College of Medicine in 1997. He will oversee the education, health and well-being of the 60 students that will begin rotations in emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, psychiatry and surgery in September. His role at Fort Hood is integral as we recommit to our proud military legacy and focus on military health.

The Clinical Translational Medicine Department has been renamed the Primary Care Medicine Department and Dr. Nancy Dickey was announced Department Head. Nancy's new leadership position will be important as we build our practice plan, which will initially include family medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics. This new department, which also includes the Rural and Community Health Institute (RCHI), will improve care for underserved populations and improve rural access to care while eliminating health disparities across the state.

The Institute for Public Health Improvement has been renamed the Texas A&M and Driscoll Children's Hospital Global Institute for Hispanic Health. The joint institute will advance the health of the Hispanic community, ensuring the needs of this population are addressed when developing new drugs and life-saving therapies. This one-of-a-kind reach in South Texas ties nicely with our Healthy South Texas initiative as we work to improve the health of rural populations throughout the state.

Looking to the future, we have a number of national searches that are ongoing. I would like to thank the faculty and staff who have agreed to participate in these searches, especially those who have volunteered their time to chair these searches, including Dr. Vytas Bankaitis, Dr. William Griffith and Dr. Patricia Watson.

Working with Korn-Ferry, a search firm with expertise in leadership for academic health centers, we are recruiting a Department Head for Psychiatry, who will take the lead on a Mental Health Practice Plan and a Vice Dean for Education, who will provide leadership for all academic issues for the college. In conjunction with the Health Science Center, we are also recruiting an Associate Vice President for Clinical Strategy and Chief Medical Officer, who will provide important administrative leadership for the proposed Texas A&M Faculty Practice Plan and an Associate Vice President for Research, who will provide important administrative leadership for the Texas A&M health-related research enterprise as we focus on innovation and technology as a mechanism for advancing the research enterprise across the institution.

Change is often difficult because it can be perceived as happening both too quickly and too slowly. Open communication can facilitate the transitions that change requires. I am committed to communicating as much as possible, and across the organization, to keep people informed regarding changes and to remind people how these changes fit with our principles and priorities. In the coming weeks, you will receive additional information through the Strategic Updates platform. In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to com@tamhsc.edu with any questions or feedback.

As always, thank you for your ongoing commitment to Texas A&M. Amid many years of change and transformation, you have demonstrated the resilience and the resolve to make this institution a better place for our students and the patients they will one day serve. I am certain our best days lie ahead.

With gratitude,
Carrie L. Byington, MD