April 21, 2006
As we approach the end of the semester, our schools of medicine, nursing, and allied health professions are looking forward to joining public health, graduate studies and our basic science researchers back home in New Orleans next month. We should all take great pride in LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans leadership role in the health and educational arenas. But we should also take pride in the role we will play in the citys economic recovery and rebuilding.
The cornerstones of the successful medical centers in Houston and Birmingham, which are held up as models, are public universitiesthe University of Texas and the University of Alabama. LSU Health Sciences Center, a public university, is Louisianas flagship academic health center which had begun to build the biosciences industry pre-K. As you know, the citys first successful biopharmaceutical spin-off company St. Charles Pharmaceuticals grew out of Dr. Nicolas Bazans research labs.
It is the research enterprises at universities like ours that fuel knowledge-based economies, through faculty discoveries, advances, and inventions. The return on investment is exceptional, attracting millions of outside dollars, generating highly desirable jobs and increased tax base, prestige, and a marketable reputation that translate into a healthy economy and improved quality of life. Despite Katrinas seemingly insurmountable challenges, LSU Health Sciences Center remains a powerful economic engine, continuing to produce enormous economic impact. Many acknowledged leaders in their fields, our faculty have been awarded nearly $50 million in grants this fiscal year, and the value of our research grants and contracts currently tops more than $221 million. As New Orleans rebuilds, LSUHSC intellectual capital will help diversify the citys economy by growing a robust biosciences industry.
This morning, LSUHSC Emergency Medicine and Public Health faculty Dr. Jim Aiken, and Director of Information Services Leslie Capo, along with Tonia Aiken of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, were invited to talk about health care and health education during a 4-hour tour with Donald Powell, President Bush's Federal Coordinator of Gulf Coast Rebuilding. Chairman Powell wanted his staffers who flew in from Washington to hear from those on the ground while getting a sense of the scope of the devastation only possible by seeing it firsthand. Chairman Powell was particularly interested in graduate medical education, the results of the Match, and health care needs. Important contacts were made with those who are directing federal recovery efforts.
The American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation visited our dental school last week for a focused site visit. They met with students, faculty and administration, reviewed our facilities and visited our community clinics.
Dr. Eric Hovland, dental school dean, reports that they were very impressed with what we have been able to accomplish after Katrina. They used words like unbelievable, a miracle, and you will be better than before, in describing our academic programs. While we await completion of the process, we expect the dental school accreditation to move ahead favorably.
As more of our schools prepare to come home, we continue to work on the issue of housing. We have been identifying possible apartments for our faculty, staff, and students to rent. So far, we have located about 300 units in the range of $700-$1,250 per month. I hope to have more details for you next week.