The July 6 Town Hall meeting provided an opportunity to discuss several subjects, including the close of the 85th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature and its impacts on UTMB. UTMB’s state funding for the next two years was cut by $15.5 million over what we received last session (about 2.7 percent). Given the state’s significant budget challenges, we did as well as could be expected, thanks to our legislative affairs team’s tireless work on UTMB’s behalf. We have a solid plan for managing the cuts, and I appreciate everyone’s ongoing efforts to be as efficient as possible in fulfilling our mission.
During the meeting, we also provided an update on the growing success of our Best Care initiative; reviewed several construction projects in Galveston and on the mainland; gave a year-end financial projection showing that our continued hard work to manage expenses and increase revenue is seeing good results; and surprised three employees with President’s Way to Go awards (WTGA) for going above and beyond their everyday job duties. If you weren’t able to attend the Town Hall meeting, you can watch the full video and a brief recap at www.utmb.edu/townhall.
Speaking of WTGA, this issue features “A Day in the Life” of Vincent Ong, a UTMB Correctional Managed Care nurse manager at the Ramsey Cluster in Rosharon. I was honored to give Mr. Ong a WTGA last year, when he demonstrated exceptional leadership evacuating employees and offenders following historic flooding of the Brazos River. Mr. Ong’s calm demeanor and willingness to step up during a time of emergency sets an example for us all.
Other stories in this issue highlighting our people are:
- A profile of Donna Sollenberger, executive vice president and chief executive officer, UTMB Health System and the newly installed chair of the America’s Essential Hospitals board of directors
- A Best Care in Action spotlight featuring the Emergency Department’s efforts to improve patient throughput and shorten length of stay
- A research study that discovered a way to increase the effectiveness of a widely used cancer drug while decreasing the risk of heart-damaging side effects
- Our School of Medicine commencement, where more than 200 degrees were conferred
- A graduating SOM student who received the highest medical student honor, the Gold-Headed Cane Award
- Tips on how to have a healthy summer by Blair Brown, registered dietitian nutritionist with UTMB’s Texas Transplant Center
- Numerous accomplishments and kudos in the Working Wonders column and throughout the newsletter
I hope you enjoy this issue, and please contact the Impact team if you have ideas for future stories.
Dr. David L. Callender