The College of Medicine’s new research leaders took to the stage Monday, Dec. 9, to share their plans and aspirations for research.
Melanie Cushion, PhD, senior associate dean for research, and Christopher Lindsell, PhD, associate dean for clinical research and vice president for research at UC Health, spoke to a crowd in Kresge Auditorium at the second of the 2013–14 series of talks by the college’s senior leadership.
A theme of teamwork emerged as the two shared the stage and took turns highlighting the college’s research vision and strategy.
"Silos of the past have diminishing returns, while teams of the future are reaping the rewards of co-creation,” said Cushion.
Solving the most challenging health and wellness problems through research was the mission outlined by Cushion and Lindsell, and they aspire to do this through:
- Creation of impactful and sustainable biomedical research programs.
- Formation of passionate teams that are innovating and creating with mutual respect and esprit de corps.
- Becoming a destination for clinical trials.
- Harnessing "big data.”
- Becoming an interprofessional research community.
Cushion and Lindsell outlined five key strategies for achieving research success and called upon the audience to "re-think” organizational structure and environment.
Their five strategies—make it easy, make it fun, make it rewarding, talk about it and water it—have been designed to address the complexities and opportunities faced today in health care research.
"While opportunity means work,” Lindsell said, "we need strategies to help us work smarter, not harder.”
New in 2014 will be:
- Regular breakfast input sessions with Cushion, Lindsell and the new senior associate dean for faculty affairs and faculty development, Alex Lentsch, PhD.
- Programs with UC Health to spark comparative effectiveness research.
- Entrepreneurial workshops to introduce faculty to available commercialization support.
- A research service and success awards program.
- A revamped research section on the College of Medicine website with the inclusion of electronic feedback opportunities.
Cushion also asked the college to consider adapting lessons from corporate America and innovative companies that have invested in perks designed to encourage collaboration and facilitate serendipitous interactions as well as intended ones.
"Let’s take the best of these lessons and re-imagine our space; regroup our faculty in functional groups for rapid assemblies of expertise,” said Cushion.
"We do not have to remain prisoners of outdated structures.”
Using "big data” also has implications for the "work smarter, not harder,” mindset—but even more important, said Lindsell, is its potential for the patients we serve.
"We want to live not in an evidence-based health system, but in an evidence-generating health system,” said Lindsell. "We want to be able to use the health care information that we have, and combine it with the biological data we have, to make great decisions for our patients.”
The research talk by Cushion and Lindsell followed the Oct. 29 presentation by Thomas Boat, MD, dean of the College of Medicine and UC vice president for health affairs, in which he discussed the impact of change, opportunities and reasons for celebration.
Presentations by the other senior associate deans of the College of Medicine will be made in 2014. Talks already scheduled include those by Lori Mackey (operations and finance), Feb. 11; Andrew Filak Jr., MD (academic affairs), March 11; and Lentsch (faculty development), April 7. All presentations will be held in Kresge Auditorium and begin at 12:15 p.m.
Watch the complete College of Medicine research presentation.