For the past two years, as I have served on the Kansas Board of Regents, first as a member and now as chair, I’ve been struck by the impact many of our institutions of higher learning have on the daily lives of fellow Kansans. Nowhere is this more significant than at the Kansas University Medical Center, where countless lives are saved on a regular basis resulting from the outstanding work of the faculty physicians and others who practice academic medicine.
The strengths of this fine institution are many, and the current leadership is to be commended for boosting faculty, nearly doubling research awards and attracting private investments at record levels. Today, more Kansans are being treated by KU-educated professionals than ever before. That growth will continue as the number of medical students increases in Wichita and now in Salina, with the opening of a satellite campus there. These are all measurements of a vibrant institution. They’re also an encouraging sign for a state grappling with difficulties attracting physicians and others to rural communities.
Recently, it was announced that there will be an organizational change at the KU Medical Center, with Dr. Barbara Atkinson announcing she will step down as dean of the School of Medicine once a new dean is selected and that she will retire as executive vice chancellor in two years. This orderly transition will allow KU Med to make continued progress and ensure stability as we work toward new achievements in academic medicine, improving the health and well-being of countless fellow citizens. I have had extensive discussions with KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little about the KU Medical Center — as well as other key focus areas at KU — and can attest to the fact that steady, thoughtful consideration was at the center of this planned leadership transition.
Working together with all of our partners, the KU Med Center continues to make a positive daily impact in the lives of Kansans. Your readers should know that the leadership at KU and the Board of Regents are working hard, and working together, to make the Med Center the best it can be.