Public Relations
COMMISSIONER OF HIGHER EDUCATION VISITS UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI MEDICAL CENTER ON LISTENING TOUR

7/27/2018 - Jackson, Miss.

Solving Mississippi's most pressing health challenges through education, research, outreach and patient care are the hallmarks of the state's only academic medical center. Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr., Commissioner of Higher Education, learned more about each of these aspects of the University of Mississippi Medical Center at the latest stop on the Commissioner's Listening Tour.

"While the education mission of the University of Mississippi Medical Center is very similar to all universities in the system, hospital operations are very different," said Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr., Commissioner of Higher Education. "We had enlightening conversations about this unique role in the system and the incredibly important role the medical center plays in our state. I appreciate each member of the campus community taking time to share their perspectives with me."

Dr. Rankins met with students, faculty, staff, administrators, elected officials and community members at the meetings held yesterday in Jackson.

"We were pleased to host Commissioner Rankins on our campus," said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine. "We've appreciated his support over the years and look forward to working more closely with him in his new role. He understands how unique we are within the University system and I can sense his enthusiasm for learning more about the vital role we play in the state. I am confident he'll be a key ally in supporting us as we strive for a healthier Mississippi."

During the conversations, several points that set the University of Mississippi Medical Center apart from other health care facility were discussed, including:

  • UMMC is the state's only academic medical center and includes six health science schools: medicine, nursing, dentistry, health related professions, graduate studies and pharmacy
  • Enrollment in all programs is approximately 3,000 students.
  • UMMC offers the only Level 1 Trauma Center.
  • UMMC offers the only Level 4 neonatal intensive care nursery unit.
  • UMMC offers the only organ transplant programs in the state.
  • With more than 10,000 full- and part-time employees and a $1.6 billion annual budget, UMMC represents 10 percent of the Jackson metro area economy and two percent of the state economy.

UMMC's outreach efforts were also discussed, including initiatives to connect with K-12 schools in Jackson. These include school-based clinics, programs to encourage children to choose a career in healthcare, and UMMC students serving as guest lecturers in health classes. The School of Dentistry's Dental Mission Week served 1,300 patients and provided the equivalent of $1 million of care at no charge.

The challenges of operating in today's healthcare landscape, including uncompensated care, the need to be nimble with the incredibly fast pace of change, and ensuring an adequate healthcare workforce, were also discussed, along with the need for adequate resources to fulfill all aspects of the University of Mississippi Medical Center's mission.

Participants also noted UMMC's collaborative initiatives, such as training students from institutions across the state and programs to encourage diversity in the student body.

The next stop on the tour is Jackson State University on Wednesday, August 1. Additional details on the events will be released prior to each tour stop. More information, including a survey on various aspects of the university system, is available online at the following link: www.mississippi.edu/tour.

Named Commissioner of Higher Education on March 23, 2018, Dr. Rankins began serving in this role on July 1, 2018. As Commissioner, Dr. Rankins provides leadership to the university system, including all eight public universities in Mississippi.

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

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