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SBU Medicine Task Force discusses improving revenue and expanding student clinical practice

Outside of the Stony Brook University Hospital. The Stony Brook Medicine Task Force gave preliminary recommendations during a campus conversation on Jan. 19. EMMA HARRIS/STATESMAN FILE

The Stony Brook Medicine Task Force discussed some preliminary recommendations for improving revenue streams and expanding clinical practice during a Strategic Budget Initiative campus conversation on Jan. 19.

The Medicine Task Force is responsible for identifying opportunities and making recommendations on how to achieve financial sustainability through the university’s School of Dental Medicine, School of Health Technology and Management, Renaissance School of Medicine, School of Nursing, School of Social Welfare and the university hospital and clinical partners. It is co-chaired by Aaron Sasson, the chief of the surgical oncology division and David Thanassi, the chair of the microbiology and immunology division.

“It’s important to note that healthcare is changing rapidly,” Sasson said. “And as academic medical centers, we have to learn to adapt and adjust to these changes to maintain a competitive edge and be financially sustainable.”

The task force is made up of 20 additional faculty and staff members in Stony Brook Medicine. The task force commissioned an outside review from the Merritt Hawkins Academic Advisory Council, made up of former medical school deans from across the country, to make recommendations to Stony Brook based on the success of other academic medical centers.

So far, Thanassi said that the task force has identified several points by which Stony Brook Medicine can help the budget initiative. The most crucial of these will be examined through working groups made up of non-task force members. Two of these working groups have already been established, both of which will examine how to create income for the university by providing more clinical practice opportunities to students in the health science schools.

The university has not established working groups to examine the university’s priorities for resource and financial allocation yet. Thanassi said that one of these groups will also examine the possibility of using the hospital’s reserve funds to relieve debt in different sections of the university.

Sasson also said that, when appropriate, students might be invited to participate in working groups.

He emphasized that the Medicine Task Force will be working closely with the Research and Innovation Task Force and the Academic Portfolio Task Force to foster more efficiency through shared resources and increased communication. This includes developing collaborative research between faculty on the east and west campuses.

Rosemaria Martinelli, vice president for strategic initiatives and leader of the budget initiative, said in a survey of 2,230 faculty and staff, most felt confident in the abilities of both themselves and the university’s leadership to pursue changes through the budget initiative. 

“To me, that’s powerful,” Martinelli said. “This type of project, this type of interrelated work together, really is dependent on all of us pursuing the opportunities and some of the challenges of navigating change through a collective body of community members.”

The fourth phase of the strategic budget initiative is currently scheduled to begin in March, with the final phase ending in April. Slides from Tuesday’s presentation are available here.

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