Chancellor Collins: UMass - A New Beginning

September 19, 2013

Following are Chancellor Michael F. Collins's remarks at the 2013 Convocation ceremony.

It was the spring of the year, but it was the autumn of his life.

With all the snow that had fallen in winter, he had hoped to be able to build a snowman with his boys. But, the simple things had become too difficult. Forget about a game of hide and seek in the living room. He couldn’t even help with the bedtime bath. No longer could he give his boys or wife a hug.

“It wasn’t supposed to be this way!”

But his was an indomitable spirit. “I am so proud of the Medical School. I am not stupid nor have I lost touch with reality, but as the moments escape from me, you are what give me hope.”

He was reassured that his team of caregivers is from UMass. He was confident that someday research would find the cure to his disease. He was comforted that we were attracting the best and the brightest to our schools. He knew that we would always care for him and his family, even if the days grew darker.

He lives in the shadow of our great institution, but each and every day the shadows dimming his life grow larger. He isn’t sure how much longer he will live. But until then, suffused with hope, we bring him dignity.

“It wasn’t supposed to be this way!”

These children face such enormous challenges. Early in their lives, things were different. Some could speak. Others could only listen. Constantly, they need the attention of their parents. Frequently, all their parents can do is suffer in silence as others cannot appreciate how difficult it is to raise their “special” child.

When the children act out, with a begging hush, the parents offer calming comfort. When their other children need attention, often they can only bargain the solace that they would be with them in a minute.

The parents lived in fear: “What would happen to my child if I was not here?”

One mother whispered, “What parent would ever say that they would want to see their child die before they did? You see, they just don’t value her! I can’t force them to give her respect. Now you know why I feel the way I do.”

“It wasn’t supposed to be this way!”

These two stories provide a great challenge to us all. But, hand in hand, we have made a difference in the lives of these folks and so many others.

The man in the first story is too weak to even think about holding hands. The young child in the second vignette is incapable of sitting still long enough to hold someone else’s hand. The hands of their family members are full with burden.

In this new signature building and in our care settings, if we reach out our hands to others, through collaboration, we can advance teaching and science. In our academic medical center, together, we can offer patient-centered care where the emotions of our hearts and the intentions of our minds can guide the work of our hands.

Hand in hand, imagine the power captured therein to teach, to investigate, to motivate and to care for others.

Together, hand in hand, we can change the course of history of disease and the practice of medicine!

It is supposed to be this way!

The New Year Begins

Good afternoon and welcome to this year’s Convocation activities. It remains a wonderful privilege to have the opportunity to stand before you and offer greetings as we begin our new academic year. This year represents a new beginning for an academic health sciences center that faces its future with optimism.

We should be optimistic!

We continue to attract outstanding students whose accomplishments bring us tremendous pride. We celebrate the great gift that is our faculty. Our staff throughout the institution leads by their example. Our campus community is an important component of a great university where collaboration has become the standard. We are centered in a region that respects what we do and supports us in our efforts to chart a bright future.

Our health system deserves to be optimistic. With Dr. Eric Dickson’s leadership and with the stewardship of the new team he is building, all of us should be optimistic that a new beginning for the health system is before us.

There is sufficient reason for there to be optimism about our future!

Look around our campus and be proud of the Sherman Center: what three years ago seemed impossible has become a reality. We occupy today the finest new medical education and research facility in American medicine. The interdisciplinary character and commitment of our curricula offer tangible evidence that we get it when it comes to the importance of inter-professional teams to the health care environment of our future.

The discoveries of our faculty have captured the attention of the world! This year, Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga participated in the first functional cure of a child with HIV. Dr. Jeanne Lawrence published what has been heralded as a landmark discovery in Down’s syndrome. These two examples and so many more bring great pride to our institution. Imagine what is yet to come!

Look at the qualifications of our incoming classes, the NCLEX results of our nursing students or the match list of those who just graduated from the School of Medicine. Take pride in the service and scholarship of our alumni. These accomplishments represent a genuine source of optimism about the future of our professions.

Our University is on the move. This year, we have attracted record numbers of students to all the undergraduate campuses. The president is gaining traction with the telling and selling of the importance of the university to the commonwealth. We received significantly greater funding in the first of a two-year plan by the commonwealth to invest in higher education. There is much greater collaboration across the university. Our credit rating is strong and we are constructing new buildings across the university to accommodate the needs of our students and faculty.

