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Strategic Thoughts

By: Myron Weisfeldt, M.D.
Date: May 1, 2013

Springtime for me this year has been a busy period of strategic planning, for the dean’s strategic retreats, our department’s assessment retreat and my presentation of departmental activities to executive leadership.

Strategic planning is a very important process. The biggest issue to emerge from our last departmental retreat five years ago was a need to focus on better mentoring of young faculty, especially women. One marker of our success in meeting that need is reflected in the number of National Institutes of Health award recipients. We are the largest recipient of NIH grant support among departments of medicine. We also have had great success for men and women equally in both obtaining K awards and converting them to RO1 or major grant support. 

Our next major task is to devise means of meeting the financial challenges of the near future. NIH funding had been in decline even before sequestration, and now it’s 10 times worse. The state of Maryland has been reducing payments to hospitals for clinical services, and there’s a threat that it will be lowering physician payments in a major way. Things are likely to get worse before they get better.

I’m counting on all faculty to help out in a variety of ways. First, we need to continue our strong record of philanthropy and fundraising. To that end, each faculty member has a role in identifying people who could help support our endeavors. Nontraditional sources of funding from those who would like our expert opinions and help, along with a more effective, efficient clinical operation, will be critical. We also will likely need to have a greater concentration of faculty effort toward clinical work. Finally, we’ll be looking to cut costs and solicit faculty for big and little ways to save money without compromising the quality of health care or teaching. Together, we will ride out these challenges.

Myron Weisfeldt, M.D.
Director, Johns Hopkins Department of Medicine