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Wayne State medical school issues warning to faculty

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Top officials at Wayne State University School of Medicine are telling faculty that insufficient productivity will no longer be tolerated.

As Crain's Detroit reported, Jack D. Sobel, M.D, dean of the medical school, and David S. Hefner, the university's vice president for health affairs, sent a letter to medical school professors on Wednesday.

"Too many of our faculty have been unproductive for many years. They have been allowed to consume needed resources totaling many millions of dollars," the letter said. "Unproductive faculty members seriously limit the school's ability to attract additional talent to advance our education, research and clinical missions. This places an unfair burden on productive faculty and impedes our ability to build a bright future for all."

Hefner told Michigan Radio the letter is meant to alert faculty that things are changing. "We wanted to do what I think you would call in the business world 'a heads up,'" said Hefner. "Change is coming and more information will be shared around the corner."

Hefner said unproductive professors will be identified over the next month and then told about next steps. He said it is premature to say how many professors will receive this notification.

Hefner said the goal is to get the identified professors to increase productivity to help address the medical school's $30 million deficit.  That can be done by their getting more funding, teaching more classes and seeing more patients, depending on what kind of faculty they are. 

Hefner said some faculty departures could happen.

According to Hefner, the deficit is also being addressed by seeking efficiencies in the medical school administration and in University Physicians Group, a faculty medical practice plan.