As part of a team of UF anesthesiologists and engineers who invented the Human Patient Simulator in the 1980s, Dr. Michael L. Good’s impact on health-care education can be felt around the world. The sophisticated computerized teaching tool helped change the way a modern generation of health-care professionals is trained.
Today, Good’s impact may stay closer to home, but as the UF College of Medicine’s ninth dean, it is sure to be just as powerful as UF and Shands work to build an academic health center of national distinction.
After a nationwide search, David Guzick, MD, PhD, senior vice president for health affairs and president of the UF&Shands Health System, announced Good’s appointment Dec. 21. As interim dean for 19 months, Good gained the confidence of the medical school’s department chairs, faculty and staff and the enthusiastic support of hospital and university leadership, Guzick said.
“Mike Good is the right medical school dean at the right time for Florida,” said Guzick.
Good arrived on the UF medical campus in 1984 as an anesthesiology resident after receiving his medical degree from the University of Michigan. He joined the college faculty in 1988, and in 1994, Good became chief of anesthesiology at the Malcom Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Gainesville. Two years later he was named chief of staff and system medical director at the VA. He returned to UF and Shands in 2003 and was appointed senior associate dean for clinical affairs in 2005. He was named interim dean in May 2008.
As interim dean, Good set in motion installation of an electronic medical record system in UF faculty clinics, appointed a senior associate dean for research affairs, and filled open chair positions in neurology, surgery, neuroscience, obstetrics and gynecology, and molecular genetics and microbiology.
In a challenging fiscal environment, he fostered faculty development, including the recruitment of a nationally recognized radiation oncologist and researcher to direct the UF Shands Cancer Center and one of the nation’s leading Alzheimer’s disease researchers to lead a new research center in Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.
In addition, Good reshaped and enhanced College of Medicine support that enabled the university to receive a $26 million National Institutes of Health’s Clinical and Translational Science Award to transform laboratory discoveries into patient therapies, oversaw the transition of patient care from Shands at AGH and the Shands at UF emergency department to the Shands Cancer Hospital at UF, and worked to elevate the College of Medicine’s physician assistant program to “school” status.
He was also instrumental in development, helping raise more than $60 million in gifts and pledges during the 2008-09 academic year.
After his appointment, Good maintained momentum in 2010 — recruiting department chairs, developing the College of Medicine’s strategic plan, traveling to Tallahassee to meet with state lawmakers about medical education funding and, most importantly he said, focusing on program and faculty development.
“Patients seek care at UF and Shands because of the unique expertise of our clinical faculty,” he said. “The world looks to our scientists and research faculty for discoveries that cure disease and optimize health. And the best and brightest students come to UF for their professional education because of our talented and dedicated education faculty. It’s my job to ensure that our faculty are fully supported in their important work.”
A medical student sits down with the dean
Just one month before John Reynold “J.R.” Taylor III received his medical degree from the UF College of Medicine, the fourth-year student and academic chair for the class of 2010 sat down with Good to ask about the dean’s vision for the future of the College of Medicine.
Taylor: I’d like to start out by asking you about the big picture for UF’s College of Medicine. As we go forward in the next five to 10 years, what do you see for this college?
Good: UF is the flagship university of the state of Florida. As a medical school, we need to enter the national stage as a top-tier medical school. We do that by relentless focus on our three missions — patient care, research and education. The College of Medicine is well above average in each mission area, and we certainly have many pockets of excellence. But we do not strive to be an above average medical school; we strive to be top-tier.
Our medical education program is one of the top programs in the country. Our medical students perform exceptionally well on national board examinations and we have some 4,000 medical school graduates all over the country in primary care and specialty practices, in academic medicine, in government positions such as the Centers for Disease Control, and in hospital and health system leadership, showing us we have a well-rounded education program. We recently recruited Dr. Joseph Fantone, a national leader in medical education, from the University of Michigan, as our next senior associate dean of educational affairs (see College News), and he will oversee a thorough assessment of our medical school curriculum. Our graduate medical educational programs are very strong, but it is vital that we constantly examine our program and make improvements.
In clinical care, again, there is already excellence. We increasingly see our clinical departments ranked nationally, but we need greater focus on measured quality of care, access and patient satisfaction. Our goal is to be among the top 10 of peer hospitals in safety and quality measures. This is ambitious and will require investment in people, facilities, information technology and equipment. Our success will depend on close collaboration between the College of Medicine and Shands HealthCare as well as a stronger alliance with the other five colleges of the Health Science Center.
In research we could talk for hours about exciting discoveries being made by our faculty in areas such as cancer, neuroscience, gene therapy, diabetes, studies of aging and mobility, stem cells, and much more. But it is a similar story; when we judge our success using a common metric such as extramural funding from the National Institutes of Health, we rank in the 50s among the 130 medical schools. We are above average, but not top third, not top quartile. And that’s where we want to be.
Taylor: What is the plan for that?
