State of the School Address: “Purposeful Actions, Promising Results: Relentlessly Advancing”
Thursday, September 26, 2013
E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA
Actions, Promising Results: Relentlessly Advancing” was the theme of the 2013 State of the School addressed delivered on September 25,
2013 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, Dean Reece applauded
the way in which the School of Medicine has not wavered from the path of
success, in spite of such daunting challenges as sequestration and reduced
funding for research from the National Institutes for Health (NIH). “While our
progress has been considerable, we faced strong headwinds and challenges, some
of which were anticipated and others that were harsh and unexpected,” Dean
Reece said. “We nevertheless embraced the charge of the great American author
Henry David Thoreau to go confidently in the direction of our dreams. It was
against this tide of uncertainty that the School of Medicine persisted to
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Much of the forward momentum was the result of a concrete,
multi-year plan entitled Vision 2020,
which has been implemented to keep the School of Medicine moving in the right
direction. “Throughout the past year, we refused to be slowed down by outside
forces that threatened to undermine our progress,” said the dean. “We took
bold, purposeful and strategic actions. We were nimble and wisely
opportunistic, pursuing the most promising opportunities, while also taking some
calculated risks. We advanced relentlessly, always with a goal toward
maintaining our strong, competitive advantage.”
This approach was most evident in the protracted but
ultimately successful efforts to secure funding for a new School of Medicine
research building, Health Science Facility III (HSF-III). Showing a slide of an
artist’s rendering of the building, Dean Reece said happily, “I have a
different spin on HSF-III this year – it’s a reality! With support from the
Maryland General Assembly, we just broke ground on this $305 million research building,
which will serve as a magnet for attracting world-class researchers and will
further strengthen the School of Medicine’s biomedical research structure.”
Other highlights of this year’s State of the School:
January, a topping out ceremony was held for the $200 million Maryland Proton
Treatment Center being built here on campus, right next to the BioPark. One of
only 12 such centers in the nation so far, the Proton Center will bring the
Baltimore/Washington region the world’s most-advanced technology in radiation
treatment for cancer.
Reece played an active leadership role in the establishment of state-wide
Health Enterprise Zones (HEZs) in Maryland. Supported by $16 million in State
appropriations, these HEZs will address the growing issue of health disparities
across the state.
Department Chairs were appointed in the past year: Christopher Harman, MD,
Chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences;
Bennie Jeng, MD, MS, Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual
Sciences; Bankole Johnson, DSc, MD, MPhil, Chair of the Department of
Psychiatry; Elias Melhem, MD, Chair of the Department of Diagnostic Radiology
& Nuclear Medicine; Andrew Pollak, MD, Chair of the Department of
Orthopaedics; and Scott Thompson, PhD, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry.
to the School of Medicine were up by 9% this year. For the first time, women
comprise more than 60% of the class (63%).
in the Graduate Program in Life Sciences (GPILS) were authors or co-authors on
School of Medicine was mentioned in U.S.
News and World Reports and The Chronicle
of Higher Education regarding the Foundation in Research and Critical
Thinking course it implemented this year.
was a large turnout for the Rally for Medical Research on April 8, 2013, one of
many rallies held simultaneously across the country to raise awareness of the
consequences of cutting funding for basis science.
Grants & Contracts funding was down this year, the 12% loss here at the
School of Medicine was below the 14% average across all medical schools.
centers were established at the School of Medicine: The Center for Excellence
on Problem Gambling will train 1,000 behavioral health professionals annually
as part of a statewide, comprehensive and coordinated approach to combating
gambling addiction in Maryland. The Center for Health –Related Informatics and
Bioimaging (CHIB) , a joint initiative between UMB and College Park that is
supported by the mPower Maryland program, will support advancements in
comprehensive data mining and analysis to improve health outcomes. Also in the
works is the Center for Integration of Molecular Imagining and Therapeutics
(CIMIT), which aims to improve the translation of basic science into clinical
use through the use of innovative and creative imaging technologies.
was up 13.7%, and the School of Medicine has raised more than $350,000,000
toward its ambitious goal to raise half a billion by 2015 as part of its
“Transforming Medicine Beyond Imagination” campaign. This money will go toward
capital projects such as HSF-III, Endowed Chair and Professorship positions,
scholarships and clinical initiatives.
School of Medicine received numerous mentions in the national media for its
research and clinical endeavors, including CNN, NPR, ABC News and more.
“It is my sincere
hope that today’s presentation has demonstrated to you the strategic and
purposeful actions that we have taken and the positive initial results we have
had,” said Dean Reece. “We will continue to be forward-thinking, and we expect
to continue to maintain our strong pace and trajectory.”