An invigorated collegial spirit continues throughout Commonwealth Medicine and MassBiologics of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Together, we care for and about those greatest in need of that caring, all the while fostering scientific inquiry at the leading edge.

As we begin this new academic year, share this optimism.

I am not Pollyannaish. I recognize that serious issues face us and the environment swirling around health care in our nation. I realize that it is much more challenging to renew grants and to receive new funding. I know that the costs of health care in academic settings are high and that we are at risk of being tiered out by some health plans. I am aware that we have serious information system and management needs. I appreciate the urgent need to chart a thoughtful course for the future if we are to be successful with our tripartite mission.

But I am optimistic because of the people who are UMass, its medical school and academic health sciences system. We have an outstanding faculty and a committed staff. We have a long-standing commitment to primary care. With our people working together, no institution has a better chance of being successful into the future. We will need to be smart about the choices we make. But, we have the intellectual capital and can commit the financial resources to succeed.

Be optimistic, for succeed we will!

Faculty Recognition

As we begin this academic year, I would like to celebrate the many accomplishments of our faculty. This university is privileged to have in its midst a dedicated and committed faculty. The heart and mind of a great university lie within its faculty. Our students are the beneficiaries of their intellect and wisdom. The broader world sees great benefits from their scholarly works and innovative discoveries.

On our campus, collegiality and collaboration abound. In our world, the good works of our faculty are without boundary.

Over this past year, we have had the good fortune to recruit 171 outstanding faculty to our campus community. The academic and clinical accomplishments that our new faculty bring to our campus will serve us well into the future. It is a delight to welcome all who are new to our faculty.

Faculty Tenured in Academic Year 2012-2013

I am especially pleased to recognize those on our faculty who have been our colleagues and who, this academic year, have received confirmation from our university that we wish them to spend the remainder of their academic careers with us.

When our university awards tenure to a faculty member, it chooses to establish a life-long academic relationship with that committed scholar. The rigorous tenure decisions, reached after much scrutiny and a most thorough process, acknowledge outstanding accomplishment in teaching, scholarship and service to our campus and the wider academic community. It is a privilege to recognize those members of our faculty who were awarded tenure this past year:

Arlene Ash, PhD
Ingolf Bach, PhD
Sharon Cantor, PhD
Paul Gardner, PhD
Haley Melikian, PhD
Evgeny Rogaev, PhD
Ann Rothstein, PhD
Jie Song, PhD

Faculty Promoted to Full Professor in Academic Year 2012-2013

We are most fortunate as an academic community to benefit from the commitment and wisdom of our full professors. These scholars serve as the leaders and mentors of our younger colleagues and as role models for our students. At this time, I would like to recognize those members of the faculty who have been recently promoted to full professor:

Carol Bova, PhD, RN, ANP
Oguz Cataltepe, MD
Anne Marie Comeau, PhD
Stephanie Hartwell, PhD (Adjunct)
David Keller, MD
Shaoguang Li, MD, PhD
Jane Lochrie, MD
Mariann Manno, MD
Kathleen Mazor, EdD
Deborah Molrine, MD, MPH
Gregory Pazour, PhD
Joel Popkin, MD
Saki Santorelli, EdD
Sara Shields, MD MS

Chancellor’s Medals

This is the fourth year at Convocation that I have the privilege to present the Chancellor’s Medals. I am pleased that recognition of our faculty has found its rightful, prominent place as we begin each academic year. Again this year, the number of nominations of deserving faculty has flourished and it has become increasingly difficult for the committees that have been charged by the provost to consider the nominations to select those members of the faculty who shall be forwarded as finalists. In each of the meetings that I had with the chairs of the nominating committees this year, I was told that there were so many deserving candidates. Repeatedly, I was wished luck as I began my process of discernment.

I was so pleased this year to see that the number of nominees increased and that there was serious consideration given to a large number of our accomplished faculty who are women. I am encouraged that each committee accepts its charge and dispatches its responsibility with due and careful deliberation. We are early in the process of faculty recognition at our campus and I realize that many members of the faculty who have been nominated have not been selected. I encourage all members of the faculty to continue to nominate deserving faculty and all those nominated, whether or not selected, to recognize the esteem in which they are held by their colleagues and by me.

