Archive for Wednesday, May 30, 2007

KU must seize Stowers opportunity

May 30, 2007


Week after week I am saddened by the strident and personal tone of the Lawrence Journal-World editorials opposing the possible affiliation agreements between the Kansas University School of Medicine, KU Hospital and St. Luke's Hospital. It is time to take an "editorial deep breath" and debate the merits of this affiliation without questioning peoples' motives or veracity.

A distinguished contingent of Kansas political, higher education, business, science and medical leaders are working to benefit Kansas patients through such an affiliation. We have no motivation to benefit St. Luke's Hospital to the detriment of KU Hospital. On behalf of the Hall Foundation our actions speak for themselves. Over the last 10 years, the foundation has contributed approximately $35 million to the KU Medical Center and approximately $12 million to KU, while over the same period it has contributed approximately $300,000 to St. Luke's Hospital.

What then is our motivation? Quite simply it is to seize the unique opportunity presented by the generosity of Jim and Virginia Stowers and the Stowers Institute to transform patient care, physician education and life science research for the benefit of mankind in general, and this region in particular.

To realize that vision, the Stowers Institute needs an outstanding academic medical center partner. That partner has been KU Medical Center, where 19 world-class Stowers researchers are currently on the faculty.

So how does St. Luke's Hospital fit into this vision and why should it be involved?

St. Luke's is committed to providing specialized cancer care. Believing they could not achieve this alone, they entered into a partnership with Research Medical Center until it was sold to a for-profit company. St. Luke's then sought affiliations outside the region with Washington University/Barnes Hospital of St. Louis, a National Cancer Institute designated and world-renowned cancer institute.

Stowers interceded at this point because it believed that if Washington University and St. Luke's reached an agreement for specialized cancer care in the Mo-Kan region it would diminish the opportunity for KUMC to receive its own National Cancer Institute designation.

NCI designation of KUMC will bring significantly more research money, help recruit world-class faculty and scientists, and provide an economic boost to the region. Most importantly it will mean the most advanced clinical care for cancer patients from throughout Kansas will be available close to home.

Political, academic and civic leadership are convinced that without an affiliation agreement that includes St. Luke's, KU Hospital and KUMC, St. Luke's will reach an agreement with Washington University. What would that mean?

A likely end to any realistic opportunity for NCI designation at KUMC. Without the prospect for NCI designation at KUMC, Stowers will seek a new academic partner outside Greater Kansas City. This turning away of Stowers would be a devastating blow to the region and to the medical center.

While the Lawrence Journal-World's editor has characterized this affiliation agreement in negative ways, we see it as one of the great opportunities in the history of the university, the medical center and for every Kansas family that has ever been touched by cancer.

It's unfortunate that the Journal-World has chosen to mischaracterize this unique opportunity to take a good institution and make it one of the elite medical centers in the country. Nonetheless, I hope the editor will realize that those who disagree with his position on this matter are doing so based upon their sincere and honest beliefs and that the debate can return to substance, not name calling.

- Bill Hall is president of the Hall Family Foundation in Kansas City, Mo.


jmadison 10 years, 9 months ago

Stowers helped bankroll the successful campaign for a constitutional amendment in Missouri which insures funding for embryonic stem cell research.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 9 months ago

Stowers has become a Frankenstein institution. Everywhere you turn to see the effects of its money you find corruption and dirty dealing. They should change the name of the joint to the Mengele Institute.

darkswan 10 years, 9 months ago

Stowers Institute is a gift of 2 Billion dollars to create a scientific research community in Kansas City. They have attracted brillaint minds from Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, Princeton, NIH London, Paris, Australia, Russia, Germany, China to come to Kansas City and establish a bioscience community to rival the greatest in the world.

