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Upstate’s strategic plan addresses 15 key objectives to propel the university forward

Upstate Medical University has announced a sweeping strategic plan that seeks to propel the university forward to greater excellence by addressing 15 key objectives aimed at increasing access, improving health outcomes, reducing health disparities and increasing the university’s reputation for excellence.

The plan also includes several key “Presidential Initiatives” that were identified early in the strategic planning process.  Work on these initiatives, which include the development of the Office of Strategic Affairs, is already under way.

Named OUR (One University Road Map) Upstate, the strategic plan impacts all aspects of university operations, from technology to financial stewardship, innovation to quality improvement. The strategic plan is available at Strategic Plan.

“This strategic plan is deliberately called a ‘One University Road Map’ because it unites us as one university and brings us together in our common purpose,” said Upstate President Danielle Laraque-Arena, MD, FAAP. “It is the road map, anchored by data, to guide us in our decision making, enabling us to respond adroitly to new opportunities, leveraging our strengths and positioning Upstate on the path to effectively improve the health of individuals and the populations we serve.”

“Most importantly, this plan addresses how we will reach our vision of being “united in expertise, compassion and hope in the creation of a healthier world for all,” Laraque-Arena said.

The 15 strategic objectives of the plan are to:

• Improve Health Outcomes

• Reduce Health Disparities

• Increase Access

• Increase Reputation for Excellence

• Improve Fiscal Responsibility and Transparency

• Improve Financial Performance

• Improve Efficiency and Accountability

• Increase Integration

• Grow Programs and Community Partnerships

• Improve Quality

• Enhance Innovation

• Optimize Technology, Facilities and Support Services

• Improve Culture of Trust

• Increase Diversity, Equity, Access and Inclusion

• Increase Workforce Satisfaction

The plan’s Presidential Initiatives, which were announced earlier this year by Laraque-Arena, include:

Development of the President’s Office of Strategic Affairs and Regional Strategy

The office will provide university wide resources and support for strategic data analysis, business development, management sciences and structured decision making to support the ongoing strategic plan, using the balanced score card, and will support the planning and implementation of the regional strategy.

Support a Comprehensive Ambulatory Care Strategy

To promote system growth with greater referrals and patient volume to increase access to primary and subspecialty care.

Foster External Relationships and Collaborations

To develop and strengthen connections and community partnerships that support the university’s mission.

Promote Cancer Integration and Network Development

To improve access, support research (clinical, translational, and basic science), foster community engagement and services to underserved areas, and build reputation.

Pursue Development of a Heart Institute

Intended to strengthen the cardiovascular services offered at Upstate. This includes expanding the existing cardiology and cardiovascular services, including the ECMO program, and also adopting new state-of-the art cardiac intervention and surgical modalities.

Build on Neurosciences Expertise

To capitalize on the current strengths of neurology, neurosurgery and psychiatry services, the Comprehensive Stroke designation and telestroke, and further integrate clinical activities and neurosciences research.

The road map also includes 12 planning initiatives, which are identified at The Plan.

The process

The strategic plan was developed with input from more than 100 individuals representing various offices and departments from across the university.  Through a series of intensive meetings, Upstate identified its strengths and challenges and the processes needed to achieve success.

The strategic planning process also produced the university’s vision with input from more than 500 individuals from across campus. The vision, “United in expertise, compassion and hope to create a healthier world for all,” emerged as a key guidepost in the development of the strategic plan.

The process was guided using the tools and methodology of the Balanced Scorecard, which seeks to frame the strategic plan by looking at the health of the university from several angles. These different viewpoints are what provide the “balance” for the entire strategic plan.

The Balanced Scorecard approach to strategic planning and performance management, developed by Harvard University, has been used by a host of organizations from various sectors, including government, industry and higher education (Cornell University, Duke University Hospital, St. Mary/Duluth Clinic Health System, Vanderbilt University Health System).

The strategic plan released April 12 represents Tier 1, university-wide objectives. Tier 2, which aligns with units and departments, and Tier 3, which aligns with an individual’s performance plan, will be implemented over the next three years. When all three tiers are fully implemented the Upstate community will see how their own work, ideas and contributions are critical to achieving the university stated goals.

“What makes this Balanced Scorecard approach so important is that the process does not stop with the creation of our plan. An essential component of the process is its focus on performance management. This plan not only shows us where we are going, but holds us accountable, and measures our success in arriving at our intended destination,” said Ramesh Sachdeva, MD, PhD, JD, MBA, senior vice president for strategic affairs and regional strategy, whose office will provide ongoing support for the plan.

Sachdeva urges the Upstate community to be fully engaged in the process by visiting the Strategic Plan website. The strategic plan will feature additional presentations throughout the year.

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