Good: Our basic science programs and basic scientists are doing quite well, but our challenge is with translational science and clinical research — taking discoveries from the lab and moving them efficiently to clinics and hospitals and then into our homes and communities. We need to create new opportunities for clinical scientists and the citizens of Florida to participate in advancing patient-oriented research, and we need to create a solid academic home for such research.
Taylor: The UF Physicians clinics are making the switch to electronic medical records (EMR). Can you comment on what the initial perception is and how it’s going?
Good: Overall, well. We have nearly a dozen clinics active right now and we are adding one clinic a month. Just getting this project started and getting the first clinic activated was quite an accomplishment. Once fully implemented, the EMR will greatly enhance patient quality and safety, especially in reducing medication errors.
Taylor: I came to UF because I considered it to be the best medical school in the state of Florida, as many of my classmates did. We’ve talked about new facilities over the years. Can you give us an update on where we stand on a new medical education building, especially in light of the new medical schools opening in the state?
Good: We know that our educational facilities were built several decades ago when medical school curricula emphasized lecture halls and physical laboratories. Today’s modern medical curricula emphasize small group interdisciplinary learning, standardized patients, high-fidelity patient simulators and electronic media. It is hard to be a premier medical school in an aging home, and so we are actively working to renovate our current medical education facilities and, more importantly, our strategic plan does include a new medical education building. We have staked out the remaining footprint on the medical center campus, we have an artist rendering of building shell, and we have a concept for the programs that need to be in the building; for example, a modern state-of the-art patient simulation center with advanced learning technologies.
The reality is we are in an economic downturn, so we are looking for the capital needed to build the new education facility. Many alumni of this medical school are doing their part with a $2.5 million capital campaign called the “Alumni Challenge,” and we will continue to push this philanthropic component of the initiative. You can rest assured as soon as the economic situation improves, I will be asking others throughout the state to help us as well. But that is a couple years away.
Taylor: We talked about balance before. How do you maintain your balance while being pulled to four winds all the time?
Good: Because of the demands of the profession, balance is something all physicians are constantly addressing. My balance prescription is fairly straightforward. Work very hard, but make sure to take vacations regularly, exercise a few times each week, and actively participate in my kids’ sporting and school events. As dean it also is important to balance my time among the three college missions. And a big part of my job is helping chairs and senior associate deans develop their careers. So there is a constant need for balancing, both personal and professional.
Taylor: When you are out recruiting new faculty, what do you feel are the college’s biggest selling points?
Good: First, we have an exceptionally strong and gifted and compassionate faculty, some of whom have been here for many years and have developed national and international programs of distinction. Our college is a place where junior faculty can come to create and build programs, build their careers and be successful. Our faculty are very supportive of one another, collaboratively helping each other with research or educational efforts and taking care of each other when we or our families are ill and need health care ourselves. Our faculty are very caring people. We take care of one another.
Another unique selling point is that we have a six-college Health Science Center, a major health system, Shands HealthCare, and an impressive VA hospital all on a single medical campus, and the medical campus is located right next to the main campus of the university. This is a tremendous attraction for faculty. More and more of the great discoveries are made not by individuals, but by multidisciplinary teams, and often these teams include faculty not just from the health science colleges but from colleges such as engineering, architecture and the fine arts. There are very few academic medical centers that have all of these components geographically co-located as we do at the University of Florida.
Also, the University of Florida is a strong university with a great national reputation. People like being recruited to the state’s flagship university. And a final recruiting advantage, to be honest, is that Gainesville is a great place to live and to raise a family. A strong school system, warm climate, and numerous outdoor activities are common conversations during faculty recruitment dinners.
Taylor: We hear a lot of talk about silos — pharmacy, physical therapy, nursing. Are we doing anything here at the COM to bridge those gaps and get the connections among the silos?
Good: Because we deliver health care in teams, we should educate our students in teams. In the last few years, we have realized that we have all the ingredients here with the six colleges of the Health Science Center to create something that would really differentiate us from other medical schools and health science centers. The six deans meet regularly on our strategic planning initiative, and enhancing interdisciplinary learning is on our list of goals. Potential areas for our initial efforts include patient safety, especially in the areas of medication, communication and professionalism.
Taylor: As a lifelong baseball fan, I think about Cal Ripken and how he didn’t start out thinking he would break Lou Gehrig’s streak. Do you consider what you would like your impact to be? What would you like to shoot for?
Good: All accomplishments of the UF College of Medicine result from the efforts and success of our faculty. So supporting our faculty and making it easier for them to accomplish their goals and dreams is job one for me. If we are successful with that, then all other important objectives will follow such as achieving national leadership in specific research areas and attaining national distinction for our medical education program, which will require designing a modern curriculum and building a new education facility in the next four to five years.
Ultimately success in these areas depends on delivering outstanding patient care. That is at the core of everything we do — providing the highest quality and most compassionate care for our patients and community. When I hand the baton to the next dean, I would like to be able to say we accomplished these things together.