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Organizational Redesign Announced at SLU School of Medicine

Dear Faculty, Staff, Students and Clinicians,

I write to let you know about personnel decisions communicated today in the School of Medicine (SOM). These decisions are part of the Magis Operational Excellence Program’s (MOE) Organizational Redesign. As previously communicated, the SOM cost-saving initiatives were delayed because Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean Kevin Behrns, M.D., needed time to assess the SOM after joining SLU on Jan. 1.

This morning, 21 administrative and laboratory staff were informed that their positions are being eliminated. The majority of the position eliminations come as the result of a decision to close the Center for World Health and Medicine (CWHM) as of June 30, 2017.

This was not an easy decision to make, as the CWHM, its researchers and its staff have worked exclusively on drug discovery for very rare diseases. Please know our commitment to finding live-saving cures through our medical research continues on many fronts.

When the CWHM was founded in 2010, the University agreed to fund staff and operations of the Center through 2013, at which point it was expected to be self-sustaining. Since 2010, the University has subsidized CWHM operations with nearly $11 million in funding. While receiving some grants and gifts, there is no apparent path for the CWHM to be self-sustaining or reduce the significant subsidy from the University in the near term.

With many other strategic priorities for research and education programs that need funding at the School of Medicine, this decision was necessary. However, we are exploring options that would allow externally-funded research at the Center to continue in other areas of the University.

Another seven positions are being eliminated in other SOM departments at this time. All 21 of the administrators and staff will be offered the same severance package that was offered to administrators and staff members whose positions were eliminated in March. There are no faculty members involved in today’s position eliminations.

Be assured, we have worked with Human Resources and School of Medicine staff to provide the utmost care and support for those who are leaving the University; each of whom I thank for their service to the University and the School of Medicine.

Today’s decisions are separate from the ongoing Transformative Excellence in Academic Medicine (TEAM) initiative that began in late April, and will continue to examine structures, functions, and opportunities for growth and integration among our clinical, research, education and service missions in the SOM and SLUCare.


Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D.