VUMC Strategic Directions


Compass on a map with tattered edges

The compass is one of our oldest devices to help us find our way. Even when conditions change, a compass lets us orient ourselves. It helps guide us home or to new destinations. That is why Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) uses the compass to describe our strategy for the future.

In 2016, people from all parts of the medical center and school of medicine collaborated to develop a new “strategy compass.” This compass unifies our work across patient care, research, and education.

These teams looked carefully at where we’ve been. They considered our unique strengths. They took into account all the changes – and opportunities – facing us today.

The compass begins with our aspiration as a medical center:

Through the exceptional capabilities and caring spirit of its people, Vanderbilt will lead in improving the healthcare of individuals and communities regionally, nationally and internationally. We will combine our transformative learning programs, compelling scientific discoveries, and distinctive personalized care to foster the health of all people.

Simply put, we have extraordinary people doing exceptional things. We are leading the way to improve the health of our communities, near and far. We can do this in a way few others can because we combine research discovery, training of healthcare professionals, and patient care capabilities.

Our compass also capitalizes on “distinctive capabilities.” These capabilities are strengths we have because we are an academic medical center comprised of a team of over 20,000 people, bi-directionally engaged with the community, and leveraging the strengths of Vanderbilt. These are the strengths we will leverage and grow:

  • A collaborative culture
  • Leadership in clinical care
  • Basic and translational research
  • Learning as a core competency
  • Personalized medicine
  • Population health

Strategic Directions Compass Logo with four Strategic Directions: Design for Patients and Families; Make Diversity and Inclusion Intentional; Discover, Learn and Share; Amplify InnovationOur compass identifies four “strategic directions” or themes. It allows us to adapt as we learn or as things change. It allows us to measure – and speed up – our progress. The four strategic directions are:

  • Design for Patients and Families
  • Make Diversity and Inclusion Intentional
  • Discover, Learn and Share
  • Amplify Innovation

For each strategic direction, the compass includes a brief description of the intent and importance, “capabilities to enhance” and “capabilities to develop.” The capabilities to enhance highlight opportunities to build out aspects of VUMC’s distinctive capabilities. The capabilities to develop call out areas where building is required from the ground up. We update the descriptions of the strategic directions annually and include links to examples of the progress to date.