There was a time when individuals with different views worked together to resolve difficult issues and united around a pathway to reach a goal that moved us all forward. Unfortunately, it seems in today’s world we often find ourselves polarized and unwilling to compromise and find common ground. We define ourselves as “winners” or “losers” when in reality we all need to share in the cost of providing a brighter future for something we all share in common — our children.

We all understand that these are difficult economic times and fiscal challenges are not unique to Louisiana. Medical schools and institutes of higher learning throughout the country are facing similar challenges. However, I do not believe it is either creative or forward-thinking to simply cut funding and say there was no alternative.

Access to a strong public education system creates opportunity and growth for all of our citizens. This is particularly important when it comes to medical education in Louisiana, where the vast majority of health care professionals are trained within the LSU system. Fifty-six percent of our graduates this year chose to stay and provide care in Louisiana. This is something worth protecting as our community grows, becomes more complex and demands well-trained physicians. Furthermore, our economic future will be built on a foundation of innovation and creativity that will be knowledge-based and can only succeed if we contribute to a robust and vibrant education system that all of our students can access.

Over the past few years, we have taken great strides forward in advancing the three core missions of our school — research, clinical care, education and training. If we are to continue our drive for excellence, we need to have an open dialogue with our partners, both public and private, and work in harmony that will move our school, our city and our state forward. We have come too far, and there is too much at stake to fail now.

Steve Nelson

dean, LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine

New Orleans