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D E A N' S  M E S S A G E

The State of the School 2001:
"Shaping the Future"

Dr. Donald E. Wilson,
MD, MACP

We can now all agree that the new millennium has arrived, and we are moving rapidly toward the bicentennial celebration of our medical school. I believe that now—more than at any other time during my tenure as dean—we hold our destiny in our own hands. If we are willing to let go of the status quo, be innovative, demand excellence and accept some risks, we can shape our future.

Faculty, Staff and Students
Our organization is diverse and increasingly complex. With the addition of orthopaedics last summer, we now have 23 academic departments, six academic programs, and four organized research centers. There were 989 full-time faculty in the school of medicine in 2000, compared to 968 in 1999. There were 3,185 applicants for our current freshman class of 142. Nationally, medical school applications decreased by nearly 4 percent, representing the 5th year in a row of decline. The number of students applying to Maryland decreased by 3 percent, reflecting the national trend. In addition, the number of men applying to medical school nationally and at Maryland has been declining over the last five years. The percentage of women in the first-year class reached a majority in 1992, and since then has averaged approximately 50 percent of the class. Last year 57 percent of our graduates selected a primary care residency, which is consistent with our five year average of 55 percent.

Finances
In FY2000, our total revenues were $382.6 million, compared to $337 million in FY1999. Research grants and contracts (at 44 percent) and practice plan income (at 28 percent) continue to provide most of our support. Tuition income (at three percent) is now actually less than what we receive from philanthropy. State appropriations represent approximately 10 percent of our budget. Over the last decade, the only real growth in inflation-adjusted dollars has been in research, clinical practice and philanthropy. So as an institution, we continue to be primarily self-supporting. When you compare our state support with some of our peer public medical schools, we still rank well below them in average funding per student. Indeed, our revenue pie chart is more typical of a private institution.

Development
As a result of the generosity of our alumni and friends, private gifts to the school of medicine increased to $21.2 million in FY2000, compared to $14.5 million in FY1999, an increase of nearly 50 percent. Thirty-eight percent of the total received was in the form of pledges and deferred gifts. Of the $13 million of cash received, $9 million went directly to departments, with only 4.4 percent of the total being unrestricted. Four million went to the dean’s office, 75 percent of which was restricted. As you can see, the vast majority of cash coming into our institution is restricted for use in programs or areas specified by the donors.

Endowed chairs and professorships are extremely helpful in recruiting and retaining outstanding faculty. Until 1992 there were only six endowed faculty positions in the school; since then we have added twelve chairs and eight professorships. In 1991, the medical school’s total endowment was $28 million. I am pleased to inform you that in 2000 the endowment exceeded $100 million.

Research
Our rising stature among the top medical schools in the country can be attributed in large part to our continued growth in research funding. External research funding reached $169.8 million in FY2000. And there has been growth in awards from all funding sources. According to the latest data available from the AAMC (1998–1999), the school of medicine ranked 24th among all 125 medical schools (up from 25th the previous year) and 9th among public medical schools. Because schools vary dramatically in the size of their faculties, a more comparative way to look at research productivity is funding per faculty member. Our clinical faculty ranked 10th in clinical research funding per faculty member for all medical schools (up from 13th in 1997–1998) and 5th in public medical schools (up from 6th in 1997–1998). Our basic science faculty ranked 32nd in research funding per faculty member in all medical schools (up from 33rd in 1997–1998) and remained at 14th in public medical schools. Currently, 50 percent of basic science faculty, 34 percent of clinical faculty, and 42 percent of allied health faculty are principal investigators on externally-funded awards. We truly have an exceptional faculty.

Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME)
One of the major achievements of 2000 was the re-accreditation of our medical school. We have undergone many changes during our 194-year history, but the founding principle of providing a high quality education has endured. A year ago the quality of our medical education program was reaffirmed by the LCME, and we were granted full re- accreditation for seven years. In the formal report, the LCME listed 18 institutional strengths and just three areas of concern—an extraordinarily favorable review.

Milestones in 2000
Our center for vaccine development will receive $20.4 million over five years from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Myron M. Levine, MD, DTPH, professor, departments of medicine and pediatrics, and director of the CVD, will lead the project to develop a safe and effective measles vaccine to reduce suffering and death from measles in developing countries. This contract is the largest single grant on an annual basis in school of medicine history.

Carol A. Tamminga, MD, professor, department of psychiatry and deputy director of the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, was named the University of Maryland Baltimore’s Founders Week 2000 Faculty Research Lecturer of the Year.

Amal Mattu, MD, assistant professor, department of surgery, was named teacher of the year for Founder’s Week 2000.

Frank M. Calia, MD, MACP, vice dean & senior associate dean for academic affairs, received the AAMC’s Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teaching Award, a national award that recognizes the significant contributions to medical education made by gifted teachers.

Moyhee Eldefrawi, PhD, professor, department of pharmacology & experimental therapeutics, was awarded a Fulbright grant to teach at the University of Alexandria in Egypt, and to do research on the impact of environmental pollution in Egypt.

William T. Carpenter, Jr., MD, professor, department of psychiatry, was awarded the 2000–2001 University System of Maryland Regents’ Faculty Award for Excellence in Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity. During the past three years he received six research grants, including a NIH Merit Award to study research ethics in schizophrenia. He also received the Lieber Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Schizophrenia Research.

This year I will celebrate my tenth year as dean of the school of medicine, a noteworthy milestone considering the average tenure for deans is three years. Being the dean of a medical school consumes one’s time 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, building a great institution requires the efforts of many individuals. It is the contributions of all of us—faculty, staff, students and alumni—that will ultimately make the difference. I encourage everyone to try to look at the big picture and not concentrate on the leaves on the trees. I leave you with these words from the great philosopher Anonymous: “The main thing is to keep the MAIN THING the main thing.” 

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