UTMB Faculty Senate Minutes

June 8, 2020


The meeting was called to order at 4:30 pm by Dr. Nikos Vasilakis, Faculty Senate Chair

Update – Dr. Ben Raimer, President ad interim

Financial Issues we had some time to address them, we brought patients back to our clinics, in May with an adjusted margin $2.3 million, about $5 million better than we expected, YTD our losses are still quite significant, but we are moving in the right direction now. Before COVID, we were projecting a loss of about $24.6 million and our actual loss stands right now at 58.5 million, so we are still in a significant deficit, but so are all hospitals right now we are heading in the right direction for recovery. As we move into our final quarter of the year, we are going to hold on to the belief that we will recover significant portions of our budget, particularly with the things we have put in place and continuing to do so. Working with Galveston County and the State Health Departments and our practices are indeed best practices and the kind that aspire others to follow, 8-in-8 vacation are helping significantly, we have suspended all incentive and at risk payments for all executives, except for faculty that have certain incentive built into their contracts. COVID recovery fund which is up to $85,000 and $35,000 from philanthropic gifts, we are grateful for; currently we on a hiring freeze, but some positions are reviewed example, if they are grant funded. We are currently exploring options in distance education, throughout the summer and part of the fall semester, and many of you have made extraordinary effort to with limited help to learn the technology to place your courses online. The Provost and I will make sure that the faculty have the resources they need for your online course development. Childcare efforts were received but not very people taking up the daycare, most taking care of their own arrangements or working from home. We will continue to look at this issue, on a as need basis. The former childcare center building, OSLER lifelong learning programs will be going into this building, since they have lost their lease and will be convenient for our OT and PT programs and geriatric programs. We are also working HR to provide support your love ones with COVID or other illnesses, please check their home page for more information, https://hr.utmb.edu/. As of May 1st, we had record breaking 3340 students enrolled in fall 2019, 45% increase since 2018, the HEC opening was more than successful. We have a good match with 62% students elected to stay in Texas, 132 matched in Texas, 39 matched in UTMB, 73 students matched in UT System and 103 matched into primary care and we are proud. Our students played an active role with helping UTMB during this COVID as volunteers, as well as painted the St. Vincent’s Clinic which got a fresh look and also received new equipment. We did open the Center for Violence prevention, led by Dr. Temple, and two new faculty members have already submitted and has been awarded NIH grants, extraordinary news, gold standard for us.     Research, we had over 80 COVID applications research activities, about $37 million, 20 of those were funded. Dr. Laposata and team, working with GNL, Dr. LeDuc and Dr. Pyles are working on 5 diagnostic tests for COVID, and UTMB now has provided testing for Galveston County and also we are accountable for a large percent for the state of Texas. 60 beds opened early and have patients in League City Hospital. Clear Lake Hospital is bigger and better than before, and last month was our busiest ever. Our faculty is working hand-in-hand with our community physicians there. Dr. Susan McLellan’s Rendasavair clinical trial was successful, more on this later. The COVID numbers are going back up. COVID is here and we can take care of our other patients and our COVID patients are isolated at UTMB and TDCJ. Philanthropic, The Moody Foundation Board has given a gift to Dr. Kan, our new neurosurgeon chair and we look forward to his arrival soon. The HEC fundraising is complete and a new campaign will start soon for faculty development and faculty research. The Sealy and Smith Foundation awarded us with $3.35 million research fight for COVID. The last few weeks we have been challenged and it is good to see UTMB employees at their finest and are proud of us. We need to come together to advocate for individuals who do not have equal rights in our systems. We need to get serious at what we do to promote diversity, more than what we have now. We can always do better to foster faculty diversity, you will be seeing information forth coming information from your Provost and I.

COVID-19 Impact, across the missions – Tilly Clark, Employee Advisory Council (EAC) Consultant (www.utmb.edu/eac Academic Enterprise, Correctional Managed Care, Hospitals and Clinics and Institutional Support)

Tilly stated that the EAC has a member part of the incident command and responds with any issues that they may have received. Do what is right is their motto. Issues that they have dealt with are: daycare, supply chain delivery, new COVID procedures, telecommunications, 8-in-8. Marketing and Communication and the EAC work together. Burnout issues, anyone contacting them, they would provide the resources. They handed out water bottles and Heroes t-shirts, to celebrate our successes and that we are all in this together. Employees have 3 concerns and they are hurricane preparedness, lay-offs and telecommuting. For telecommuting, we ask that the managers talk to all of their employees and address any specific needs. We need to develop a new normal and learn how to adjust our professional and private lives into it. Be resilient and prepare for our challenges ahead of us. Telecommunication survey was sent out, are there any initials results from this? There was a two-week deadline, no results as of yet.

Chair comments and Senate Discussion – Dr. Vasilakis

Racism, we need to think about how we can improve. Dr. Dacso indicated a letter went out to the students and will forward to the Senators. Dr. Mouton stated this is a matter that we need to address and to reach out across the entire UTMB family with tangible strategies. Discuss issues prepare plan and put into policies. We need a set of metrics to monitor to see improvement. Dr. Torres is the Chief Diversity Officer and stated that he was a former Senator and set forth a resolution in 2017.

Dr. Vasilakis closed with this asking for the Committees to meet via Teams, Skype, etc and have some reports for July.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:03 PM.