Category Archives: Future of AMCs

What Academic Medical Centers Can Learn from Lippi

By James McDeavitt, MD

Originally posted July 7, 2015

512px-fra_filippo_lippi_-_madonna_with_the_child_and_two_angels_-_wga13307What does this 15th century Renaissance painting have to do with a 21st century academic medical center?

Painted by Fra’ Filippo Lippi (a monk of some questionable repute) in about 1465, I selected this image as an analogy for our two broad challenges in building a successful academic medical enterprise in the rapidly changing healthcare environment.

The first challenge is the need to innovate.

At first blush, Lippi’s Madonna With Child and Two Angels may not scream innovation. However, in its time it included a number of groundbreaking techniques. Continue reading What Academic Medical Centers Can Learn from Lippi

Final Days, or Dawn of a New Age for Academic Medicine?



Originally posted June 9, 2015

By Kirsten Stewart

A dying beast? Fated for extinction? Dead on arrival? The recent musings of industry analysts about the future of academic medical centers (AMCs) inspire more panic than confidence these days. Long considered the showpiece for American health care, AMCs have also been an important financial anchor for universities. But times are changing. An April headline in The Wall Street Journal read “Once Cash Cows, Teaching Hospitals Now a Source of Worry for Schools.”

Contrary to the alarming headlines, Vanderbilt University Medical Center has a much brighter story to tell, in part because it’s forsaking tradition to forge a bold new path. The $3 billion medical center is separating from the 142-year-old university, a move that is already reaping dividends, said Vanderbilt’s deputy vice chancellor of medical affairs, C. Wright Pinson, M.B.A., M.D. “We needed more freedom and speed in our decision-making …than the old structure afforded.”  Continue reading Final Days, or Dawn of a New Age for Academic Medicine?

“Healing Beyond Science”

By Robert Folberg, MD

The title of this post is framed within quotation marks because the words are not mine. They were delivered by Mary Fisher, an author, artist, and AIDS advocate on the occasion of receiving an honorary degree as part of the commencement of the Charter Class of 2015 from the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine (OUWB). Wing of Zock invited me to provide a follow-up to my post published earlier this year, “Kindness Beyond Curriculum,” where I described the underlying innovations that OUWB brings to medical education as a new medical school. I invite you now to pause and listen to Fisher’s address. [Fast forward to the 4:40 mark to skip the conferral of the degree if you wish.] Continue reading “Healing Beyond Science”

A Conversation with Clay Johnston, Inaugural Dean of Dell Medical School

By Jennifer J. Salopek

Johnston, Clay 2014 (Photo by Marsha Miller)

S. Claiborne “Clay” Johnston, MD, was named inaugural dean of the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin in January 2014. A practicing neurologist, he was formerly associate vice chancellor of research at the University of California, San Francisco. He spoke with Wing of Zock Editor Jennifer Salopek by telephone on May 13, 2015.

Salopek: What opportunities for innovation does being the dean of a new medical school bring?

Johnston: It’s a huge opportunity. If you’re ready to take on the challenge, you can take a look at all aspects of academic medicine—the way we train medical students, the way we train residents, the way we provide clinical care, the way we interact with the community. We really have an opportunity to rethink the whole academic enterprise.

Salopek: You’ve published an article called “10 Backward Things About Our Health Care System.” Which of those problems can a new kind of medical school address? For example, many that you cite are payment issues. Continue reading A Conversation with Clay Johnston, Inaugural Dean of Dell Medical School

Bringing Design Thinking to Health Care Innovation

By Alexander Bolt

Dell Medical School and the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin are collaborating on an innovative new project called the Design Institute for Health.

“This Institute will systematically use design and creativity to create better health outcomes at lower costs, increase value in the health care system, and improve the lives of patients and providers,” said Beto Lopez, who will serve as managing director. Continue reading Bringing Design Thinking to Health Care Innovation

Data Is the New Oil

By James McDeavitt, MD

I recently was given the opportunity to represent Baylor College of Medicine at the Association of American Medical Colleges as part of a year-long conversation on becoming a “Learning Health System”.

At the inaugural event, I heard from others around the country examples of substantive efforts to harness the power of academic medical centers to improve the care delivery system and the health of populations. Continue reading Data Is the New Oil

New Illinois #MedSchool Will Have Innovation in Its DNA

By Jennifer J. Salopek

On March 12, the board of trustees of the University of Illinois approved a new medical school for the Urbana-Champaign campus, a plan that has been under development for over a year. The proposed new school, to be known as Carle-Illinois College of Medicine, will feature unique partnerships with U of I’s College of Engineering and with Carle Health System to deliver a small niche program for physician–scientists and engineers. Students who complete the five-year curriculum will graduate with a master’s in engineering and an MD. In a series of interviews with Wing of Zock last summer, officials and experts explained their vision for the new medical school. Continue reading New Illinois #MedSchool Will Have Innovation in Its DNA