Medicine seeks public input to future plans

The Faculty of Medicine consults the community for guidance in building the future of health care

Community feedback is the next step for the Faculty of Medicine as it puts together its strategic plan for the year 2000 and beyond, Strong Medicine: Helping Build Tomorrow's Health Care.

"We're asking community leaders to give us guidance in relating to government and the public," says Dean of Medicine John Cairns. "Our mission as a faculty is very much tied to the people of B.C. and our health-care system so we are eager to consult with this constituency."

The faculty has created a community advisory committee that represents a broad spectrum of business and labour interests and includes economist Jock Finlayson, former UBC dean of Commerce Michael Goldberg and Vancouver Hospital board member and UBC benefactor Brenda McLean.

Their feedback will be added to responses gathered last fall from the campus community, hospitals, professional associations, alumni and the biotechnology industry. The committee will continue to provide advice as the plan is implemented starting this spring.

Budget concerns, changing public expectations, opportunities to secure increased federal funding and a looming shortage of B.C. doctors and other health professionals were some of the factors that led the faculty to develop a formal vision, says Cairns. Launching the plan this year also ties in well with the faculty's 50th anniversary, he adds.

The plan contains six goals, three of which are destination goals that describe the faculty's vision of the future and three that are enabling goals or milestones on the way to the destination.

Various strategies have been identified to reach each of the goals which are supported by the values of excellence, integrity, discovery, people, learning and partnership. Destination goals are: achieving national and international leadership in education; becoming the most effective health research centre in Canada and bringing current health knowledge and skills to the service of B.C. residents.

"Achieving these goals in the face of falling resource allocations is a significant challenge," says Cairns. "But we need to lay the groundwork now so we're ready when B.C. moves ahead in taking greater responsibility for educating its future health professionals."

A key goal that will enable the vision is long-term financial stability, says Cairns. Getting Ministry of Health funding for educational activities that are directly related to the health-care system will be a crucial strategy.

Other strategies include developing operational efficiencies and a mission-based budget where only activities that contribute to the mission are funded.

Another goal is an academic health sciences network comprising the faculty, major teaching hospitals, health-related institutions and community agencies.

more information The draft strategic plan can be viewed on the faculty's Web site at