A Message from the Dean

Dr. Richard Streiffer, dean of CCHS, presented the first session 0f the Mini Medical School lecture series, put on by CCHS for UA’s OLLI program. Since the series kicked off in January 2016, nearly 30 lectures have been presented to OLLI participants and the public on health issues and advances in medicine and research. Learn more at cchs.ua.edu/minimedschool.

Life is busy—really busy. Have you noticed how time flies, how we can’t seem to get around to things anymore?

It’s true at work, as well. In health care and in medical education, the demands feel particularly brutal to many—unending patients with complex social or mental health issues and inadequate resources and time to help; a deluge of regulatory and compliance issues; students and residents with their learning, and often their interpersonal, needs; more and more to master and to click in the electronic medical record systems we now use; and the continual explosion of knowledge to absorb.

That is the context in which we work today. My intent is not a call for sympathy nor for help, as it remains a privilege to be a physician, to serve others as a health professional, to work for an outstanding institution and to occupy a coveted position in a free society. What I describe is just the reality for faculty, staff and learners of this College and for most medical educators and professionals everywhere, and clearly a factor that contributes to the stress and burnout so unfortunately prevalent today.

Celebration of achievement is important, maybe even a metaphor for stress management, according to some researchers. With this perspective, I ask you to celebrate the continuing achievement of the people of the College of Community Health Sciences in their work to improve the lives and health of our community and the education of our students. Clearly, we will never be able to achieve every goal nor implement each “good” idea. But in today’s demanding health care environment and milieu, we as a College have much about which to be proud. And we are pleased to share it with you through this inaugural Annual Report.

Yogi Berra is reputed to have suggested, “You can observe a lot by just watching.” So, take a look and observe CCHS through this report. You will see a snapshot of service and achievement by faculty, volunteerism from our Board of Visitors who believe in and support our work, continued innovation and social accountability in medical education programming, and continued progress in implementation of our Strategic Plan. CCHS is growing in size, in our reach, in our impact on the community. The
rewards of achievement to a large degree mitigate the stress and time demands and reinforce why we do what we do.

To the hard working members of our faculty and staff who keep coming back every day, even as the time demands multiply, to our learners who keep us on our toes and are our future, and to the community that receives and supports our efforts to be helpful, thank you. There’s still much work to be done.

“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.” – Dr. Seuss