A bold vision for the future
A regional medical school designation would propel our vision to be the region’s most valued health care asset.
Welcome to the summer 2019 edition of Academic Matters, the e-newsletter of the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville.
Our college is planning for a monumental shift, with discussions ongoing about the feasibility of a regional medical school. The goal is to have full-time third- and fourth-year UF medical students on campus.
For many years, we have been hosting students from UF and other institutions, though they are only here on a rotating basis. A full-time designation would certainly change the nature of our college’s educational offerings. Fortunately, we have a host of talented faculty members eager to support this desired shift.
Over the past few months, we have been evaluating space on campus to accommodate additional students and house the Office of Student Affairs, which is now a separate entity from the Office of Educational Affairs.
We recently met with UF personnel from Gainesville to discuss the possibilities. A working group has been established to discuss the pros and cons of this potential move. The group will provide final recommendations in early spring 2020.
Frank Genuardi, M.D., M.P.H., associate dean for student affairs, discusses medical student education in the Student Affairs section of this newsletter.
Though we’re planning for the future, let’s not lose sight of the present. A new academic year began July 1 at the UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville. Nearly 100 new resident physicians are calling our campus home for the next few years, and we are thrilled to have them.
A few of the newcomers are training in the ophthalmology residency program, which was restarted in July following a yearslong voluntary suspension. Other residency news includes the formation of a urology training program — the latest key advancement in our college’s most recently created department.
Congratulations to chairs Darrell WuDunn, M.D., Ph.D., and K.C. Balaji, M.D., on their respective departments’ educational developments, as we widen the breadth of our college’s training catalog.
Ann-Marie Knight joined us in July as vice president of community engagement and chief diversity officer. This follows a long and distinguished career she had with the U.S. Navy and Mayo Clinic.
In her dual role at UF Health, she will partner with local and state officials, community and physician leaders and agencies to strategize on improving the long-term health of the community and reducing health disparities. She will also provide vision and leadership for the diversity, inclusion and equity efforts across our enterprise.
We provided almost $31 million in community benefits last year. Ms. Knight will strengthen those efforts and help make them more impactful for the patients and community we serve.
In department leadership news, Alan Berger, M.D., is stepping down as chair of neurology, a position he has held for 25 years. He will serve as chair through December, with plans to continue as a faculty member thereafter.
We thank Dr. Berger for his many years of leadership, as he has helped position the department as a regional leader in the neurosciences. A search for his successor will begin immediately. Meanwhile, we continue to seek candidates for the roles of senior associate dean for faculty affairs and chair of surgery. Andrew Kerwin, M.D., serves in the latter position in an interim capacity.
Our academic health center continues to work through several issues on the legislative front. Federally, our focus is on disproportionate share hospital, or DSH, funding and 340B funding.
DSH funding supports our hospital through a complicated formula that allows us to care for uninsured and underinsured patients. In the original draft of the Affordable Care Act, DSH funding was supposed to decrease over time, reflecting additional coverage and Medicaid expansion. However, since many states, including Florida, did not expand Medicaid, hospitals like ours have worked with the federal government to delay the cuts until additional models of support can be developed.
Through another complicated formula, 340B supports our ability to provide expensive medications to patients who would otherwise not be able to afford them. Unfortunately, our funding has been cut by $14 million over the past 18 months. We are working with our federal team to restore the program.
At the state level, I recently met with Gov. Ron DeSantis, his team and leaders from other teaching and safety-net hospitals in the state to readdress the Medicaid payment models. We have taken $20 million in cuts from the various state programs over the past two years. However, the good news is that our Low Income Pool, or LIP, dollars from the state will increase by $12 million this year, reflecting the volume of underserved patients we care for.
In addition, we are working with the city of Jacksonville to continue the next installment of our infrastructure support funding, which is $20 million, and increase our overall operational dollars. Those totals have been flat for the past 17 years.
Speaking of the city, this edition of Academic Matters features an article on community health, which will always remain a priority for our enterprise. Other articles highlight research developments, quality initiatives, faculty promotions and service recognitions, and the latest with our practice plan. Obstetrics and gynecology is the featured department this time around.
We hope you enjoy the summer 2019 edition of Academic Matters. The intent is for you to stay engaged and informed on the latest developments as we position ourselves to be the region’s most valued health care asset.