Once again this year, I would like to thank Provost Flotte for his continued stewardship of this process. Further, I want to recognize the work of the four committees that were established for consideration of the nominees in teaching, scholarship, clinical care and service. I had the opportunity to meet with the chairs of each of these committees so that they could bring alive for me the thoughts, advice and counsel of their committees. For this service, I would like to express my appreciation to Dr. Susan Gagliardi, chair of the committee for Distinguished Teaching; Dr. David Harlan, chair of the committee for Distinguished Scholarship; Dr. Robert Brown, chair of the committee for Distinguished Clinical Excellence; and Dr. Julia Andrieni, chair of the committee for Distinguished Service.

It is always a joy to review the dossiers of each of the faculty members who are forwarded as finalists for my consideration. Our faculty have records of accomplishment that are most noteworthy. I am particularly encouraged by the letters I receive from their colleagues, literally from around the world, who take the time to participate in our process as they support members of our faculty who have been nominated.

As the number has increased considerably, it is not possible to recognize each nominee, but I am aware that the finalists have been notified of their recognition and requested to provide additional information to the committees considering their nomination. With time, many of these finalists will be selected. At this time, please know that all faculty nominees have my sincere appreciation for all that they have done to make our institution among the finest in academic medicine.

Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Teaching

As education remains the foundation of a university campus and teaching its cornerstone, I shall, again this year, begin the sequence of medal presentations with the Medal for Distinguished Teaching. It is a wonderful privilege to recognize an effective, spontaneous, indelible, dynamic, faithful and charismatic teacher who is viewed as a wise and enthusiastic role model and mentor. Please join me in recognizing this year’s recipient of the Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Teaching, Dr. Richard Glew!

Dr. Glew, you have been described as “an academic of the old school: a marvelous bedside clinician and a cultured mentor.” In a self-description that you have proffered, you claim that you are “older than dirt!” There may be something to these descriptions as those on which you have had great influence, those you have taught, and those who know you best have described you as “a role model like Mentor was to Odysseus’ son Telemachus” or as living by taking “Camus’ version of the myth of Sisyphus to heart [as you enjoy] pushing any rock that comes [your] way up the hill every day and [doing] it to perfection.” But neither age, nor the land, figure into the influence that Osler had on your career in medicine; as you have noted that “he who studies medicine without books sails an uncharted sea, but he who studies medicine without working with patients does not go to sea at all!”

There is no myth to the legend of your teaching excellence at our institution. It is not overstated to claim that generations of students and physicians have been influenced by your teaching. You have regaled those you teach with clinical vignettes to make your point: “there was the pugnacious motorcyclist with the limb-threatening anaerobic knuckle infection as well as the exotic differential for the respiratory complaints of [the] patient who had just honeymooned in Arizona.” You have been recognized with award after award for teaching; you have “had a profound and enduring impact on the way we teach pharmacology in the medical school curriculum;” and with your good cheer and generosity of spirit, you have given dignity and respect to and gained admiration from learners, mentees, colleagues and patients throughout your distinguished career.

Dick, in recognition for your outstanding commitment to the education of so many who have been your students, it is my privilege to invite you to present this year’s campus-wide Last Lecture, a celebration of education that we have established to recognize the importance of teaching in all that we do. It will be a privilege for all of us on campus to benefit from your generosity and become your students!

Please accept my congratulations as this year’s recipient of the Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Teaching!

Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Scholarship

At our university, scholarship holds a special place. Our faculty are replete with honors and recognition because of the esteem in which their scholarship is held. We are fortunate that the collaboration that exists throughout our faculty leads to exponential productivity amidst the fostering of a community of scholars. Given this spirit that exists, so many members of our faculty are making distinguished contributions to scientific discovery and translational research. Aware of the extraordinary contributions that one can make to the body of scientific knowledge as a nationally and internationally renowned scholar, the impact one can influence across disciplines and the acclaim that one can bring to our institution, it is a distinct privilege to recognize this year’s recipient of the Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Scholarship, Dr. Thomas Grisso.

Dr. Grisso, you have made seminal contributions to the field of forensic psychiatry and psychology. Known as “one of the world’s foremost academic forensic psychologists,” your studies have focused on two main issues: the competence of adolescents to make important decisions, specifically a juvenile’s ability to consent to treatment, as well as their competence to waive important legal rights; and the intersection of mental illness and juvenile offending, specifically the extent to which young people in the juvenile system suffer from mental health problems and the utility of implementing a brief diagnostic screening instrument on a large scale in order to identify juvenile offenders who are most in need of mental health services.

