Town hall meetings consider cost cutting, revenue boosting

By LaKisha Ladson

More than 560 members of the UT Southwestern community attended campuswide town hall meetings in late April and May to offer suggestions about how the medical center might cut costs and boost revenue.

From bringing reusable coffee mugs to creating a brand identity focused on patient care, employees shared what normally might be discussed only around the office water cooler.

Surrounded by fellow employees, Marilyn Smith, administrative manager in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, offers a suggestion at a recent town hall meeting on campus.

“The ideas have been impressive, creative and thoughtful,” said John Roan, executive vice president for business affairs. “That so many people took time to attend the meetings and give good, solid ideas is another example of the caliber of people working here at UT Southwestern.”

Organizers emphasized at each meeting that despite the national economic realities and uncertainty about how much money the Legislature will appropriate, these town halls were held as a proactive measure — no layoffs or severe cutbacks are imminent.

“We’re doing this so we never have to get into those situations,” Dr. William Behrendt, vice president for human resources, said at one of the meetings. “The best medicine is prevention.”

Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, president of UT Southwestern, initiated the meetings and plans to host more town meetings in the future.

“These meetings are important in creating a culture of broader participation from people across the campus,” said Tim Doke, vice president for communications, marketing and public affairs.

The university’s cost containment committee, led by Mr. Roan, will study town hall suggestions and determine the appropriate next steps. A summary will be communicated to the entire campus as part of this process.

If you’d like to submit cost-containment or revenue-generation ideas, please e-mail Dinah Middleton at dinah.middleton@utsouthwest" title="Dinah Middleton.