The massive cranes rising from our Galveston campus are a vivid indicator of the robust revitalization going on around UTMB, both in our physical plant and in our efforts to fulfill our vital mission.
With the help of valued donors, state and community leaders, UT System officials, and the UTMB family of employees, faculty and students, we officially broke ground April 20 for the new $438 million Jennie Sealy Hospital (see the video), designed to promote a team-based approach to care, provide a state-of-the-art classroom for future health care professionals and offer a modern facility for patients and their families. Construction has also begun on the adjacent Clinical Services Wing, which will house critical support services for our entire inpatient complex.
The new hospital, expected to begin serving patients in 2016, is among several priorities in our $450 million Working Wonders Campaign, the most ambitious fundraising effort in UTMB’s history. Other campaign priorities include research and faculty endowments, scholarships, an inter-professional education center and additional research space.
I’m happy to report that the Working Wonders campaign is off to a remarkable start. The Sealy & Smith Foundation has committed a historic $170 million toward construction of the new hospital. The Moody Foundation of Galveston has generously pledged $25.5 million to support vital traumatic brain injury research and the intensive care complex in the new hospital. Galveston’s Harris and Eliza Kempner Fund has committed $1 million toward construction of the main concourse to connect Jennie Sealy Hospital with other patient care buildings, and The Fondren Foundation of Houston, with its $1 million gift, will name a room in an operating suite that will feature intra-operative MRI capability, which represents a major advance for our neurosurgery program.
We are deeply grateful for the leadership support from these benefactors who share our vision for improving the health of our home community, state, nation and world.
In addition, UTMB employees, faculty and students have pledged more than $4 million thus far through the Working Together Family Campaign. By investing in UTMB’s mission, all of our philanthropic partners will help us achieve a brighter, healthier future for Texas and beyond.
Another significant sign of renewal and restoration is the ongoing modernization of John Sealy Hospital, which includes the recently reopened Children’s "hospital within a hospital," the dedication of our beautiful new Comprehensive Maternity Center, renovation of our Blocker Burn Unit, and a new ground-level concourse that will connect our five core patient care facilities with attractive, bright, easy-to-navigate public corridors. And, with the reopening of the remodeled Primary Care Pavilion off Harborside Drive, about a dozen UTMB clinics are relocating from other campus sites to this convenient island facility. For more information on patient care programs, visit www.utmbhealth.com
We’re making progress on the mainland as well. UTMB’s Cancer Center, which includes a state-of-the-art tomotherapy treatment facility offering targeted radiation therapy, is now located at the Specialty Care Center at Victory Lakes. Our Breast Cancer Center recently was granted full accreditation by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers. In addition to the Multispecialty Center and Stark Diabetes Clinic in League City, mainland clinics focusing on pediatric specialty care, dermatology, sports medicine, oral surgery and ear, nose and throat care are going strong.
Amid the buzz of excavators and jack hammers, the Galveston campus is humming with the excitement of commencement season, with record-breaking numbers of graduates now pursuing their careers in the health professions.
The School of Nursing recently graduated its largest class, awarding more than 500 bachelor and master of science in nursing degrees. The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences awarded 37 doctoral degrees, 15 master’s degrees and five MD/PhD degrees during the 2012 academic year.
The School of Medicine also graduated the largest class in its history, with 234 students. This dedicated group has one other unique distinction — as first-year medical students in 2008, they overcame the challenges of Hurricane Ike to graduate on time. Their perseverance is a testament to the can-do spirit that has defined and sustained UTMB’s strong legacy of service and excellence over the past 120 years. The School of Health Professions, too, is expecting to graduate its largest class to date this month, with about 260 graduates.
Although UTMB, like all academic medical centers, faces challenges such as ongoing health reform, changes in reimbursement rates, and reductions in funding to support research and educational programs, our road ahead offers incredible opportunities. We have the right plans for the future; people who are smart, skilled and dedicated; proven innovation, flexibility and adaptability; and strong regional partnerships, all adding up to the right formula for long-term success.
We are grateful for the tremendous trust that our alumni, friends and supporters place in us, and for their recognition of the incredible return on investment UTMB provides for the people of Texas, our region, our state and the world. We encourage you to stay in touch with UTMB through our web sites and social media pages to learn about our progress in defining the future of health care for Texas and beyond.
David L. Callender, MD