TEAM Update: Leadership Selected

Two weeks ago, I announced a new initiative, Transformative Excellence in Academic Medicine (TEAM).  We have begun work on this initiative by gathering data, interviewing leaders within the organization, and defining a high-level plan for the transformation.  I will share more insights from this work as we progress.  As we are thinking about where we want to take the School of Medicine and SLUCare, I wanted to communicate my thoughts on why we are seeking an integrated approach across our clinical, research, and educational missions.

Each of our three missions nurtures the development of the other two.  A thriving clinical practice provides a forum for innovative research to be tested and a place for our students to learn.  Our research enriches the learning for our students and brings innovative treatment options to our patients.  Furthermore, a high-quality educational setting brings energetic students to grow our research and clinical teams, carry our mission outward as they launch their careers, and disseminate our reputation of excellence.  The synergy that happens when these three missions are aligned enriches the quality of the experience for our faculty, students, staff, and patients. It is also a defining aspect of what makes us special.  Combining that with our Jesuit values and mission to serve the most vulnerable makes us a truly unique place to work, study, teach, and deliver care.  

Prior to my joining SLU, I had a chance to see the power of an integrated approach to academic medicine firsthand.  Exposing our medical students and residents to laboratory research engaged them in both enacting didactic, scientific principles and in then applying that knowledge to patients in the hospital.  I remember my “A-Ha!” moment as I watched those same trainees show up in my operating room, ice buckets in hand, to collect human specimens for studies in the research lab. An integrated approach is the best way for us to educate our students and ready them for their careers: be that as future clinicians, researchers, or educators.  

As we move forward with TEAM, it will also be important for us to set an organizational ambition, which defines what we want to achieve and how we measure success.  A major part of that is to expand access to clinical services for the St. Louis community and to be recognized as the region’s preferred provider of exceptional, patient-centric care.  I also feel strongly that part of that ambition is to build a place that attracts people who are excited by our integrated approach and attracts patients who want to be treated by an interdisciplinary team of leading clinicians and researchers.  

As part of my commitment to be transparent with you on our progress, I wanted to share additional details on the governance model we will use to manage and drive the TEAM initiative. 

Our Steering Committee includes School of Medicine and SLUCare executive leadership and senior representatives from the University. The Steering Committee will meet regularly and set the tone and focus for the TEAM initiative, discuss options, and drive decision-making and action. The Steering Committee members are:

  • Kevin Behrns, M.D.
  • Robert Heaney, M.D.
  • Gary Whitworth
  • Eric Armbrecht, Ph.D.
  • David Heimburger

We have also recruited a Medical Advisory Council of senior physicians from various clinical and research departments.  Their role is to share the physician perspective and to provide guidance and recommendations during the process. The Advisory Council will include:

  • Oscar Cruz, M.D.
  • Dan Hoft, M.D.
  • Mary McLennan, M.D.
  • Charlene Prather, M.D.
  • Henry Randall, M.D.
  • Sameer Siddiqui, M.D.
  • Bob Wilmott, M.D.

 Finally, we have identified Project Leads who will help us marshal the resources of our organization, collect the necessary information, and help keep progress on track. The Project Leads are:

  • Yadira Hurley, M.D.
  • Ali Kosydor
  • Mickey Luna

 Additional SLUCare leaders will assist the TEAM initiative by participating in interviews and data gathering, helping to design key initiatives, and driving implementation of the recommendations.  Several leaders across the school have already met with representatives from Bain & Company, and I’m grateful for their time and assistance.  Please take the time to engage with TEAM representatives and assist as they reach out to you for support.

 Beyond these groups of TEAM representatives, we are also seeking your input for this process, as promised in my last email.  Your experiences and perceptions will be invaluable to gain an understanding of the current state of our organization.  You will receive an email from me during the next few days with a link to an online survey.  Please take a few moments to complete the survey and to use it as an opportunity to share your perspectives on our organization, our culture, and where we need to improve.  The survey is strictly anonymous, and only aggregated results will be reviewed.

 I will continue to communicate with you throughout the process and inform you about our progress.  I appreciate all that you do every day to build community around our shared values, and I look forward to relaying our findings during the next several months.

 Thank you again for your commitment to excellence!

Sincerely,

Kevin E. Behrns, M.D.
Vice President, Medical Affairs
Dean, School of Medicine