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TEAM Update: Focus Explained

As the TEAM (Transformative Excellence in Academic Medicine) program continues to progress, it is important that we celebrate our successes. So I begin this email with a story that demonstrates how putting our patients first helps us fulfill our mission.

SLUCare neurologist, Dr. Ghazala Hayat, who has been a part of SLU faculty for over 30 years, is medical director of SLU’s ALS Clinic. The ALS Clinic is a model of patient-centered care and is the only treatment facility in the state certified as a center of excellence by the ALS Association. Visits last more than two hours, with patients and family members remaining in one room, while specialists orbit around them, consulting about ways to manage all aspects of health to ensure better quality of life. On average, patients treated in this type of coordinated care model live seven to 12 months longer than those treated at a traditional doctor’s office. 

Thank you, Dr. Hayat and your colleagues at SLU’s ALS Clinic.  And thank you to all faculty and staff who live our mission, striving for excellence on a daily basis.

The TEAM program is focused on one overarching goal: to drive growth and quality in everything we do. TEAM will be bringing together the many improvement initiatives we are currently pursuing under one umbrella so we can coordinate efforts across projects, give them the resources they need, maintain accountability, and celebrate successes. 

Making all these changes won’t be immediate; in fact, I expect this to be a multi-year journey. Right now, our goal is to develop an initial set of priorities, which will include some initiatives that are already underway and add others we are in the process of identifying. We plan to share those initiatives with you in August.

One of the first areas we are examining is how to enable growth in the number of patients served by working smarter. This includes evaluating how to increase the productivity of our providers and streamline the processes and systems we use to schedule patients, coordinate visits, and bill for our services. In the culture survey we sent, there were many great ideas to improve how we schedule and see our patients.

Improving our clinical operations not only gives our patients a high-quality experience, it also generates the financial resources to fund critical investments in the future of our practice and school. These investments include funding compensation for our faculty and staff, expanding our clinical care capabilities, supporting research, and providing a high-quality experience for our trainees. In growing the practice and generating the funds for these investments, we continue the mission of personal commitment to excellence and service to others that inspires us all.

As always, thank you for your continual support and dedication to our mission and goals. Please reach out to with your comments, questions, and/or concerns.  You can also look forward to the launch of our TEAM website in early July.

Kevin E. Behrns, M.D.
Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean
Saint Louis University School of Medicine
1402 South Grand Blvd M268
St. Louis, MO 63104
Phone: 314-977-9801