Mission Critical: COM Launches New Mission, Vision and Values to Focus on Health of Texans

The Mission

In April, the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) College of Medicine announced its revised mission statement…and then some.

Since December 2010, a team of leaders within the college including representatives from academic affairs, admissions, student affairs, research and the basic sciences examined mission statements from about 30 institutions and businesses, created a draft, distributed the draft throughout the college, solicited feedback and revised a proposed mission statement.

After a strategic planning retreat in January with representatives from College of Medicine administration, basic science and clinical departments, students and staff, more feedback was incorporated. A second round of revisions resulted in the proposed mission statement that was then distributed to the college, to the Dean and then to the TAMHSC.

“Instead of just revising our previous, lengthy mission statement, we made the new mission much more succinct, created a clear vision statement and published a list of values that guide decision-making at the College of Medicine,” said Sam Shomaker, M.D., J.D., the Jean and Thomas McMullin Dean of the College of Medicine.

“Overall, we focused each piece of our mission, vision and values toward improving the healthcare of Texans, and as a result this is the shortest and yet most comprehensive mission statement the College has ever had.”

Just how short is easy to see.  The previous mission statement weighed in at a whopping 231 words and included a preamble and four bullet points. The new TAMHSC College of Medicine mission statement is a mere 23 words, one-tenth the length of its predecessor, and reads:

Our mission is to improve the health and well-being of the people of Texas through excellence in education, research and health care delivery.

“The new mission clearly reflects the College of Medicine’s priorities and what we do,” said Dr. Shomaker.

The Vision and Values

To support the new mission, the workgroup and Dr. Shomaker also developed the following vision and decision-making values.

Our vision is to develop the innovators and leaders in medicine and biomedical research who will transform American medicine in the 21st century.

Our actions and decisions are guided by these values:

Accountability, Achievement, Creativity, Diversity, Integrity, Respect, Service and Transparency

“The mission is what we do, and the vision is why we do it,” said Chief of Staff and Assistant Dean for Planning and Evaluation Karan Chavis. “Our efforts throughout the past few months have been to coordinate the relationships between our mission, vision and values and to translate that to the departments.”

In addition to the new mission, the college’s vision and values have all been incorporated into an emblem for distribution throughout the college. (Click on the target to view a larger image.)

TAMHSC College of Medicine mission, vision and values

The new mission, vision and values are constructed to support the college’s key strategic planning priorities (the outer circle): teaching and learning, primary care and rural medicine, diversity, interdisciplinary research and financial stability.

Looking forward

“As we grow as a school, both in terms of size and in wanting to implement some unique curricular innovations, it is easy to get lost in the details of ‘making it happen,’” said Gary McCord, M.D., Associate Dean for Student Affairs.  “Having a clearly defined target of what we are shooting for helps us to be sure we don’t get lost along the way.”

“By creating a more focused mission statement and supporting it with a vision and values, we have aligned our purpose more surely with the healthcare needs of Texas,” Dr. Shomaker concluded.  “Everything that we do in education, research and health care delivery will now be guided by these principles as we improve healthcare in our region.”

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