Letters from Leadership
Despite the nail-biting drama of last month’s U.S. Supreme Court decision, the U.S. health care system already has begun to evolve in unmistakably positive ways. Rising cost and uneven access will force the federal government to demand increased value, to align financial incentives, and improve transparency. Integrated delivery systems hold the key to greater coordination and cost-efficiency. Â Our investments in patient-centered medical homes, electronic medical records, and quality/safety improvements will serve our organizations, and more importantly, our patients, well. Across the industry, there is now a self-perpetuating view of reform as necessary, even exciting, opportunity to re-imagine medicine.
Here at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), our faculty has put together a portfolio of dozens of innovative approaches that serve as a wellspring for grant proposals and community demonstration projects. We also are fortunate that one of our Department of Psychiatry faculty members, Yeates Conwell, M.D., has been selected for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Innovation Advisors Program. Yeates is one of 73 individuals from 27 States and the District of Columbia participating in the Innovation Advisors Program. These advisors will work with the CMS Innovation Center to test new models of care delivery in their own organizations and communities. They also will create partnerships to find new ideas that work and share them regionally and across the United States.
The selection of Yeates to this national role is no surprise to those aware of his incredible work on suicide prevention and mental health needs in older adults.Â That’s why I’ve also asked Yeates to head URMC’s new Office for Aging Research and Health Services (OARHS), which will bring together health service and research experts from across the institution, coordinate these efforts with community and regional partners, and act as test bed for care delivery improvements.
Here in the Finger Lakes, one out of every five people will be age 65 and older by 2025.Â Now is the time to match those emerging needs with fresh ideas that can make health care better and more sustainable. And URMC is lucky indeed to have leaders like Yeates who can identify innovations with the most potential and help adapt those new ideas for our Medical Center and the rest of the nation.
Bob Joynt, who died on April 13, was a singular person with exceptional skills in such numerous fields that his influence will be felt by many for many years.
Bob founded our Department of Neurology and built it up to the productive and influential department that it remains today. His excellent successor as chair of the department, Berch Griggs, calls Bob a role model as a chair. “He set high standards and did his best to help you meet them. He always sought the very best for each of us,” Berch has said. The current chair of the department, Steve Goldman, also calls Bob a role model and “the consummate clinician and educator, and a dear and wise friend and guide.”
Bob’s leadership made possible the integration of clinical care and academic medicine, of our Medical Center and our School of Medicine and Dentistry. Without his leadership, his fairness and his dedication to the accomplishment of this concept, we would not be the successful institution we are today.
As you will read in this issue of Rochester Medicine, Brad Berk calls Bob a “true renaissance man.” He was such a significant figure in neurology that he headed both leading societies in neurology, the American Academy of Neurology and the American Neurological Association. Bob loved science and teaching. He was involved in medical school classes and research until his last days. After a full work week, he died on his way to neurology grand rounds. Even after more than 45 years, he rarely missed grand rounds.
Bob came from a small town in Iowa but he had a large vision. His curiosity seemed endless. He enjoyed history and became an expert on health and the American presidency. He was an excellent public speaker and a fabulous teller of stories and jokes who also was well known for his parties.
In many ways, Bob was a model for a life well-lived.
I am certain there are graduates from many decades of our School of Medicine and Dentistry who remember clearly an encounter with Bob Joynt in a class room, during grand rounds or on the hospital floor that bettered them as physicians. There also are faculty members, researchers and hospital administrators who learned from Bob Joynt. And, of course, there are many patients helped by Bob’s diagnostic skills and treatment wisdom.
In this issue of Rochester Medicine, there also is an interview with Bob made just weeks before he died. He was thinking about students, the importance of taking a good patient history and research.
Last year, an endowed professorship was established in Bob’s name. I am so glad he lived to see that chair awarded to another neurologist, Karl Kieburtz.I met Bob late in his life but he was an aid to me as dean and I knew he was there and reliable if I ever needed him. Bob Joynt remains with us and still helps us in many ways – and even makes us smile.
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To view the commencement slideshow, click here »
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(Best viewed on a PC using Internet Explorer. Mac users need to have the Silverlight plug-in.)
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To view the Match Day slideshow, click here »