Dean's Message
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E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA
E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA
Vice President for Medical Affairs,
University of Maryland
John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean, School of Medicine



The following is a summary of my annual State of the School Address, which I presented to a standing-room-only crowd September 30, 2009. I was pleased to see some of you were there, and for those of you who were not able to attend, I wanted to share with you some of the highlights.

“Navigating and Prevailing Through Challenging Times” was the theme of my 2009 address, illustrating how the school has thrived in the face of extraordinary challenges, including the international economic crisis, early constraints in NIH funding, furloughs and hiring freezes, and space limits that threaten continued growth.

When the school leadership charted our course this past year, we had no way of knowing what the future would bring. We mapped the path to achieve ambitious goals, realizing that we may need to make modifications and adjustments along the way. We were confident that we were ready for the journey; in fact, we looked forward to the voyage ahead. However, like all medical institutions across the country we faced a storm of challenges. The national economic downturn that began about a year ago had an immediate impact on our financial well-being.

Some of the challenges that we faced included financial constraints for continued growth, state budget cuts, shrinking endowments, furloughs, a hiring freeze, difficulty in fund raising during the tough economic times, inadequate scholarship support, and, of course, space constraints for continued research growth.

However, despite these challenges, we were determined—in fact we were resolute—to maintain our momentum; so we had to reset our compass. We kept our eyes firmly on our goals, and through the use of creative navigational means, were able to chart a successful course to accomplish them and enjoyed an extraordinary year in many ways, thanks to the outstanding accomplishments of faculty, staff and students.

At a time when NIH funding remained relatively flat (excluding the stimulus funding), researchers at the school were awarded $425.8 million in grants and contracts in FY09, a 13 percent increase over FY08. The growth in research funding reflects the quality, strength, and high caliber or excellence of our research enterprise.

The continued growth in research funding helped propel the school to even higher rankings by the Association for American Medical Colleges. Among all 76 public medical schools, our school jumped from 7th to 6th place. Among all 131 private and public medical schools, the school now ranks 18th in total direct grants and contract expenditures—up from 19th place last year.

The school’s total revenue, which includes grants, tuition, state funding, faculty practice and philanthropic gifts, was $818.3 million. Fifty-two percent of total revenue comes from grants and contracts, while clinical revenue accounts for roughly 40 percent. Thanks to outstanding practice plan performance, total clinical care revenue increased 8 percent to $210 million in FY09. The school’s partnership with the University of Maryland Medical System remains very strong, and together they generated an economic impact of nearly $5 billion for the state of Maryland.

Patient care is obviously a very important part of the school’s mission. Clinical faculty provided care for over one million patients, a two percent increase over the previous year. This is truly exceptional in the current fiscal environment, and the clinical faculty deserve a great deal of credit for their outstanding performance.

Despite plummeting investment returns, philanthropic funding for the school remained strong, thanks to generous private gifts and endowments, increasing 9.5 percent to $53.8 million. These included three gifts of more than $2 million each to fund endowed professorships in radiation oncology, transplant surgery and OB/GYN. Even in light of the difficult economic times, it was the school’s best year ever for fund raising.

Slide 3Slide 4Media coverage generated by faculty accomplishments also increased. The total number of story placements rose by 13 percent to nearly 26,300; national placements rose by 12 percent to nearly 24,000; television placements rose by 36 percent to 8,000; and internet placements rose by 76 percent.

Despite tough economic times, development of the Health Sciences Facility III research building remains a priority, along with continued growth in research funding, and finding ways to leverage federal stimulus funds.

We are extremely grateful for all the successes the school has experienced this past year. We envision many challenges ahead, and since the national economic downturn continues, we have to be realistic about the future. Nevertheless, we are optimistic that our momentum will continue, and we believe that, despite the very real challenges that exist, we will prevail.

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