Your research has had substantial, sustained and demonstrable impact on clinical practice, juvenile justice policies and the law. Your work has stimulated thought and empirical designs used by every major researcher in these areas. You have been judged to be “the single most influential researcher across the full range of adolescent and adult legal competencies since the formal integration of the fields of law and mental health [began] in the 1970s.”

You have received continuous funding throughout your career from the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Science Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation, among others. You have published numerous books and authored noteworthy publications in high impact journals. You were a co-developer of the MacArthur Competence Assessment Tools, establishing the empirical assessment of competence in clinical and research settings. You helped to design and implement the MacArthur Violence Risk Assessment Study, the largest prospective study ever conducted on predictors of violence among persons with mental disorders. Furthermore, you developed the Massachusetts Youth Screening Inventory, now in use in over half the states, to assist with recognizing the prevalence of mental disorders among juveniles in detention while creating a simple and reliable means for identifying which juveniles require mental health treatment.

Tom, it is a great privilege to invite you to present the keynote address at this year’s Research Retreat, a fitting recognition for the recipient of this honor.

Please accept my congratulations as this year’s recipient of the Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Scholarship!

Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Clinical Excellence

The newest of the Chancellor’s medals, the medal for distinguished clinical excellence, is centered on a candidate’s excellence in clinical care during the period of the nominee’s association with our institution. Candidates for this medal should have a substantial record of clinical practice during their faculty careers, be it in medicine or nursing, and serve as role models for peers, residents and students in their provision of quality clinical care; and in their interactions with all members of the health care team. Candidates should be leaders in their communication and professional skills and be known for their humanism and advocacy for their patients. Nominees should take a scholarly approach to clinical care and through their activities, should have made a demonstrable, substantial and long-lasting contribution to improvements in clinical care in the candidate’s discipline.

This year’s recipient of the Chancellor’s Medal for Clinical Excellence is an accomplished, intellectually curious, highly respected, master clinician with a remarkable record for clinical and educational service to the medical profession and our institution, Dr. Richard Irwin.

Dr. Irwin you have been described by your patients as “the very model of a physician . . . that every doctor should try to emulate:” “professional, compassionate and caring.” You are held in their highest regard, as your “sincerity and complete dedication” to your patients has earned their trust and confidence throughout your distinguished career.

Kindness is your standard. Excellence is your expectation. Patient-centered care is your focus.

You have embraced interdisciplinary collaboration in your philosophy of care as a professor in our Graduate School of Nursing and our School of Medicine. Clearly, you recognize and promote the impact of team on the health and well-being of patients in the critical care, acute care and ambulatory settings. You are known “as the world’s foremost authority on the diagnosis and treatment of the symptom cough.” You have chaired the international committee for evidence-based guidelines on cough that has become a major resource for clinicians treating patients worldwide.

You are well known in your specialty society, The American College of Chest Physicians, having served as president and been recognized as a Master of the College. You have served as the editor of “the world’s most popular textbook on critical care medicine” and as editor-in-chief of the journal Chest. Closer to home, in service to our medical center, your “transformative vision [has been] to achieve the highest possible quality of care by standardizing patient care across diverse units with the aim that all patients [will] receive the same high quality and patient-focused care regardless of the unit to which they were admitted.”

Richard, it is a great privilege to invite you to address our first year students and their families next year at their White Coat Ceremony. This is a fitting recognition for one who has worn the white coat with dignity while recognizing the privilege in doing so.

Please accept my congratulations as this year’s recipient of the Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Clinical Excellence.

Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Service

Making demonstrable, substantial and long lasting contributions to our campus community and beyond is an exemplary commitment made by so many of our faculty. It is fitting then, that we recognize a career-long commitment of service when we celebrate the legacy of our faculty and in this instance, one faculty member who has received the acclaim of others through their commitment to such a high ideal. Please join me in recognizing this year’s recipient of the Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Service, Dr. Judith Ockene.

