The UNC School of Medicine community came together in 2018 to brainstorm and propose goals for the school’s future and to create the Forward Together strategic plan. The plan was implemented in 2019 and it outlines a path for school to reach its goal of becoming the nation’s leading public school of medicine.
“Since the launch of Forward Together, our School of Medicine has made so many advancement across all aspects of our tripartite mission. The framework of the plan helped us to define goals and strategic imperatives, but it is the incredible work of our faculty and staff that have pushed us to where we are today,” said School of Medicine Executive Dean Cristy Page, MD, MPH.
The plan, which spans 2019 – 2024, was structured with six major imperatives, and those imperatives are research; education; diversity, equity and inclusion; faculty affairs and leadership development; service to the state and world; and administration and infrastructure. Importantly, the plan aligns with UNC-Chapel Hill’s strategic plan and vision for the University and UNC Health’s strategic plan as well.
Forward Together Successes
The School of Medicine’s research portfolio is diverse, expansive and helps the school achieve its goal of positively impacting the health of patients in North Carolina and beyond. Successes include:
- School of Medicine research funding has increased year over year, crossing the $600 million mark in 2022.
- School experts continue to provide valuable leadership and expertise related to COVID-19 research and clinical trials.
- UNC HIV Cure Center renewed for its third 5-year grant ($26.2 million) for the Collaboratory of AIDS Researchers for Eradication project.
The School of Medicine is dedicated to training future healthcare leaders and scientists who will take care of North Carolina and the world. The school’s innovative approach to medical education will help students prepare for a rapidly change healthcare environment.
- The School of Medicine’s FIRST program, an accelerated and enhanced curriculum with a focus on service to rural and underserved North Carolina communities, continues to grow.
- The Novant Charlotte campus opened in March 2022 for its first cohort of students, expanding the school’s education outreach in Western North Carolina.
- The school’s Biological & Biomedical Sciences Program has grown, on average, 20% over the past three years.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
The School of Medicine aims to create and sustain an inclusive working and learning environment for its employees and students.
- The School of Medicine’s equity infrastructure has been strengthened to include employees focused on access and success for learners from underrepresented backgrounds and for outreach across rural North Carolina.
- A range of initiatives have helped the School of Medicine better understand its equity strengths and opportunities and provided space for employees and learners to share their ideas for strengthening the school community.
- The school has provided programming on equity that is both in alignment with its accreditation requirements and its goals for sustaining and inclusive culture.
Faculty Affairs and Leadership Development
UNC School of Medicine faculty are global leaders in their fields in addition to being devoted educators, talented researchers, and caring providers. Providing opportunities for colleagues to excel in the interrelated areas of research, education and patient care is a priority for the school.
- The school created a well-being committee with representation from all of its departments, an important support system during a time when healthcare workers are experiencing unprecedented levels of stress.
- Strengthened communications pathways, development opportunities, networking opportunities and support systems for faculty across the school.
- Successfully competed for renewal of a Doris Duke Charitable Foundation grant to support physician scientists in research who are facing substantial caregiving demands at home.
Service to the State and World
The UNC School of Medicine’s service priorities extend far beyond Chapel Hill, with a focus on boosting North Carolina’s healthcare workforce, translating research into important uses for North Carolina residents, and strengthening our global citizenship through educational, clinical and research outreach.
- UNC Rural Medicine Summer Academy sessions were held to bring rising seniors and recent high school graduates to Chapel Hill to learn about career opportunities in medicine.
- More than half of the patents issued to UNC-Chapel Hill from July 2021 – July 2022 were held by School of Medicine affiliated faculty members.
- A range of Initiatives that are underway incorporate global health education for School of Medicine learners, increasing involvement and expertise in this important field.
Administration and Infrastructure
In order to achieve its goal of becoming the nation’s leading public school of medicine, operational excellence and organizational efficiency are top priorities.
- The UNC Health Foundation exceeded its philanthropy goals, raising funds that will support North Carolina’s future scientific and medical leaders for years to come.
- School of Medicine leaders swiftly adjusted a range of technological and operational functions in order for employees to work smoothly in hybrid environments.
- Roper Hall, a key facility to support the expansion of medical school class sizes, will open in 2023.
For more information on Forward Together, its imperatives, and updates on progress, please visit https://www.med.unc.edu/strategicplan.