Chancellor's forum covers wide array of topics

by Karen Burbach, UNMC public relations | November 21, 2018

Image with caption: Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., speaks at Monday's forum at UNMC.

Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., speaks at Monday's forum at UNMC.

Monday's forum with UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., spanned a variety of topics from construction and scholarships to his preferred way of carving a Thanksgiving turkey.

In a lighthearted moment, the former surgeon quipped that the only surgery he performs these days is on the Thanksgiving turkey, where he follows the New York Times-style on how to carve a turkey.

On a more serious note, Dr. Gold noted how former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is the latest philanthropist to donate funds -- in this case, $1.8 billion to Johns Hopkins -- to ease the burden of student debt for many graduates. UNMC leaders, he said, are "thinking along those lines" and asking deans to look at what level of scholarship support it would take to make a serious dent in the cost of tuition.

Fundraising efforts continue for Munroe-Meyer Institute's planned move from its existing location on the UNMC Omaha campus to the former First Data building on Pine Street, located on the University of Nebraska at Omaha's Scott Campus. Services will begin in the new location in July 2020.

Campus leaders are discussing how the vacated MMI space could be used, including the possibility of building new bed towers for Nebraska Medicine. Harris Frankel, M.D., chief medical officer of Nebraska Medicine, said more than half of the current clinical care infrastructure is 50 years old.

Discussions regarding the development of 29-acres along Saddle Creek Road, too, have evolved. Early on, the focus was to create mixed-use property, Dr. Gold said. Now, the Med Center Development Corporation, which is responsible for all property surrounding the campus, has decided it's best to develop parcels, rather than the entire tract of land.

In other topics, Dr. Gold discussed:

  • The search for a new director of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center and the Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer to replace Ken Cowan, M.D., Ph.D., who will step down at the end of June 2019. The search will be led by co-chairs Bradley Britigan, M.D., dean of the UNMC College of Medicine, and Michael Yanney, chairman emeritus of The Burlington Capital Group LLC and a leader in Omaha's business and philanthropic communities.
  • The search for an assistant vice chancellor for inclusion for UNO and UNMC. The full-time position is open to current employees of the University of Nebraska system. If, after a predetermined length of time, an internal candidate is not found, the position will open to external candidates.
  • The importance of wellness/resilience, noting how burnout and depression exist throughout health care. Today's leaders, he said, are focused on how to make a truly supportive environment for health care providers. Anyone with ideas on how to reduce stress in the environment is encouraged to contact Dr. Gold.
  • How the Davis Global Center is taking shape and will be substantially completed by July 2019. Faculty and students, he said, already are creating educational learning tools and modules to be used within the facility and across the curriculum. Dr. Gold noted that several prominent universities have expressed interest in helping to build educational materials.
  • Finalizing renovation plans for Williams Science Hall, Wittson Hall (including the McGoogan Library) and the new Wigton Heritage Center so the project can go out for bids.
  • The recent election of two women -- Barbara Weitz and Elizabeth O'Connor -- to the NU Board of Regents and the passage of Medicaid expansion, which, he said, will have an impact on UNMC and Nebraska Medicine.
  • The recent announcement that UNMC alumnus and former faculty member Keith Olsen, Pharm.D., would serve as the next UNMC College of Pharmacy Dean. Dr. Olsen, who currently serves as dean of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Pharmacy, will begin his tenure on Jan. 7.


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