March 17, 2006
We celebrated Match Day yesterday in the Union Theater on the LSU campus. An exciting day for our fourth-year medical students and their families, Katrina did not blow away bunches of LSU medical graduates as the Times Picayune headlined their story. Considering the housing issues in New Orleans and the uncertainties of the recovery effort, we had a very positive match. About 90% of the number of our graduates who chose Louisiana residency programs last year will remain in-state this year to complete their training. That is remarkable. We are grateful to Governor Blanco, the Division of Administration, and the Board of Regents for helping to achieve that result by establishing the $10,000 incentive awards from federal hurricane relief funds. Not only did almost half of our graduating students choose Louisiana programs, all of our residency programs filled. Our students who did elect to go out of state matched such prestigious programs as Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Vanderbilt, and Georgetown. And many of those who chose out-of-state programs will not be gone forever. Student body president Mandy OLeary, who matched Vanderbilt, summed it up this way. Ive been involved at LSU for ten years, working here before going to medical school. Ive learned so much, and I love LSU. Its now time for me to learn the best practices at another university and then bring them back to LSU, to make it even stronger.
We applaud the Senates action in passing the Specter/Harkin amendment adding $7 billion for health and education to the Budget Resolution with overwhelming bipartisan support yesterday afternoon. Later in the day, the overall Senate Budget Resolution passed. This restoration to the 2007 NIH budget is critical to our continued ability to make the discoveries that lead to the advances that improve health and save lives.
Diana and I were delighted to attend the first fundraiser for LSUHSC outside of Louisiana last week. The Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco was the site of the Mardi Gras Evening by the Bay that raised over $240,000 for the LSU Health Sciences Center Road to Recovery campaign. The gala was chaired by Robert Kline, President of Oxford Lodging Advisory Group and Kimpton Hotels. Rob is the son of our own Dr. David Kline. His wife, Denise, organized the sold-out event. Guests enjoyed cocktails at the famous Harry Dents Starlight Room overlooking the city lights and then dinner in the ballroom spiced with music from the Zydeco Flames. The LSUHSC Foundation honored Mr. Greg Simon, President of FasterCures Foundation, for his role - along with Mr. Larry Flax, co-founder of California Pizza Kitchens, and Vice President Al Gore - in providing 2 charter planes to airlift University and Charity Hospital patients and evacuees to Tennessee five days after Katrina. FasterCures presented the LSUHSC Foundation with a $50,000 check for the Katrina Recovery Fund. LSUHSC alumni who attended included Dr. Larry Pitts, Dr. Demetri Polites, Dr. John Kwan, Dr. Richard Partys, Dr. Ralph Levin, Dr. Wes and Cathy Emison, and Dr. Elizabeth Ringrose.
I invite you to join me at our next Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, March 23rd at 5:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Pennington Conference Center, East Entrance, 2323 Kenilworth Parkway, in Baton Rouge. Ill update you on the move back to New Orleans. It will also be an opportunity for us to discuss where the Health Sciences Center is now, and where were heading. I look forward to seeing you there.