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Gov. Brownback’s Economic Summit on Life Sciences

By   /   May 25, 2011  /   No Comments

Gov. Sam Brownback and KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little interact after the Economic Summit on Life Sciences at KU Med on Tuesday. Next to Brownback are KU Med's Exec Vice Chancellor Barbara Atkinson and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer.

Kansas City, Kan. — Gov. Sam Brownback held an “Economic Summit on Life Sciences” at the University of Kansas Medical Center on Tuesday.

Kansas is uniquely positioned to receive enormous returns on investments made in the life-sciences field. Assets like KUMC have the potential to attract capital and jobs to Kansas. This summit provides us the opportunity to listen to all interested parties and understand how we make our varied interests align for the betterment of Kansas,” said Governor Brownback.

Five representatives from KU/KU Med Center gave presentations about future plans and identified needed resources to support continued economic growth.

Two from the private sector gave presentations.

A representative from Google talked about their ultra  high-speed network project in Kansas City, Kan. and how that might affect telemedicine and health care.

A venture capitalist focused on how new businesses might get started, which would provide new jobs.

A roundtable  discussion moderated by Governor Brownback followed the  presentations.

See below for selected video, PowerPoint slides, and additional comments from the presentations:

KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, PhD:

“In his road map for Kansas Governor Brownback identified the life sciences and the University of Kansas Medical Center as vital economic engines for the state.”

“Governor Brownback has also made boosting KUMC’s national ranking and improving care for Kansans a top priority.” …

“All of these advances are for the benefit of the patients, students, and the state that we serve.”

Gray-Little gave an update on a few of KU’s life sciences initiatives, including the application for National Cancer Institute designation and KU’s efforts to increase the number of pharmacists and doctors in Kansas, especially in rural communities.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback:

“Thank you KU for what all  you have already done, and you do for so many people across the state of Kansas.” …

“We’ve got to grow.  We’ve got too many Kansans out of work.  Technology and information and the development of information and its quick dissemination is critical for the future of this state.”  …

“I think we need a good policy atmosphere that creates the incentives for growth.  And we need information and technology well integrated into it.” …

“A lot of this is really about relationship building.  Life is relational.  Things happen or don’t happen because of relationships or lack of relationship.”

Video of remarks by Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer.

Lt. Gov. Colyer talked about the role of the KU Medical Center in the state.  Colyer said the KUMC is the “premiere” medical center in the Midwest.

Colyer mentioned that 20 percent of the funds going through the Kansas Bioscience Authority go through KU Med.  “That’s an incredible investment,” according to Colyer.

Colyer said that KUMC is “one of the principal engines for growth for the state.”

KU Med Center Executive Vice Chancellor Barbara Atkinson, MD

Atkinson gave a brief overview of the last five years at the KU Medical Center and shared four strategic recommendations that would have an economic impact:

  • Continue support for NCI designation.
  • Lead the nation in drug development.
  • Educate more health care professionals for Kansas
  • Innovate with Google to improve health of the public.

Atkinson said that after getting the initial NCI designation another five years would be needed to become a “comprehensive cancer center.”

Atkinson lamented that 100 qualified Kansas were not accepted as part of the class of 2015 because “we didn’t have room to accept” them.

Atkinson talked about how the improved bandwidth from Google would improve “telehealth,”

At the conclusion of Atkinson’s presentation, Gov. Brownback suggested ‘we need a Google school of public health.”

Atkinson said that since 2006 KU Medical Center, the University of Kansas Physicians, and the University of Kansas Hospital added 1781 new employees with a payroll of about $106 million (see slide 7 below for details).

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// Governor’s Summit: Growing the Kansas economy by promoting the life sciences

University of Kansas Hospital President/CEO Bob Page Page gave his vision for the University of Kansas Hospital. Page said patient satisfaction had improved dramatically since 1999 using the “guiding formula” (see slide 3 below). Page cited statistics that KU Med took care of 113,000 Kansans last year from all 105 counties.  He said their goal was to take of the sickest Kansans.

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// University of Kansas Hospital: Vision

Google’s VP of Access Services, Milo Medin

Medlin addressed three points:

  • Why Google is filling gigabit fiber in Kansas City
  • What Google hopes to see on the network in Kansas City
  • What the impacts of the network could be on health sciences

He concluded his presentation:  “We don’t really have all the answers.  We want to invent the future together with you. ”

Other speakers

Paul Camarata, MD, Interim Chair, Department of Neurosurgery, talked about what was needed to “to get to the next level.”  He also said KU Med needed to serve the state locally, in places like Hays.

Camarata said a closer integration between the hospital, the doctors and the school of medicine is needed and planning for that was already underway.

R. Scooter Plowman, MD/PhD Candidate, President of Student Governing Council, said the “human capital” at KU Med is what attracted him.  He said KU Med students were excited about the possibilities that may be created using Google’s high speed network.

Steven St. Peter, MD, Managing Director, MPM Capital, discussed “Life Sciences & Venture Capital.” St. Peter explained that Kansas only received about 0.05 percent of venture capital funds nationally but had 0.92 percent of the population.

Earlier Summits

Governor Brownback has held three economic summits across Kansas since March.

The first focused on growing the aviation industry in Kansas and the second focused on wind energy development and tourism in the Flint Hills.

The Governor’s next summit is June 9th in Manhattan and will focus on what the state can do to grow its animal health sciences industry.


Contact: Earl F Glynn, earl@kansaswatchdog.org, KansasWatchdog.org

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