Aug. 17, 2004

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Contact: Kevin Boatright, University Relations, (785) 864-7100; Dennis McCulloch, KU Medical Center, (913) 588-1441

Remarks by Chancellor Hemenway at KU Medical Center convocation today

Each year, I welcome this opportunity to come to the Medical Center to give you a personal update on the state of the university. Today's convocation is particularly momentous, because the School of Medicine will celebrate its centennial during 2005, followed by the School of Nursing in 2006.

When you think of all the changes that have occurred along Rainbow Boulevard during the past century, and all the changes in the practice of medicine and medical research in that time, you should feel great pride.

From modest beginnings‹with the Eleanor Taylor Bell Hospital and a program split between Lawrence and Kansas City‹the University of Kansas has had a tremendous impact on health care throughout Kansas and throughout the nation.

We have taught and sent forth 100 graduating classes of doctors ‹ some to the great hospitals and research centers of the world, others to more humble inner city clinics and rural practices.

Thanks to the KU Medical Center, that simple phrase ‹ "The doctor will see you now"‹comes like a benediction to anxious patients in a thousand waiting rooms.

Without you, and without the graduates we produce here, the face of health care in Kansas would be dramatically different. There would be far fewer doctors to "see you now." They would be less skilled in current techniques and treatments. And all of us would have to turn to other states and other universities for high quality medical research.

These are challenging times for academic health centers. You know this better than anyone. I am beginning my 10th year as Chancellor and Don Hagen is beginning his 10th year as Executive Vice Chancellor. Together, with you, we have seen the rise of managed care, capitation, various federal adjustments to Medicaid and Medicare, federal legislation which dramatically changes the ways we operate, discounted reimbursement mechanisms, pleas to train fewer specialists, and pleas to train more specialists, pleas to train fewer nurses and pleas to train more nurses. Dr. Atkinson told me yesterday that now we are being told to train more physicians.

Our state's budget cuts have not made things easier, but that situation began to turn around this spring. In addition, the Legislature added $500,000 for the KU Medical Center, reflecting a portion of the Board of Regents' original request and the special nature of this campus.

The most significant non-budget issue for KU last spring is one that will deeply affect KU. The Kansas Economic Growth Act created a "Biosciences Authority" in the state, modeled, in part, on the University of Kansas Hospital Authority. The goal of this bill is to use up to $500 million in new tax revenue‹generated over the next decade by growing biosciences companies‹to fund biosciences research, facilities and new staff positions at KU and other universities in the state.

KU will clearly be a major beneficiary of such an initiative, since we are already the state's leading research university and a strong partner in the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute. KU and the Board of Regents supported this bill, and are grateful to Representative Kenny Wilk and Senator Nick Jordan for their visionary leadership of this initiative.

The Board of Regents will be represented on the Biosciences Authority Board by myself, along with President Wefald of Kansas State. We are eager to get started.

We have seen an unprecedented growth in the Research activity of our faculty, fueled by the NIH budget reaching $24 billion, double what it was only a few years ago. Last year, KU faculty, especially in the basic sciences, competed for and won $70 million in research grants and contracts, compared to only $42 million in 1997.

The bill was not perfect. Few bills are. It contains language that limits some forms of research funded by the Authority. As new therapies are discovered, and as public and political attitudes change, this language may change and the restraints may be lifted.

Even so, on balance, the Kansas Economic Growth Act was the most memorable landmark of this session for public higher education, just as the research bonding authority bill was in 2002, generating funds to help build the Biomedical Research Center here and to purchase much-needed laboratory space and equipment in Lawrence.

The Biomedical Research Center is now under construction, consuming whole parking lots in the process, as you know!

When the magnificent new Center is completed, KU will be able to conduct high quality research, utilize it in a premier hospital setting, and commercialize it in our own Biotechnology Development Center of Greater Kansas City. And all of it is within walking distance of a new parking ramp!

Research continues to be a growth industry at KU, with total expenditures reaching $258 million during fiscal year 2003. Last fall, at Lawrence, we announced "the largest grant ever awarded to a Kansas university," at $17 million.

Not to be outdone, Joan Hunt and the KU Medical Center recently received an $18 million, five-year award from the National Institutes of Health to support the Kansas IdeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE).

"It is the largest grant ever awarded to a Kansas university," a phrase I enjoy using and would be happy to recite every nine to 12 months!

KUPI, the faculty's practice plan has had revenue increases from $66 million to $86 million in just the last four years, and its operating costs are going down.

Our Schools of Nursing and Allied Health have proven themselves among the of health care practitioners in creating both advances in clinical care and in training more therapists.

Nursing has begun a very vigorous program of on-line degree programs that will cause it to be recognized nationally for innovation in electronic education.

The Hospital, The University of Kansas Teaching Hospital, has gone from 175 million dollars in revenue in 1997 to over 400 million this past year, and from 13,000 patients in 1977 to almost 19,000 this year. The Hospital has earned its highest accreditation ranking in the past five years.

