Despite challenges, ummc logged an exceptional 2017 red vs green apples

There have been exhilarating moments, like our groundbreaking in december for our children’s of mississippi expansion. And there have been difficult and even painful times, such as the budget emergency last spring that resulted in a layoff of 195 valued employees.

Fortunately, the good moments have outnumbered the bad, and this journey has been extremely rewarding, a credit to the hard work, the passion for excellence, and the dedication of our 13,000 faculty, staff and students as well as the support of many friends across the state.

A strong and healthy UMMC has implications for the whole state. As the state’s only academic medical center, we are an economic force in mississippi, with a direct financial impact approaching $3 billion annually. More than that, we’re a force for good fostering better health, research into new treatments and cures for what ails our citizens, and growth of a workforce of exceptionally trained health professionals.Health professionals


Last spring we hit a rough patch when we encountered $34 million in reductions to our revenue two-thirds of the way through our fiscal year. We could easily have conducted business as usual and ended the year deep in the red, but that wouldn’t have been the responsible course. Instead, our faculty and staff buckled down, implementing steep but manageable cuts during the fourth quarter to limit the damage.

I’m the last person to want to revisit such a painful time, but that context makes what UMMC did accomplish last year all the more striking. Among the highlights, we:

· opened the john D. Bower school of population health, only the third school of its kind in the country and the first new health professions school at UMMC in 16 years;

· received recognition and funding as one of two national telehealth centers of excellence, charged with developing best practices for programs in other states;

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· received legislative approval of the health care collaboration act, which increases our operational flexibility to work with other health care providers in an increasingly volatile health care environment; and

Those achievements, any one of which might be the lead highlight in any single year, were accomplished while we went about our “day job” that produced a record 971 new health professionals for mississippi, accrued nearly $70 million in sponsored research funding and a record 306 research grant applications; and provided compassionate and expert care during more than a million visits from patients — many of them underserved and with complex medical needs — in our hospitals, clinics and ers.

We receive state funds to support our education mission, and we’re grateful for every dollar. But few people realize that our state appropriation represents only one-tenth of our budget; the rest we bring in ourselves.Faculty staff and this crucial investment by taxpayers directly provides a nearly 20-fold return that benefits every corner of our state.

This year? For starters, we’re working hard every day to enhance our systems promoting clinical quality and patient safety, to grow our services from grenada to gulfport, and to build our capacity to conduct clinical research on alzheimer’s, cancer and heart disease through our growing relationship with the mayo clinic.

As we continue our journey, I hope more and more people will begin to view UMMC as one of the state’s most important strategic assets — part of a group of higher education assets but different in important ways – that year after year produces economic and societal benefits for our citizens, always leading us to a healthier and more prosperous mississippi.