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Dome - Meeting challenges, staying focused

December 2010

Meeting challenges, staying focused

Date: December 1, 2010

From top, Edward Miller, Ronald R. Peterson and Steve Thompson outline the state and future path of Johns Hopkins Medicine.
From top, Edward Miller, Ronald R. Peterson and Steve Thompson outline the state and future path of Johns Hopkins Medicine.

With an evolution in health care delivery about to descend, the institution’s top leaders recently offered a roadmap to the future that promises to be rewarding, bumpy and above all, vital.

During the 15th annual leadership meeting, held last month, Johns Hopkins Medicine Dean/CEO Edward Miller explained that despite the many new additions to the enterprise, the rapid growth has not only stayed true to the core mission but has been needed to ensure success well into the future. To remain strong, Miller said, we must act like a system and not like isolated parts, we must enhance our discovery engine, and we must not be complacent in our success.

The theme of staying focused on Hopkins’ time-honored mission of patient care, research and teaching while preparing for change and lower reimbursement prevailed throughout the meeting. As Miller pointed out, health care reform will require the system to grow and think in terms of access, and find better ways to deliver care at a lower cost and at the most appropriate time and place.

One example of that kind of thinking already under way is the newly launched Urban Health Residency program, which program director Lenny Feldman said aims to train primary care physicians who can provide whole-family care in underserved urban areas with a sensitivity to the issues that afflict this population.

On another front, Johns Hopkins HealthCare President Patty Brown described her group’s approach to the challenges they’re confronting as “leaning into” the mission. She cited significant financial strain being placed on Priority Partners, Hopkins’ co-owned Medicaid managed care organization, by the sudden addition of many more members resulting from health care reform. Brown said their strategy for reigning in costs is to continue concentrating on even better ways to deliver patient-centered, integrated care that’s organized around population and disease.

As for maintaining Hopkins’ long-standing mission of improving health by basing care in new discoveries, Daniel Ford, vice dean for clinical research, outlined some of today’s challenges, including more international competition, reduced NIH funding and increased difficulty of finding research participants. But he also pointed to new opportunities for Hopkins to broaden its number of clinic sites, increase the efficiency of the grants/contracts process, and enhance the public’s perception of the value of clinical research.

In summing up the day, Ronald R. Peterson, president of The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, made one point very clear: Hopkins is now managing the evolution of an academic medical center, with affiliates, to a true academic health system.

“It is our steadfast commitment to mission-driven growth,” he said, “that will perpetuate transformational medicine that benefits human kind. This is ultimately what Johns Hopkins Medicine is all about.”

To see detailed minutes of the Johns Hopkins Medicine leadership meeting, or to see video presentations of each speaker, visit

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