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April 2008 Issue

Executive Associate Dean and Professor of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
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Boat to Lead College of Medicine Clinical Activities

By Richard Puff
Published April 2008

As the newest member of the UC College of Medicine’s leadership team, Thomas Boat, MD, knows the stakes are high. In fact, he sees his mission as vital not just to the College of Medicine but to the entire university.

Boat was appointed executive associate dean at the College of Medicine in March by David Stern, MD, dean of the college and vice president for health affairs at UC.  Reporting directly to Stern, he will be responsible for operational oversight and strategic planning of all activities within the college’s clinical programs.

“The future of the College of Medicine and indeed the University of Cincinnati depends on success with this project,” says Boat, who stepped down in April 2007 after 14 years as chair of the pediatrics department at UC and director
of the Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

“Without a robust and highly effective clinical care effort, the research and education agendas will ultimately suffer. If we achieve our goals, research and education agendas will also be greatly benefited.”

Stern says the college is very fortunate to have Boat taking on these new responsibilities.

“Tom’s extraordinary experience with the clinical operations at Cincinnati Children’s and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, are well-known, and he has the immense respect of our faculty,” Stern says. “He’s well-suited to help us move the clinical mission of the college forward.”

Boat also will be closely involved with the UC Physicians Re-engineering Project, which aims to merge the separate clinical practice corporations into a single nonprofit tax-exempt corporation. He will be working directly with Dan Gahl, UC Physicians’ chief executive officer, and Stern, and will chair the Re-engineering Project Oversight Committee made up of UC physician leadership.

“My initial efforts will be focused on interactions with the College of Medicine medical departments to facilitate the creation of a unified clinical practice to achieve new levels of effectiveness and efficiency for the program,” says Boat.

Also, he says, “We will be putting in place the infrastructure for carrying out in the most effective way clinical trials and other clinical research that will distinguish the UC Physicians practice from other medical care services in Cincinnati and the region.”

Boat, who remains on staff at Cincinnati Children’s and as a professor of pediatrics at UC, sees collaboration as crucial to achieving those goals, both among individuals and institutions.

“Dan (Gahl) and I will be partners in planning and execution of the next phase of UC Physicians. The two of us and Dr. Stern will be in close and constant communication as we coordinate efforts across all dimensions of the College of Medicine and its clinical practice,” Boat says.

UC Physicians includes 500 specialty and subspecialty physicians on faculty at the College of Medicine.

Boat says he is optimistic about the work, but remains cognizant of the difficult job ahead.

“There are several challenges, none of which are insurmountable. Integration of the various practices and standardization of patient experiences in areas such as appointments, wait times in the clinic, communication with personal physicians, and billing will be addressed early.

“Quality of care and improvement of systems of care delivery will be addressed continuously. Another important goal will be to create a mutually beneficial working relationship with the hospital systems in which the University of Cincinnati physicians currently work and will work in the future,” Boat says.

In his experiences at Cincinnati Children’s and in North Carolina, Boat says he found that creating a shared vision is vital to achieving strategic goals.

“The ultimate goal is to achieve a clinical care program that is viewed as the destination for individuals in the Cincinnati area and indeed this part of the Midwest and Southeast, who have serious and complex medical problems,” he says.

With that goal in mind, the role of faculty and staff will be crucial, Boat says.

“Faculty and staff should understand that it will be possible to create a workplace that supports their clinical efforts fully, that provides a fun place for faculty and staff to work, and that enhances the satisfaction of both patients and caregivers.

“As we move ahead, all needs will be considered and everyone will be required to contribute. I will do my best to make sure that our vision and objectives are clearly spelled out and will work hard to make sure that a shared vision for what we must achieve and how we will succeed is known to all participants.” 

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