VUMC Strategy Framework

Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) is a comprehensive academic medical center dedicated to patient care, research, and the education of health care professionals. VUMC is part of Vanderbilt University with a common Board of Trust and one financial bottom line

VUMC health system facilities include four hospitals on the University’s campus with more than 50,000 discharges and 1.7 million outpatient visits per year.  Centers of excellence include cancer, cardiovascular disease, children’s services, diabetes, transplantation, and the region’s only level-1 trauma center.  VUMC is recognized nationally for clinical and management excellence in listings such as the U.S. News and World Report, Leapfrog, and Thomson Reuters Truven Top 100 hospitals.  VUMC delivers $400 million in charity care annually, and delivers more Medicaid-funded care than any other hospital in the state. 

The School of Medicine ranks 14th overall in US News and World Report, and 10th in NIH funding. The School of Nursing ranks 15th nationally and is distinguished by programs that bridge people to alternative career paths.  The research enterprise spans study of fundamental biological properties with long standing leadership in pharmacology, physiology, and biochemistry, evidenced by Nobel Laureates Sutherland and Cohen, that is paired with strengths in neuroscience, developmental biology, microbiology, and genetics. This discovery foundation is closely aligned with translational research to directly enable breakthroughs into the causes and treatment of disease. Recent strategic research initiatives aimed at further distinguishing VUMC include personalized medicine, therapeutic discovery and translation, and population health. VUMC is a national leader in building shared discovery science infrastructure with state-of-the-art platforms for mass spectrometry, imaging, drug discovery, genomics, structural biology, and informatics. All of which help investigators secure federal funds in a competitive environment and diversify their portfolio of financial support.


Vanderbilt University Medical Center aspires to shape the future of health and health care.

Aspirational goals

  • Constantly innovate a healthcare services model that is systems-based and customized (personalized) to each individual
  • Create learning systems that produce leaders who learn in ways that match the next generation health care system and the pace of research discoveries
    • Equip people to lead the transformation of health care and discovery
    • Develop curricula that are effective, efficient and flexible
    • Standardize outcomes; individualize process
    • Manage career transitions to sustain productivity
  • Nurture fundamental discovery and create a translational discovery architecture with national and global scale
    • Develop transdisciplinary research efforts to address grand challenges in biomedicine and advance fundamental discovery
    • Bring the full range of biological and social sciences to bear
    • Leverage computation, informatics and engineering to translate discovery directly into policy and practice
  • Build and demonstrate a sustainable economic model for health and health care
    • Provide the highest health care value (cost/quality) using a clinically integrated network
    • Form novel partnerships with academia and industry to scale discovery and de-risk translation to products
    • Use analytics and modeling to guide program decisions
    • Transform the cost structure through coordination across the continuum and sharing of resources

These goals reflect a decade of commitment to innovation - changing common perception of what is possible - by finding new combinations of care roles, process and technology that increase both quality and number of patients under care while reducing cost per patient per year.  This commitment to innovation builds on a long standing culture of collaboration, decades of leadership in fundamental and translational research, and 20 years leadership in biomedical informatics.

VUMC has long standing alliances with Meharry Medical College (one of the few remaining minority medical colleges in the nation) and the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System Veterans Administration Hospital.  These organizations each partner with full time Vanderbilt faculty and house staff who provide clinical care and participate in research and education programs.  VUMC has recently entered into affiliation agreements with three community hospitals that share core values and a commitment to evidence-based medicine and health care information technology to develop care coordination programs spanning from southern Kentucky to northern Alabama.  These affiliations will provide a platform for our efforts to improve the health of populations across the continuum of care, consistent with national goals toward US health reform.  They expand our network to manage populations through innovations in care process, health IT, and multidisciplinary provider alignment.  VUMC has also launched a new partnership with the Scripps Research Institute, The Human Chemical Sciences Institute, home to a broad range of collaborative activities pertaining to translational research at the interface of chemistry and medicine.

The School of Medicine is midway through transforming the MD curriculum from a sequence of courses to a system of learning called Curriculum 2.0. Acknowledging the explosion of information relative to medicine and the pervasive access to multiple information sources, an explicit goal of Curriculum 2.0 is to coach students to become aggressive learners, seeking to optimize care while leveraging all information resources (the healthcare team, healthcare information technology, diverse patient perspectives) in daily practice. Medicine constantly evolves; we believe this evolution is one of its greatest appeals as a career. Ours is a workplace in which every learner works and every worker learns. Curriculum 2.0 is designed to launch our students into a life-long learning process that will extend well beyond their time on our campus. Vanderbilt graduates will be positioned to assume leadership roles in shaping the future of medicine.

We have closely aligned our graduate training initiatives with the research enterprise, and conduct re-iterative assessments of our graduate curriculum and training strategies. This has resulted in the launching of multiple new PhD programs in the past 5 years: the Human Genetics program, the Chemical and Physical Biology program, the Epidemiology program, and the Biostatistics program. Moreover, a new Certificate Program in Molecular Medicine is serving as a driving force to bring together basic and clinical researchers and will enable PhD students and fellows to gain direct medical knowledge and integrate their work with important clinical, disease-based areas. Expanding the reach of our biomedical graduate programs is also a strategic goal being enabled by the new Vanderbilt International Scholar Program. In sum, PhD biomedical students will be positioned to lead in research discovery.

VUMC is committed to exporting innovation and has a track record leading consortial efforts. For example, VUMC has 1) led the development of a health information exchange for the hospital emergency rooms of three counties surrounding the city of Memphis with funding from the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality, one of a few such efforts to document both quality improvement and cost savings, 2) been selected as the national coordinating center for all 60 of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored Clinical and Translation Science Award Centers (CTSAs). REDCap, originally designed by VUMC’s CTSA to capture and manage healthcare data for clinical trials, is now used by more than 95,000 users at 700 actjive institutional partners in 58 countries for things like research, operational support and quality improvement projects.

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