Town hall meetings generate ideas on strategic initiatives

A standing-room-only crowd attended the third Town Hall meeting on the UT Southwestern Strategic Initiatives held Oct. 29 in a McDermott Plaza lecture hall. Moderated by Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, president of UT Southwestern, the meeting was held to discuss the recommendations of the four task forces charged last summer with developing plans for priorities related to Quality Improvement, Health Policy and Health Services Research, Faculty Diversity and Development, and Information Technology.

Mark Minges, contracts subject matter expert in the Office of Administration Systems, directs a question to Kirk Kirksey, vice president for information resources.

Following brief reports by the task force chairs — Dr. Steven Leach, chief medical officer for UT Southwestern University Hospitals; Dr. Ethan Halm, chief of the William T. and Gay F. Solomon Division of Internal Medicine, Dr. Byron Cryer, associate dean for minority affairs; and Kirk Kirksey, vice president for information resources – there was a lively exchange as members of the campus community asked questions and expressed their views.

Key issues covered included:

  • The importance of undertaking a quality improvement initiative that would be headed by a newly appointed chief quality officer;
  • The educational, research and clinical value of creating a stronger program in Health Policy and Health Services Research at UT Southwestern;
  • The multiple and interconnected paths toward increasing faculty diversity; and
  • Information technology initiatives that range from converting from Novell Groupwise to Microsoft Outlook, to adding genetic data to electronic medical records, to creating the highest quality computing package for the research community.
Chrysalis Web SiteYou may review the recommendations, provide feedback or watch the Town Hall meeting video clips by visiting the Chrysalis Electronic Forum Web site at You will be asked to enter your mednet user name and password. If you are logging in from off-campus, you will need to authenticate via VPN first. Once inside, you will see an area on the left labeled “For Public Review” where you will find the membership roster, charge and draft report for each Task Force. You can submit comments by clicking on the “Feedback” link at the bottom of the “For Public Review” section.

Strong support was expressed for many of the recommendations put forward by these four groups, as well as those of the Clinical Transformation Project Group, whose recommendations were the focus of the two previous Town Hall sessions.

“Our success in achieving our goals is fundamentally dependent on broad, campuswide understanding and support of our strategic priorities,” Dr. Podolsky said, noting with pleasure the extensive participation through attendance at the town meetings, the more than 2,000 visits to the material on the Chrysalis Web site, and the many e-mail comments that have been sent by those who have accessed the site.

This feedback will be taken into account as task force reports are finalized and implementation plans are developed and added to the material already on Chrysalis.

Dr. Podolsky plans to update the campus on a regular basis as these strategic efforts go forward.