Dr. Ockene, throughout your distinguished career you have made substantial and sustainable contributions to the campus community as well as to the fields of behavioral medicine and wellness promotion. Over three decades, you have generously given of your time and talents to serve our institution, “contributing greatly to the success of the scientific mission.” You have been passionate about your focus on mentoring women in health, medicine and science and have been recognized for your commitment to advancing the careers of women at the medical school.

Professor, Smith Chair, chief, interim vice provost, associate vice chancellor for faculty administration, associate vice provost for gender and equity, co-chair of the Clinical Research Advisory Committee, PI and mentor have been many of the positions in which you have ably served. You have been tireless in that service. Yours will be a legacy defined by the programs and mechanisms you have helped to foster and develop in support of the professional growth and career development of our faculty.

Your distinguished service has extended beyond the borders of our campus and into our community and beyond. You have assisted numerous entities including the NIH and IOM and served as the behavioral psychologist on the United States Preventive Services Task Force. You are widely respected for your leadership in preventive medicine; health behavior; change practice and research; and for your work to establish evidence-based standards for a variety of behavioral medicine providers, from psychologists and health care providers to certified tobacco cessation counselors.

Throughout your career you have exemplified pioneering leadership for our campus community and distinguished service to your profession.

Judy, it is my privilege to invite you to carry the mace at formal university functions throughout the year. At the conclusion of today’s ceremony, I shall ask Dr. Daniel Lasser, last year’s recipient of the Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Service, to present the mace to you. As the standard bearer for our faculty, this position of prominence is well deserved for one who has given such outstanding service to our university throughout a notable career.

Please accept my congratulations as this year’s recipient of the Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Service.

Defining an Optimistic Future

As we being this academic year, it is time to look to the future and to do so with a responsible optimism. Who could have imagined, a short 43 years ago, what we have become? When 16 students entered the Shaw building and met the likes of Dean Soutter and the new faculty being assembled, only through imagination could they have visualized the impact of our medical school. As they crossed our threshold, there was concern to the east and pessimism to the west!

All the while maintaining fidelity to our mission, thousands of nurses, physicians and scientists have graduated from our campus and serve their professions here at home and across the globe. Our commonwealth has benefited from its investment in our future and our region thrives due to our commitments and presence in its midst.

But, now we cross the threshold to a new future. What is it that we envision? What can we create? What will be the legacy that defines our ambitious future?

Our recent five-year plan has completed its course and there is much to show for the determination and forethought that we exhibited when it was created. But now we look to the future of UMass Medicine as we create, with purpose and resolve, a new tapestry.

Together with Dr. Dickson and our clinical partner, we must chart the course of our 2020 Vision.

Our aspirations are motivating. As an integrated academic health sciences system, how many students will we educate into the future? What will our curricular offerings become, how will they be delivered and received by our learners and what will be the duration of the educational experience? What is the ideal size of our research enterprise and how better can we integrate our basic science and translational research efforts? How can we better integrate our expertise in population health into our education, research and care missions? How will we fulfill the clinical service needs of our region and beyond? Can our inter-professional commitments thrive and our team-based approach to education and discovery prosper? When those in need of maintaining their health or curing their disease seek our help, will we be ready and able to respond?

When a person travels over the hill in Shrewsbury, rises up Plantation Street or rounds the corner from 290 and approaches our campus, the buildings on the horizon emerge as UMass Medicine appears. Inside our walls faculty, staff and employees may feel an allegiance to one institution or another, revel in their state service or take pride in their not-for-profit health care commitment. But to all that seek our care and appreciate our inquiry and innovation, we are simply and respectfully known as UMass.

When a child with an animal bite in Mumbai is enrolled in an MBL research trial evaluating our monoclonal antibody or a family from a rural village in Liberia seeks out one of our practitioners who have traveled to serve their needs, they come to know UMass. When a disabled child is cared for by colleagues at Commonwealth Medicine or a survivor is rescued by the LifeFlight team, they are reassured that UMass is there for them. They come to believe in us and all that we have become; they look to us with heightened expectation and long to see what we can be.

As our strategic planning efforts continue this fall, an iterative and engaged process across our enterprise can embrace the needs of and be accountable to those we serve and realize the aspirations of those with whom we collaborate each and every day.

Throughout the world and close to home we are UMass; dignified and determined; principled and purposeful; respected and relied upon!

