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TEAM Update: Institutes Fit Emerging Mission


Being an academic medical practice offers special opportunities to better care for our patients, advance research, and demonstrate to our students the face of the health care of tomorrow. This success story about the intersection of research and clinical care illustrates the point.

Driven to alleviate suffering, Dr. Daniela Salvemini in Pharmacology and Physiology feels an urgency in her basic science pain research because we need new non-opioid medicines to treat chronic pain. Last year, she reached out to SLUCare Ob/Gyn physicians -- Dr. Patrick Yeung, Jr., Dr. E. Cristian Campian, and Dr. Cherie LeFevre -- who treat patients who have different pain-causing medical problems. They now are collaborating on a proof-of-concept project that looks at biomarkers to predict whether certain patients might benefit from a particular treatment to research potential pain treatments of tomorrow.

Thanks, Daniela, Patrick, Cristian, and Cherie for showing us how basic scientists and clinicians can work together to advance knowledge and discovery, leveraging our strengths in academic medicine.

This type of collaboration, at the intersection of research and clinical medicine, is at the heart of our mission and values. Through our strategic work and alignment of the leadership team’s goals, we can achieve our emerging mission: “For you, we teach research-inspired, high-value, humanistic care.” This statement will be our compass as we navigate the bold changes ahead, including the decision to transform our organization from siloed departments to inter-professional institutes. With this mission guiding our actions, we will be able to make SLU School of Medicine and SLUCare  the desired destination for faculty, staff, students, and patients.

 Our Jesuit philosophy and values are the foundation of this mission. When we say “for you,” we are emphasizing the reason we come to work every day: to serve others in the spirit of servant leadership. The principle also highlights our commitment to empower people regardless of their title.  Working at SLU means we all choose to serve our patients, students, coworkers, and anyone else with whom we come in contact, every day. This is who we are, it is at the heart of our strength and distinctiveness.

 The institute model uniquely positions us to deliver our mission “for you” by enhancing our ability to serve others. We will be better able to serve our students through inter-professional teaching and experiences. We also will be better able to serve our patients by providing comprehensive, collaborative, and research-inspired care. By working together across traditional department siloes, we can unlock the full potential of our organization by using each person’s unique skills most effectively.

 In order to deliver our mission, we all share the responsibility of ensuring our transition to institutes is successful. I want all faculty and staff to feel empowered to recommend and lead changes to make our School of Medicine more patient-centric in our research, academic, and clinical work. In the spirit of servant leadership in our organization, I promise you the support to make changes that further our mission. We all are accountable for making SLU School of Medicine and SLUCare the preferred place to work, learn, and receive excellent health care.

 The health care industry is dynamic and moving quickly to new forms of delivery, contracting, and quality demands.  Our integrated approach to patient care delivery will be an advantage for our patients and our learners – students, residents and fellows.  We have a transformative opportunity to be the leader in delivering patient-centric care, and I’m energized that together, we can seize this moment as the beginning of a very bright future for the School of Medicine and SLUCare.

 Together also means respect for shared governance.  Our future depends on our amazing faculty and how well we follow the processes that engage them fully in the design of our future.  I will be seeking guidance from the School of Medicine Faculty Assembly and Faculty Senate Executive Committee to inform the engagement and consultative process.

 I am grateful for the many suggestions and ideas I have received to facilitate our successful transition to an institute model.  There is discomfort in the uncertainty as details are planned out across the organization.  We are embarking on this transition for quality and growth, as our mission compels us to do both.

 I thank you for your continued support and desire to deliver against our mission. As always, please reach out to for any questions, feedback, or comments.  Please know that sharing your concerns along with recommendations is very much welcomed.

Kevin Behrns
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