The flexibility of the Hospital Authority structure has enabled us to add a group of cardiologists and surgeons who had made cardiac care a priority and has helped to identify KU as a major source of cardiology for greater Kansas City.

Both the School of Medicine and the Schools of Nursing and Allied Heath have been notably successful in their recruiting of excellent new faculty from some of the leading Allied Health Centers in the United States. We have major initiatives in cancer and neurosurgery. The State of Kansas has created the Kansas Bio-Science Authority so that it can plan for and benefit from the increased attention to life science in the state. The Med Center will play a major role in this authority.

We have a new Nursing Building, millions of dollars worth of renovations, a new 6th Floor on the Hospital and a new Medical Research Building, just now going us at 39th & Rainbow along with a new Heart Hospital being built across the street on the old helicopter landing pad.

These are all reasons to be proud of what's happening at the Medical Center, and there are many more I could mention. Let me add one more.

Early on the morning of Father's Day, an 80-year-old water pipe in Murphy Hall decided to break. The resulting flood brought to mind a line from the Navy Hymn: "Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee, For those in peril on the sea!"

Having a former admiral at the helm of the Medical Center was very appropriate that day and in the weeks that followed. The clean up has been a trial for those who were drenched, and for those of you who supported your colleagues during this crisis. To all of you, I say thanks for a job well done.

None of this has been easy, and we have many challenges ahead. We are still working hard to integrate clinical care, teaching and research, and we have not yet solved all the many dilemmas that arise from the interface of the School of Medicine and the Hospital.

What we do know is that our future destiny is dependent upon the University, the Hospital, and the physicians faculty working productively to solve mutual problems for mutual benefit.

I have recently tried to put together a series of principles that are important to this relationship, and I have consulted with Dr. Hagen, Dr. Atkinson, Dr. Miller, and Irene Cumming, the President of the Hospital.

The assumption that we all share is that we want our joint enterprise, the KUMC to be the outstanding academic medical center in the Midwest.

To accomplish this we will have to regularly plan together for the future. In addition, we have to fully understand and respect each o6ther in order to take advantage of the strengths of each organization.

If we share priorities, and also share a commitment to excellence in patient care, education and research we should be able to allocate resources and responsibilities to achieve these kinds of goals.

There are some basic behaviors that we must honestly admit to each other are probably necessary for this process to work.

We need to recognize that differences in culture between the hospital and the university may exist; but that our role is to find ways to respect those differences and turn them into advantages for our mutual success.

We also need to remember, as I know that you recognize, that what we do at KUMC reverberates across the Kansas City metro area and across the state of Kansas. We have many constituents, and they expect us to work together to achieve that premier status in the medical department.

We will need to focus on our positive accomplishments and take great pride in each of our individual successes if we are to create the joint success that we all work for.

The person responsible for much of the success that I have just enumerated is Dr. Donald Hagen, retired three star Admiral, former Surgeon General of the Navy, the Executive Vice Chancellor of the KU Medical Center, and one of the finest human beings who it has ever been my privilege to know.

In 1997, when we began to plan for the KU Hospital Authority, it quickly became apparent that if such an authority were to be created, the EVC's position would inevitably change, and many of the duties the EVC had held in regard to the Hospital would end up residing in the Authority Board and the presidency of the Hospital.

To put it simply, some of Dr. Hagen's authority would transfer, just as the authority of the Chancellor and the Board of Regents would also transfer to the new structure.

The Regents were magnificent in facing this change. They were willing to transfer this entire 100 million dollar asset to the Hospital Authority without any cost. Dr. Hagen was similarly magnificent. Time after time he made clear that he was solely interested in what was best for the patients, best for the faculty, and best for the staff. This was always his priority. He understood that the new structure would not work if confusion existed about where responsibilities lay.

He also knew and made me aware, that the EVC's position would change, both at the time of the transition to the Authority and at the time he eventually left the EVC's position.

To my great regret, we have reached that moment. Dr. Hagen has indicated to me his desire to retire at the end of this calendar year, December 31, 2004.

I have carefully considered the transition that this action creates, and I have consulted with administrators, faculty members, clinical and Basic Science Chairs, and our friends in the Kansas City community. I believe that it is important for the university to have stable and continuous leadership at this critical point in our history, and I believe we have a proven leader who can provide that stable leadership. I am announcing today that I have asked Dr. Barbara Atkinson to assume the dual position of Dean of the School of Medicine and Executive Vice Chancellor of the Kansas University Medical Center. She has agreed to take this position, beginning January 2005.

I don't have to tell you anything about Dr. Atkinson. She is a distinguished faculty member, the only member of the Institute of Medicine on our faculty, and she has been a superb Dean at a time of many challenges for our faculty.

I have every confidence in her and I look forward to working with her to achieve our goal of KU being a premier academic health center for this region. I have asked that first Dr. Hagen, then Irene Cumming to speak to this moment, both because I know what respect they have for Dr. Atkinson, and then I would ask that Dr. Atkinson speak to the possibilities that she sees ahead as we prepare to enter into a new chapter in the history of this academic health center.


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