A new $50 million anonymous contribution - the largest gift in the medical center's history and the largest single philanthropic donation ever to a Dallas organization - enabled the campaign total to top $300 million in less than three years. The new total is more than twice the entire goal of UT Southwestern's last major campaign. That drive, which ended in 1995, exceeded its $150 million target by $15 million.
The record-setting gift will be used to enhance the quality of clinical care and service received by UT Southwestern's patients as well as to find treatments and cures for diseases through basic research. The goal of the Clinical Services Initiative, announced in February 2003, is to develop a system for delivering a superior medical experience for patients at the center's clinics and hospitals.
"Although the donors of this remarkable gift do not desire recognition, their wish is for the medical school to become as well known for excellent clinical care and service as it already is for its outstanding research," said Dr. Kern Wildenthal, president of UT Southwestern. "Clearly, leaders in our community are responding positively and enthusiastically to what the medical center is and what we intend to become. Their support and encouragement have enabled us to raise our sights and increase our goal so that we may put more emphasis on the clinical services portion of our campaign."
William T. Solomon, chairman of the campaign, said, "Gifts for the Clinical Services Initiative's component of the campaign will help recruit additional outstanding clinical faculty, increase their productivity with state-of-the-art technology, ensure a quality nursing staff, provide improved telephone and information systems, and support clinical research programs so patients can benefit sooner from the great discoveries being made at the school in basic science - in short to ensure that patients can get the best possible care at the medical school."
Early donations to the campaign have been used in part to facilitate the construction on the North Campus of the largest biomedical research building in the state, scheduled for completion in 2005. The recently opened Moncrief Radiation Oncology Center was also funded from campaign gifts. Funds have also enabled the recruitment of new chairs of neurology, psychiatry, cardiology, anesthesiology, radiation therapy, pediatrics and internal medicine. The Clinical Services Initiative was announced in February 2003 in conjunction with a gift of $10 million from Mr. Solomon and his wife, Gay, to endow enhanced patient services in the Division of General Internal Medicine. This and subsequent donations have helped begin the installation of a sophisticated electronic medical records system, and new human resources and clinical training directors have also been hired to facilitate patient focused training for all clinical staff.
"The extraordinary response of the donor community, along with UT Southwestern's increasing focus on patient services, prompted the decision to raise the goal of the drive," Mr. Solomon said. "Thanks to the tremendous philanthropic support we have received, UT Southwestern's doctors and scientists will be able to accelerate their work at the forefront of research and will simultaneously be able to develop a model system for the delivery of superb patient care."
Dr. John Rutherford, the medical center's vice president for clinical operations, said the expanded goal for the Clinical Services Initiative will enable the medical center to:
- Create a streamlined appointment scheduling system;
- Implement a patient-friendly telephone system;
- Expand the scope of its electronic medical records system;
- Enhance customer-service training;
- Facilitate clinical trials enrollment; and
- Establish endowments for master physicians and practice groups.
"All in all, this will permit UT Southwestern to make enormous progress in creating an unsurpassed patient-centered culture," Dr. Rutherford said. "The Clinical Services Initiative is basically about customer service. We are focusing on the fact that we are in the business of providing not only excellent care but also excellent service."
Mr. Solomon said, "The explosion of technology in health care, together with nationwide structural changes brought on by rising costs, has made it increasingly difficult for patients everywhere to navigate today's sophisticated health-care system with an experience that is humane and patient-friendly. UT Southwestern's Clinical Services Initiative is aimed at changing that by putting the patient's perspective at the forefront. We believe this initiative will provide a model for the rest of American medicine."
UT Southwestern announced the Innovations in Medicine campaign in April 2002, with the goal of attracting more of the world's leading scientists and clinicians and launching their work in Dallas, as well as supporting the efforts of those already at the medical center.
At the time of the announcement, more than $172 million in initial pledges and donations had already been raised during the "quiet phase" of the drive. A total of $30 million more was added through December 2002, and almost $100 million from more than 50 donors thus far in 2003.
In addition to the Clinical Services Initiative, priorities of the Innovations in Medicine campaign include research and clinical programs in a number of areas of special importance, including Alzheimer's and other neurological disorders; cancer; heart disease and stroke; pediatric illnesses, birth defects and inherited disorders; infectious diseases, immunology and bioterror defense; and basic genetic and molecular research, computational biology, and biotechnology.
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