Dear Friends and Colleagues:
As we start the new academic and fiscal year, I am pleased to share with you some perspectives on the state of the Medical University. There probably is no better place to start than with several recent assessments about how our faculty, staff and students feel about the university. This year, a campus survey revealed that 97% of faculty felt that they made the right decision in selecting MUSC. The same survey found that 93% of staff members were happy to be working here, and 96% of graduating students believed that they had made the right choice in attending the Medical University.
It is hard to imagine that many campuses in this country have such high satisfaction rates among all key constituent groups. While we know that there is still room for improvement, it is clear that together, those who work and study here have fostered an environment that is supportive and rewarding.
Admission to our educational programs remains highly competitive, with record numbers of applicants this year. Recently, we also learned that our medical school ranks in the top ten nationally in terms of the percentage of admitted students who chose to enroll here. At the other end of the educational process, our students in all schools excel on licensing/accreditation exams, with an overall passing rate for first-time takers of 94%.
Our research programs continue to thrive. While we do not have final numbers for the year yet, it appears that our total research funding will be at or above our record numbers last year. This success was achieved in spite of the fact that the supplementary funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ended, and through most of the year, there was much uncertainty about the appropriation levels of most federal agencies.
In the clinical arena, the demand for our services continues to be strong, with a growth in hospital discharges of about 3%. Our patient satisfaction rate is the 6th best out of 82 hospitals in the national University Healthsystem Consortium. We were recognized as one of the most improved hospitals in the country in a “Most Wired Health Care” award. As one illustrative example, our stroke telemedicine program, which was created three years ago, has provided more than 1,300 consultations to a network that now includes 15 partner hospitals throughout the state.
On the financial front, in spite of continuing declines in state appropriations, and most recently reductions in Medicaid payments, we are holding our own. Although the final audited numbers will not be known for several months, it appears that all of our units will have met their operating budgets. This is a tribute to all of our faculty and staff who are working so hard to “do more with less.”
Coming off of the successful and early completion of our capital campaign, there was the distinct possibility that our private fund-raising would dip this year. The preliminary estimates, however, reveal that once again we will have set a record in philanthropy. This support speaks volumes about the way that the Medical University is viewed within this community and beyond.
The University strategic plan, with its four emphasis areas of entrepreneurism, innovation/technology, globalization, and interprofessionalism, continues to be developed by four faculty-led working groups. Progress is being made already in several of these areas. For example, with regard to globalization, we are launching a new certificate program in global health, we have signed new partnership agreements with several institutions abroad, and the Master of Science in Clinical Research is now reaching an international audience. Many more initiatives will be launched in all four strategic areas during the coming year, and I hope that you will find ways to participate.
While much more could be written about our progress in education, research, and patient care, I have tried to share some sense of the overall momentum at the Medical University. Each year, I am awestruck by the accomplishments of our faculty and staff in what can only be described as challenging circumstances. You and your coworkers are making a huge difference, not only in this institution, but more importantly among the people that we serve. It is in that spirit that, in spite of continuing financial pressures, we are able to offer pay-for-performance increases once again this year. In the near future, each of the human resource departments will be communicating with its respective constituents about the particulars of its pay-for-performance plans.
It is with great appreciation that I thank each and every one of you for all that you do. May the coming year be one of continued success for you personally and for all of us collectively.
With best wishes,
Ray Greenberg, MD, PhD