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Lion fountain with blue skies on Kaufman Mall.

November 17, 2020

Dear Colleague,

Following a discussion with the Faculty Senate Chair John Sokolowski, I want to update you regarding discussions among a number of regional stakeholders in realizing the full potential of the health-care ecosystem in Hampton Roads.

A current review of those opportunities is being conducted by Manatt Health Strategies. Finding ways for multiple partners to work together can be challenging, yet the rewards for doing so can be transformative. Hampton Roads has greater health disparities than other urban regions in Virginia, including shorter average lifespans. A better integrated health sciences ecosystem can improve those disparate health outcomes, and also can make contributions to the local economy by creating businesses out of healthcare innovations.

As we await the final report, I want to share with you some of ODU's guiding principles in considering this endeavor.

  • Build a nationally recognized, multi-partnered health sciences center that is viewed within and beyond Virginia as a peer of other public academic medical centers;
  • Strengthen and expand health sciences programs and the overall reputational value of ODU degrees;
  • Enhance our differentiation from other public doctoral institutions as a leading provider of STEM-H programs in Virginia;
  • Develop a reputation for innovative health science degree pathways;
  • Maintain and strengthen our commitment to educating a diverse student population and enabling social mobility;
  • Significantly grow biomedical and health research, with an emphasis on regional collaborations that reduce local health disparities and catalyze a Hampton Roads biotech sector; and
  • Enhance the value of ODU to the region as the primary academic partner for economic development and growth.

At this juncture, we don't yet know how far down the road this effort will take us, but rest assured that ODU is committed to the required discovery for the possible journey. The outcome of the ongoing discussions will ultimately be determined by the state, public and private partners as well as our Board of Visitors. Bruce Bradley and Murry Pitts represent the ODU board in these discussions.

As the current pandemic has made clear, maintaining our individual health is a shared responsibility. ODU demonstrates that shared responsibility by producing the largest number of health sciences graduates in the region, as well as the greatest percentage who stay in Hampton Roads to provide health care, while helping diversify the workforce as a whole. Our longstanding contributions to the region make it natural that we be part of any conversation for a shared approach to transforming that health-care ecosystem.

As the process unfolds, VP Foster will keep you informed.


John R. Broderick

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