Saint Louis University Menu Search

TEAM Update: Culture Survey Results Shared


As mentioned in a previous email, one of project TEAM’s objectives is to create a more integrated organization that will help us better serve our mission. Our future depends on collaboration. I want to share a story that demonstrates how collaboration allows us to serve our mission.

More than half of the kids who pediatrician Dr. Josh Arthur treats are from households where hunger is a significant problem that worsens during the summer, when kids can’t get free lunches at school. Josh has written prescriptions for free food and participated in the Hunger Challenge to gain a deeper and more personal understanding of hunger. He is working with fellow pediatrician Dr. Gene LaBarge and Dr. Ellen Barnidge from the College for Public Health and Social Justice to research the best way to screen young patients at risk for food insecurity. He’s trying to do something about a real problem his patients face and our society must address. Thank you Josh, Gene and Ellen, for engaging in such meaningful work that blends research with the practice of medicine. 

I would also like to take a moment to thank everyone who completed the organizational culture survey a couple months ago. Your thoughts and experiences regarding what the School of Medicine and SLUCare do well as an organization and where we must do better are invaluable in moving us forward.

 I am encouraged by the sense of mission so many expressed in the survey. You recognize the unique and defining purpose of our work: We come to serve. This shared commitment inspires all of us to drive growth and quality in everything we do. Our patients and community deserve the best quality service that can be provided anywhere.

 At the same time, I heard many of your frustrations with where we fall short. You said we need to provide reinforcements and clear consequences for good and bad behavior.  We have to do a better job of recognizing those who do an exceptional job. We must provide real-time feedback to those who are not living up to our mission-driven standards for quality and collaboration so they can adjust. As we move forward with TEAM, look for us to revisit these issues. In the meantime, I encourage those who manage and supervise colleagues to spend some time this week reflecting on how you recognize those who do an extraordinary job. Just as importantly, consider this question: How are you giving people the power to provide feedback and input so improvement in growth and quality can flourish? 

Another point expressed clearly in the survey was your desire for a major cultural change. I support and agree that change is necessary. I want to share with you below a graphic that shows what kind of culture you have told us you want. This word doodle has been created based on the actual responses from the survey. 


You identified the very values that are core to TEAM’s success. I am glad to know that you recognize our opportunity to strive beyond the status quo to transform the School of Medicine and SLUCare. We can only accomplish our goal through the collaborative, dedicated efforts of every individual. The passion for our mission and our dedication to change will dictate our success. 

 Hopefully, many of you were able to attend a SLUCare Town Hall this week, where I enjoyed the opportunity to share our vision for Project TEAM. As we discussed, TEAM focuses our work across six key areas, which are supported by our culture:  clinical quality, patient access to services, support staffing, academics/research, integrated organization, and strategic plan. The recommendations for change collected in the survey span across all of these areas.

 We are in the process of setting bold, achievable goals for our organization. With your passion and a shared vision, I have every confidence we will be able to transform the School of Medicine and SLUCare.

 Thank you for your continued support of our mission and your engagement in helping drive growth and quality to create a bright future for the School of Medicine and SLUCare. Please reach out to or visit for any questions, feedback, or comments.

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