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Dean Reece Delivers 2012 State of the School Address

Thursday, September 20, 2012


“Forging Ahead: Defining New Pathways in Challenging Times” was the theme for the 2012 State of the School Address, delivered by E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean, University of Maryland School of Medicine.


Speaking to a standing-room-only crowd in the MSTF auditorium, Dean Reece said the School of Medicine’s research and clinical enterprises continue to be successful despite a series of challenges and roadblocks.  “The rising costs of health care, the impact of the uninsured and the under-insured, the discontinuation of stimulus funding from Congress, as well as the flat funding of the NIH budget, have forestalled the growth of our research enterprise and slowed scientific progress,” said Dean Reece.  “In spite of these road blocks, we remain undaunted.”


The federal government has passed the Affordable Care Act, which has been hailed by many in the academic community as a tremendous response to our nation’s growing health care crisis.  “This new legislation offers us one new path to our ultimate destination,” said Dean Reece.  “But, we must also “reprogram” our GPS and endeavor to travel alternate routes.  New models of health care delivery and non-traditional funding are two of the ways that we can continue to expand our clinical and research enterprises.  Accountable care models, patient-centered medical homes, industry partnerships, and private philanthropy are some of the approaches that will provide us with viable alternate routes now and in the future.”


In addition to flat NIH funding, and the phase out of stimulus funding, the federal government has changed its funding policies for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). While SOM faculty – through the Institute of Human Virology – continue to conduct AIDS research and service in Africa, the funding now accrues to the country, rather than the School of Medicine. For these reasons, total grants and contracts to the school of Medicine were $429.9 million in FY12.  However, when the figures are adjusted for the phasing out of stimulus funding and the changes in PEPFAR funding policies, research funding to the School of Medicine increased 3.4 percent.


Indeed, the research productivity of the faculty is among the highest in the country, and the School of Medicine remains among the fastest growing research enterprises in the country.  Among all medical schools, the School of Medicine ranks 8th in direct expenditures per principal investigator, according to Association for American Medical Colleges (AAMC).  SOM principal investigators exceeded the mean by more than $200,000!  This exceptional productivity has moved SOM up in the AAMC’s overall rankings as well. The School of Medicine now ranks 16th (up from 17th last year) in direct grants and contract expenditures among all 138 medical schools.  The School of Medicine now ranks 6th (up from 7th last year) among all 76 public medical schools.  


The school's total revenue, which includes grants, tuition, state funding, faculty practice and philanthropic gifts, was $885 million. Forty-eight percent of total revenue came from grants and contracts, while clinical revenue accounted for 44 percent. The performance of our practice plan was impressive. Total clinical revenues increased 7.6 percent to a record high of $244.2 million and total patient volume increased 3.3 percent.  Through our strong partnership with the University of Maryland Medical System, faculty physicians treated 1.1 million patients in in FY12.


Despite the challenging economic landscape, philanthropic funding for the school remained strong, thanks to generous private gifts and endowments, which increased 4.5 percent to $69.1 million in FY12. These gifts included more than $19 million in gifts from private donors, and gifts to fund endowed professorships.


Highlights from the last year are many, and include:


·         The University of Maryland completed the most extensive full-face transplant to date in a 36-hour operation at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center. The operation involved a multi-disciplinary team of faculty physicians and a team of over 150 nurses and professional staff, and was the culmination of more than a decade of research.


·         The Maryland General Assembly approved $4.7 million in new matching funds for the design of Health Sciences Facility III (HSF III).


·         The Graduate Program in Life Sciences (GPILS) continued to enhance the research mission of the School of Medicine with a 11% increase in student research funding and 167 publications by GPILS students.


·         Thanks to the outstanding clinical faculty, nurses and staff, the University of Maryland Medical Center has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report among the nation’s top 50 best hospitals in nine specialties.


·         School of Medicine discoveries and clinical achievements received extensive national and international news coverage with more than 100 additional stories per month in FY12.


"We are, indeed, at a crossroads in our institutional history," said Dean Reece.  “Despite the obstructions and the detours we have faced, our destination is in sight and our GPS is locked on our destination.  I have the utmost confidence that, together, we will faithfully pursue our original goals, and develop new pathways to guarantee our safe arrival.”


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 Hundreds turned out to hear how the School of Medicine is doing in these trying times.

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