Mark Anderson
(Photography by Joel Maisonet)
Strength in collaboration

The University of Chicago Medicine, the Pritzker School of Medicine, and the Biological Sciences Division pave the way to a thriving future.

Since I joined the University of Chicago more than a year ago, I have seen firsthand what makes this such an extraordinary place. As a world-class university, we not only bring together brilliant minds but encourage them to work across disciplines. Here, medicine and science are embedded within the broader ecosystem of the campus—a campus whose reach is amplified by the city it calls home.

Across the Biological Sciences Division, the Pritzker School of Medicine, and the University of Chicago Medicine health system, we work toward our missions in research, education, and clinical care. Our strength lies in our interconnectedness. Last fall we launched our Mission, Vision, and Values framework to better leverage our organizational structure and define our shared set of core values. Designed with input from around 4,000 people across our organization and our community, this framework will enable us to become a more unified enterprise.

The COVID-19 pandemic also underscored the importance of academic medicine. Responding to a public health emergency of this scale required all of us in the field to work quickly and effectively, especially at the intersection of scientific disciplines. The introduction of new vaccines and treatments is a testament to the power of collaboration in science and medicine. We must learn from one another in order to confront the next set of challenges.

This means investing in and expanding our research efforts. In the coming years, we have a plan to bolster grant development and sustain our position as a home for scientific breakthroughs. We also have a vision to create more multidisciplinary institutes, bringing together researchers and clinicians to strengthen the discovery pipeline. So much of biological research is built not just on core biology but on fields such as data science, physics, and molecular engineering—all of which we have in abundance at the University of Chicago. By providing leadership and resources to a wide range of scholars, we can build on our collective expertise in pursuit of shared goals.

At the same time, we must continue to expand access to advanced care. In September we broke ground on the first freestanding cancer care and research pavilion in the state of Illinois (see “Strategic Center”). Expected to open in 2027 on our Hyde Park campus, this facility will further our research efforts, improve patient experience, and help reduce health disparities—especially on Chicago’s South Side, which is disproportionately afflicted by cancer.

To better reach and serve our patients, we are also investing in facilities such as a new multispecialty care center in Crown Point, Indiana—which opens this spring—and exploring more opportunities for regional and national partnerships.

Access is vital to medical education as well. As part of an urban research university, the Pritzker School of Medicine offers unique opportunities that should be available to students regardless of their background and ability to pay. This academic year, we modernized our curriculum and began providing full-tuition scholarships for up to half of each incoming class of medical students. Our goal is to make Pritzker tuition- or debt-free by 2027, coinciding with the school’s centennial celebration.

As we begin a new year, I want to emphasize that science and health care are team sports. To fulfill our potential, we must take the time to know and care for each other as individuals. Empathy and kindness are foundational to our success, and the examples I have seen at UChicago Medicine and the Biological Sciences Division are part of what makes me so excited about our future.

Mark Anderson is the executive vice president for medical affairs, dean of the Biological Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Medicine, and the Paul and Allene Russell Professor in the Department of Medicine