Actually no one there is doing hESC research at this time, but to recruit the greatest minds in the world you have to offer them an environment that does not seek to treat them as criminals. Like reps Bartle and Lembke have done in Missori attemting to drive science out of Missouri and Kansas and replace it with fundmentalist religion in our science classes. The Hillbilly mentality will drive intelligent and caring people away from our community if you let them.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 9 months ago

I'm not hostile to scientific research and the last thing I want is for Kansas to become a backwater, but the Stowers people are sticking their fingers in a lot of very strange pies for people who are only interested in science. Maybe I'm wrong here, but I really think the folks running Stowers are going down some strange paths. Part of that is this scheme with KU Hospital and the med school and St. Lukes. What are they doing involved with that? Really a scary bunch at the top right now.

newtongirl 10 years, 9 months ago

A cancer research institute wants to collaborate with cancer-treating hospitals for teaching talent and students (including M.D./Ph.D.'s looking for internships) and it's a "scheme"? I don't get it. Especially since most of these places - compared to Stowers - have no money.

p.s. Stowers isn't technically in Kansas. It's in Missouri. Also, their stem cell research is in the mouse. If you were to go to their website and read the scientists' project descriptions, maybe you wouldn't be so afraid of them. Like was said before, to get talent from all over the world, you cannot push local political values on them. It's hard enough to get someone from Oxford to come to the middle of America in the first place. Statements like "they are not welcome in Kansas" based on being against embryonic stem cell research makes everyone in Kansas look horribly bad, further stimulating all of the po-dunk stereotypes we have to live with. Not to mention attitudes like that scaring the hell out of potential talent that would do this area a world of good.

dirkleisure 10 years, 9 months ago

The fancy dancy folks with thar fancy dancy clothes needs to takes all thar fancy dancy moneys the hekcuns outs of ours state.

We alls have no usages for thar fancy dancy moneys, especiallys nots if them alls is killin off petri dishies.

Whose will saves them petri dishes from these fancy dancy moneys folks? Usns who are real Kansans, thats whose.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 9 months ago

Before newtongirl and dirkliesure display their ignorance any further I would suggest that they read some of the many fine editorials, columns and news articles written by this newspaper concerning the KU Med School scandal that Stowers is armpit deep in.

And how silly of us to "push local political values on them", values like telling the truth, and behaving in an honest manner. How shameful that Mr. Simons would criticize them for their arrogance, deceit and dishonesty.

You two are certainly free to display your limited knowledge of this issue, and silly non-sequitors, but most of those contributing to this topic, regardless their position, actually know, thanks to all of those editorials and columns, what they're talking about.

oldgoof 10 years, 9 months ago

Uhlrick has gone manic again, making multiple posts about something he knows so little about and is so scared to actually learn about.
.. The Stowers Institute, by any measure, is a gem of national and international dimensions. And despite this, some people around here want to stick a finger in its eyes....including people like Uhlrick and perhaps the local publisher.

Every town has to have its Rubes. Ulrick certainly helps with this areas quota.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 9 months ago

Oops, forgot about oldgoof and his constant ad hominem attacks. Where are the answers to the questions I asked the other day goof? What's behind the axe you have to grind with KU Hospital? You keep telling us that you have this wealth of information, but when I ask you for it, you do a no show.

I haven't asked anyone to accept my version of the events of the day, I refer them to the well written columns, articles and editorials written by various folks at this newspaper. Are they also riding around in your imaginary black helicopters, goof?

oldgoof 10 years, 9 months ago

oldgoof believes theives run in tribes, and therefore ad hominem them attacks if you wish... is appropriate analysis. I've attempted to answer your questions before, and instead you slime me by calling me an internet predator. I don't portend to have wealth of information, but much more accurate contextual information than you obviously have, or more importantly, desire to have. The black helicoptors are yours Uhlrick, and are colored with anything smelling like Missouri for some reason. And yes, in my analysis you run with the likes of Rep. Neufeld, Sen. Wagle, and others who have a strong history of wanting to (choke,choke,choke) benefit KU. Ha!

I have no beef about the Hospital. I just believe the Hospital Authority was created to support and improve the Medical School and University. NOT vice versa. I have developed an opinion about you Uhlrick, in particular your method of debate and personal attack, since you choose to call me a predator instead of engaging in discussion like a real man, and perhaps (oh,egad) learn perhaps some answers you so say so often you seek. The potential length of those communications are not sutible for this forum.

And if you want to hang you hat on the quality of the publisher's columns???? Isn't he the one that can't even get straight who appointed whom on the Board of Regents. ......Pretty elementary, my Dear Watson. I sure his reporters were laughing with heads turned on that one. Miss AG must have been on vacation or she would have caught it.

Oldgoof is far out of town, so he doesn't check in as much. Missing Ulricks vile polemics is part of the benefit.

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