As I write this, the battle for the future of healthcare reimbursement in our country rages on as the competing visions struggle to gain acceptance. One point that seems to be held in common by all is that the health care delivered should be quality health care - and that is my focus in this letter.
Education forms the foundation upon which health care is delivered. It is obvious that the quality of the former will affect the quality of the latter. At Chicago Medical School, our role is to provide an excellent foundation through an excellent education program for our current students because that education will enable those future physicians to deliver the quality health care that is expected and deserved.
Some of you may know that Chicago Medical School was founded in 1912 and, over the last hundred plus years, we have trained over 17,000 physicians who have taken care of countless numbers of patients, saved untold numbers of lives and made important discoveries to advance the understanding and treatment of disease. We have an obligation to ourselves, our alumni, our current students and, most importantly, their future patients, to not settle for anything less than excellence. The patients that our future physicians will serve deserve quality health care.
You might say that excellence is hard to define, but hopefully we can be certain of what it is not. It is not average. It is not mediocre.
Of course, no one single person can deliver an excellent education for our future physicians. Each of us has a role and each of us has skills and talents to apply in fulfilling the responsibilities of that role. Our roles are diverse, our skills and talents are diverse, we are diverse and, together, as a team, we educate future physicians. To deliver an excellent education program, then, each of us is called upon to apply our skills and talents excellently and to fulfill our responsibilities and roles in an excellent manner.
Excellence is one of our core values. When we strive for excellence, when we have excellence as our aim, then, with effort and commitment, we can achieve excellence individually and as a team. And, when done so consistently, we can be exceptional.
General George S. Patton was quoted as saying, “accept the challenges so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory”. As we, the Chicago Medical School, move forward to meet the challenges we face, I challenge each of you to be excellent. Our collective excellence will lead to the quality health care that patients deserve.