Talk about a challenge. The University of Nebraska Medical Center’s new chancellor, Dr. Jeffrey Gold, is taking the helm of a campus in transformation.
Since current Chancellor Harold Maurer introduced the idea of “a national trajectory” for UNMC, new buildings and additions have gone up, and now UNMC and its hospital partner are working to build a $370 million cancer center. The med center has a well-earned reputation in education, research, care and community partnerships.
After Gold takes over, Maurer is expected to continue raising money for the cancer center, facilities that promise enormous benefits, both medical and economic. It will help integrate the science of cancer with the treatment of cancer, bringing new levels of important research and care. It is projected to bring hundreds of new jobs and an annual economic impact of more than $500 million.
For Gold, this must be a bit like taking the controls of a jetliner in mid-takeoff. But the new pilot says he is eager for the challenge.
Gold said he is excited “by the future I see.” And his experience looks to be a good fit for the job.
As the University of Toledo’s chancellor, executive vice president of biosciences and health affairs, and executive dean of its College of Medicine, Gold has presided over a $100 million building boom. That includes a $36 million simulation center, a $10.5 million cancer center, hospital room renovations and other improvements.
Toledo neurology professor Dr. Lawrence Elmer said Gold “turned this place completely around.”
The doctor’s comments were echoed by NU’s search team. Gold understands academic medical centers, hospitals, fundraising and the importance of philanthropy to such institutions, said Dr. James Linder, head of the search committee. It also is reassuring to hear Linder say, “I think he is cut from the same bolt of cloth as Chancellor Maurer.”
In an interview with World-Herald reporters, the incoming chancellor showed a clear understanding of the role UNMC plays in Omaha and Nebraska.
Gold said his goal is to “raise the distinction of the health system, to continue to grow not just the size but the quality and the access to superb, quality health care.” And he voiced his hope to “make sure we are educating a generation of health professionals who are well equipped to embrace these new challenges and to tightly partner with the community to make this possible.”
The chancellor’s job is a challenging one: part manager, part strategic planner, part fundraiser, part diplomat. UNMC’s new leader is voicing a solid vision for the institution’s future.