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December 27, 2006

Happy New Year – with a Challenge

My friends:

As 2006 draws to a close, it is, I think, appropriate to “take stock” of what’s happened, be very mindful of those friends and associates whose earthly contributions were completed, and be thankful for the good we have received, and accomplished, from and for so many!

The University of Connecticut Health Center family-its staff, faculty, students and friends are a resilient, strong, vibrant force committed to a societal good that humankind cannot get along without. Our mission is so lofty, so enabling, so important that no matter what the personal or professional aggravations, or seeming setbacks of yesterday, we consistently applied our individual and collective intelligence and skills to understand the problem, take ownership of it for the good of the whole, and not only did we craft many good solutions, but, where possible, we implemented them effectively. I thank every one most sincerely for their effort in 2006 to manage so many increasingly complex problems and circumstances. But we can do better!

The year 2007 will for sure bring new challenges some expected; some not imagined at present. That, in fact, is the beauty of life. It is the effective managing of challenges, especially in times of restricted resources or external conditions beyond our control, that distinguishes us and creates our place in history as responsible custodians and stewards of the special mission we protect and enable. What is better than discovering and teaching new biomedical knowledge? What is more rewarding than integrating new discoveries into state of the science clinical care for the vulnerable? I am convinced that collectively we have the talent and energy to move our schools, hospital and faculty practice to even higher levels of academic and clinical excellence. We must continually strive to be more efficient, more effective, and more imaginative and creative in all our individual work and system endeavors. We can do more innovative, more collaborative, more seminal research; we can help create even better students of medicine, dental medicine and graduate biomedical science; we can deliver higher quality, safer clinical care and not only return people to health and their families more quickly, but today, and more so tomorrow, we can actually prevent disease. We can also invent new and much better ways to not only do all this but we can for sure better manage all of this administratively and financially.

So in 2007 let’s adopt a new and different mindset:

  • Create new ideas and new ways to do your work better!
  • Communicate more efficiently, openly and honestly!
  • Respect and learn from the talents of your peers!
  • Value and encourage teamwork and cooperation!
  • Eliminate old concepts and prejudices!

What is not doable when good people who respect and admire each other put their collective minds together to work on the problem? Yes, we will have a few challenges – a very few, perhaps, to be solved by individual genius but most to be overcome only by the collective toil of all of us working shoulder-to-shoulder as one committed family.

I extend to each of you my most sincere wish for a Happy, Healthy, and Successful New Year. I extend the same to your family and to your friends.

Be peaceful!

Peter J. Deckers, M.D.
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean,
UConn School of Medicine