The best way to deal with constrained financial resources is growth, the finalist to become chancellor of the University of Nebraska Medical Center said Friday.
Academic medical centers like UNMC are dealing with limited higher education dollars, shrinking health-care payments and declining funding for research, Dr. Jeffrey Gold told about 140 people during a presentation.
The answer, he said, is “more enrollment, a better mix of patients, more clinical services, more research grants, more philanthropy.”
Gold said UNMC “has more than enough money to do anything it would want to do. That's not the question. The question is what are you not going to do. What are you going to prioritize that you are going to get done.”
Gold now serves as chancellor and executive vice president of biosciences and health affairs and executive dean of the College of Medicine at the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio.
He is seeking to replace Dr. Harold Maurer, who has served as UNMC chancellor since 1998.
In September 2012, Maurer announced his intention to move to a fundraising role for the new UNMC cancer center by June 2013. But he remains on the job because the search for a new chancellor has taken longer than officials expected.
Four finalists have withdrawn from consideration over the past several months. Gold is the only finalist now under consideration.
Deciding what gets funded among competing education, research, clinical and infrastructure needs, he said, must be done with a clear purpose and transparency, and the decisions must be value-driven and adhere to the institution's mission.
Gold, 61, reviewed his career as a heart surgeon, professor, department chairman and academic medical center administrator, noting that he follows a 10-year model.
“Just about every decade,” he said, “I've tried to do something different. Why? Because I think challenges bring opportunities. I think it refreshes people, it refreshes organizations. I actually think challenges and changes in environment keep you young, I think they keep you sharp, thinking creatively.”
He said he is nine years into his tenure at the University of Toledo and is open to a new challenge.
Since the Thursday announcement that he was a finalist for the UNMC job, he said, he has received hundreds of emails asking him: Why Nebraska?
“Because I think that the opportunities here as I've studied them so far are unique.”
He noted that the University of Nebraska is the land grant public university in the state. The University of Toledo, he said, is a great organization on a tremendous trajectory, “but we will be in the shadow of the Ohio State University forever.”
The organizational structure that is in place at UNMC and the one that is developing at the Nebraska Medical Center “are going to uniquely position you to withstand the headwinds of dramatic change.” He added that it's “immediately apparent” that people care deeply about the institution.
Gold and his wife, Robin, an ophthalmologist, have been married for 39 years. They have two children: a 30-year-old son who works at Google in California and a 24-year-old daughter who is in medical school at Gold's alma mater, Cornell University.