The Georgetown University Medical Center faces funding and educational challenges, Daniel D. Sedmak, executive vice president for Health Sciences, said Monday during a presentation about the state of the Medical Center.

Sedmak discussed his personal “100 days of learning,” presenting major challenges and potential strategies before opening the floor to questions from the standing room only crowd of Medical Center faculty, staff and students.

“I think we have the ability to make changes now,” Sedmak said. He joined the university this July as the executive vice president for health sciences and executive dean of the School of Medicine.

Sedmak said that the four great strengths of the Medical Center were its “academic excellence, international presence, location in the nation’s capital and its Catholic [and] Jesuit tradition.” Sedmak also stressed the student quality, the dedication and loyalty of the faculty and staff and the close proximity to national and international medical organizations.

After a brief discussion of the many strengths of the Medical Center, Sedmak proceeded into a much longer discussion of the challenges faced by the Medical Center. In general, Sedmak said that the center faces challenges in the areas of funding, improving medical education and the GUMC-MedStar partnership.

Sedmak explained the lack of funds, research space and library resources. When Sedmak brought up a slide containing the words “parking, parking, parking,” the whole auditorium broke into sympathetic laughter, illustrating the pervasiveness of the issue.

Sedmak said that the Medical Center was “very unique” since it has “very little endowment,” and he presented the plan to achieve self sufficiency for the Medical Center by fiscal year 2007. “Our [National Institutes of Health] funding has increased, but our ranking has decreased,” Sedmak said.

Using a number of graphs, Sedmak showed that the center was already far behind on its projected development revenue and planned revenue levels for 2003.

Among the ways to achieve financial stability Sedmak included increased research, creating new revenue sources and holding monthly development luncheons where staff would present their research to interested parties in order to acquire funding.

“The more you get involved with development, the better chance we have of convincing individuals that we deserve all they can give,” Sedmak said.

Referring to the scores published in the U.S. News and World Report, Sedmak expressed his approval of the performance of the School of Nursing and Health Studies but said the “College of edicine needs to make some changes.”

Sedmak said the schools are the “core of the Medical Center,” asserting that without them the Medical Center would be a purely research organization. Plans for medical education enhancement included improvements in the library resources and journals and a future $3 million clinical skills laboratory where students would practice interaction with patients.

Sedmak went on to discuss the medical center’s partnership with MedStar. In June 2000, a clinical partnership agreement was finalized which gave ownership, operation and financial responsibility of the Georgetown University clinical enterprise to edStar. Sedmak proposed a Joint Research model in which the edical Center would use resources of other MedStar-owned centers in the area.

“With the pace of social change, I think it is very impressive what we can change over the next several years,” Sedmak said.

This event was sponsored by the Georgetown University Medical Center.

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