Approximately 140 people came to the Durham Research Center auditorium Friday afternoon to hear a public presentation by Dr. Gold, a recently announced finalist for the position of chancellor of UNMC.
Dr. Gold said that the secret to plowing a straight furrow is to keep your eyes on the horizon, even as you navigate holes, stones or other impediments facing the plow.
"I think that has a lot to dealing with the challenges that are ahead," he said. "Be realistic. Face the truth. Stay focused on where you want to go."
Omaha World-Herald: Would-be UNMC chief Jeffrey Gold puts prioritizing at the head of the list
Dr. Gold, who is currently chancellor and executive vice president of biosciences and health affairs and executive dean of the College of Medicine at the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio, described himself to the crowd as a "nearly recovered cardio-surgeon."
More importantly, search committee chairman Jim Linder, M.D., described Dr. Gold as a man who can understand the missions of UNMC - educational, clinical and research.
"There is no portion of the mission that is more or less important than the other," Dr. Gold said, "because if you believe in academic medicine as strongly as I do, each of the components of the mission . . . are key to the future of academic health care and are key to the future of health care in our country as we know it."
After taking the audience through his career, including his shift from surgical practice to academic medical education -- he was looking for a way to change medical education, research and clinical care because of the "cynicism, the frustration, how severely broken I thought the health care system was," he said -- Dr. Gold pointed out that he's lived his life in a 10-year mode.
Just about every decade he's tried to do something different, he said, because new challenges bring opportunities, refresh people and refresh organizations.
In regard to UNMC, Dr. Gold said the opportunities here are unique.
Some of the challenges Dr. Gold pointed to included the ability to sustain federally funded research; the changing health care model; issues of access, clinical workforce issues and cost.
Still, he said, UNMC is well-positioned to face the future.
"The organizational structure that you have today and the organizational structures that you are evolving to right now on the medical center side are going to uniquely position you to withstand the headwinds of dramatic change," he said.