Recommendation to the Board of Trustees on the Location of the Evansville Health Sciences Campus
April 11, 2014
Introduction And Recognition of Academic Partners
Thank you Chairman Eskew.
First, let me express, on behalf of Indiana University, our gratitude to the institutions with which we have partnered since 2012 in the planning for this expanded medical education campus in Evansville. The leaders of the IU School of Medicine, the University of Southern Indiana, the University of Evansville, and Ivy Tech Community College had the vision to recognize the needs of the Evansville region and to work collaboratively, with each institution drawing upon its particular strengths, to create a solid framework for the delivery of academic programs and research in the health sciences.
I would especially like to recognize the long-term partnership between the University of Southern Indiana and the IU School of Medicine. Without question, the proposed multi-institutional partnership has its roots in the success, over many years, of the partnership that exists today between the IU School of Medicine and USI. The IU School of Medicine—Evansville, currently housed in the Health Professions Center on the USI campus, is, of course, one of nine academic centers where students in the IU School of Medicine receive their education. Without the longstanding partnership with USI, the development of a plan for expansion of academic and collaborative health science delivery in the Evansville region would not have been possible.
The Vital Support of The Evansville Community
We are keenly aware that there has been intense interest in this project in the Evansville region. I want to join Vice President Morrison in commending the members of the Evansville community for their respect of this process and their cooperation during the last several months. They have been responsive, responsible, and supportive partners. Their approach to this process will certainly serve the community well as this effort moves forward. And we have great confidence that the Evansville community will actively support whichever site the Trustees ultimately approve.
The Vital Importance of Investment in The Health Sciences
The looming shortage of physicians and other medical professionals is well documented, thus it is vitally important that we continue to invest in health sciences education. This new multi-institutional partnership, which will result in the expansion of health science programs in Evansville, is forward thinking and will serve the region and our state well in the future.
Evaluating The Proposals
Let me say a word about the detailed and complex process of evaluating the proposals for this new facility. Our evaluation focused, first and foremost, on academic quality. Any proposal that moves forward must be in the best interests of our students and faculty. We fully recognize the potential for economic development that this new facility represents. However, our evaluation could not and did not factor the opportunities for economic development. We focused on quality, financial stability, the merits of the proposals, and the value each proposal would bring to our students and institutions. We would contend that attention to these factors will result in the greatest likelihood of success for the new campus, and that, ultimately, this focus on academic quality will pay dividends for the community as well.
The very high quality of each of the proposals evaluated made arriving at a recommendation extremely difficult. I had the opportunity to review the data and the merits of each proposal. I was greatly impressed with the creativity and the overall substance of each of them. The experience and the depth of knowledge of the members of the teams behind each proposal were evident. I believe this facility could be successful in any of the four proposed sites.
As was noted in the presentation, the financial factors in the proposals were strong and could be considered approximately equal among several of the proposals. The strength of the financial proposals is certainly rooted in the presence of local financial incentives generously presented by local government leadership. We appreciate the confidence of the Evansville community in our project as expressed through these incentives.
Announcing The Recommendation
Given that the quality and the financial elements of the proposals were excellent and of relatively equal strength, we must focus on other factors in our evaluation and recommendation.
Given the proposal data presented by Vice President Morrison, strong student preferences expressed, the recommendations of the local hospital leadership, and input received from our academic partners, including Dean Hess, I recommend to you that this project be located at the downtown site described in the proposal by US Health Realty—Skanska.
This site provides a central location—one that is within walking distance for all students, and one that is accessible to all of Evansville’s medical facility assets. The proposed design creates a strong presence in a quickly developing downtown, and is preferred by an overwhelming number of the parties who will utilize and benefit from this facility.
Again, given the high quality of each of the proposals, arriving at this recommendation was not easy. However, we do believe the downtown proposal to be in the best interest of the academic programs and worthy of our recommendation.
With that recommendation, Mr. Chairman, could I first ask Vice President and Dean of the School of Medicine, Jay Hess, to comment on my recommendation, then he, Vice President Morrison, and I would be happy to answer any questions.