Kansas City, Kan. For the first time since an affiliation was signed between Kansas University Medical Center and KU Hospital, the joint advancement board of the two operations met to plot a course into the future and look back at where the two entities have been this year.
The 55-member advancement board was conceived about three years ago to promote strategic planning and partnerships in the community. Friday, the board announced it was expanding by perhaps as many as 20 members.
The board also announced that Drue Jennings, a former interim athletic director at KU and Kansas City businessman, will step down as chair of the board and be replaced by Cheryl Jernigan.
"There are some enormous challenges facing us as a community, as medical systems and as this medical center and its campus," Jennings said. "Now the hard work is about to begin and that's why it's time for me to sit down."
Jernigan is well known in philanthropy and is a regional leader of Susan G. Komen For the Cure.
In addition to making leadership and membership changes at its semi-annual meeting, the board also sketched out its four main goals for the year. They include:
- Modifying the group's existing bylaws so it can work more efficiently and nimbly through its committees.
- Advocating for passage of the 1/8th cent sales tax that would create a Johnson County Educational Research Triangle. The triangle would help fund expansion at the KU Edwards campus, construction of a new KSU Olathe campus and the establishment of a center for cancer clinical trials in Fairway.
- Raising $4 million to help fund renovations and new faculty positions at the KU Medical Center.
- Empowering and educating board members so they can speak up when policies at the state or federal level could have a damaging effect on the academic medical center.
The Advancement Board of KU Medical Center, KU Hospital and now also KU Physicians Inc. is composed of university and Kansas City civic leaders, as well as individuals from the KU Endowment Association. In the immediate future, the goal is to increase membership to include people from across Kansas.