As we sharpen our vision towards 2020, there is much to define and even more for which to strive. Together, we can shed the image of the ark we have created on which there is two of everything and come together where appropriate to conserve our resources in furtherance of our mission. We limit such efforts at our own peril and to the satisfaction of those who would prefer our marginal success.

Let us engage in a meaningful exchange about what we can become. Let us not limit our imagination by an intense focus on structure at the cost of efficiency and effectiveness. Let us aspire and inspire as we rely on each other in our service to others. If we do so, our success will be without boundary.

As we do our planning and consider the educational imperatives in our future, we can be guided by the zeal and accomplishments of a dedicated teacher and motivated mentor, Dick Glew.

As we challenge ourselves to reach greater heights in research and position our enterprise to make a meaningful difference in discovery and innovation, we can model our actions on those of Tom Grisso.

As we dedicate ourselves to care for others with a patient-centered focus that emphasizes outcomes and value, we can follow the selfless example of Richard Irwin.

As we strive to create an environment where service remains our ethos and the gifts we bring to our enterprise can delineate the privilege it is to mentor others and serve our professions, we can rely on the model of good that has been prepared by Judy Ockene.

We shall create goals in teaching, research, clinical care and service, for our mission compels our vision and defines our actions.

A UMass Beginning

Shortly after Convocation last year, I met a nine-year-old Little Leaguer named Zach. Known to his friends by his age, 9, and his number, 16, Zach lived a happy life and was so looking forward to the spring of his life when baseball would dominate.

Suddenly, there was fatigue. How long would his cold last? Nothing could keep him from his field of dreams until something did!

Zach was sick. He was in our hospital. Lots of doctors came to visit. He would look with a puzzled expression as they checked on him ever so carefully. What was going on? Where’s my little brother? Why am I here? When can I go home?

“It wasn’t supposed to be this way!”

I met Zach and his parents. There was an insurance and transfer issue; concern; confusion; despair. “Could this be happening to us?” his parents asked. There were long faces and sleepless nights.

Inspired by the example of our Sidekicks program, where medical students befriend a patient in need, I came to know Zach and his parents. When the moments were dark, the texts would come. When he needed a visit, I would sneak a moment or two to say hello.

When a day pass would surface in the next spring of his life, Larry Lucchino, president of the Boston Red Sox, would graciously accept my request and introduce Zach to his favorite players. A Sox cap covered his balding head, when, as big as life, he was shown on the Jumbotron as he cheered the team on from aside the dugout.

A short visit when his bone marrow was to be aspirated. An even shorter time together when a pretty young patient captured his every attention!! Long nights; high fevers; dashed hopes.

“It wasn’t supposed to be this way!”

The baseball season was lost but not his spirit. Zach muscled through the treatments, the antibiotics and the transplant.

The texts came on coming: “We started the transplant at 12:20 today. So far, so good.”

“Dealing with the same painful mouth and throat sores, all very common, but he continues to amaze his docs with this strength.”

“+13. Sores are just about gone. He is eating and drinking with no pain. His idol came by yesterday, Jon Lester.”

“Breaking news. Unless something crazy happens, he is going home Thursday.”

“Had a bone marrow test on the 6th. First test back is clean. Waiting on further results.”

“A full week of stress waiting to hear. Very strange feelings. Was not prepared for the waiting game. Was horrible. As a parent I feel cheated to not be able to really enjoy the good news but only feel a breath of release to be able to sleep and eat again . . . Until the next bone marrow test.”

“For those of you that know I hate to fly, I would rather fly on the wing of a plane without a seatbelt than to have this feeling again.”

“Everything came back negative. Next test in six months.”

Why am I optimistic about our future? Pure and simple: I must be; we must be! Zach and millions of other people are relying on us.

Ours is a most important calling. Ours is an enormous privilege as we care for and about others.

We can deal with the uncertainty and figure out the complexities of our response to a complicated health care reform environment. We can plan, strategize and outperform. Why am I optimistic at this new beginning, because together, we are UMass Medicine.

When we do what we do best, many times there is a very happy ending.

It is supposed to be this way: I know firsthand!

As we enter the fall and a most ambitious future, please recognize how important you are to those for whom we care. Whether it is today or tomorrow; in Worcester or around the world; as a nurse, in the laboratory or during a clinic or on a ward; together, we can shape the future of medicine. For Zach’s sake, and for so many others, we must!

It is supposed to be this way!