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Toby's Take: And the Nominees Are

December 27, 2022

Our memories aren’t always the best. I would have sworn I heard a presenter say: “We should have 5 winners tonight.”

It was the 1982 Academy Awards, and “Chariots of Fire” beat out ridiculous competition. I mean, “On Golden Pond,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and the lesser remembered “Reds” and “Atlantic City.” The Oscar winners for leading roles, directors, cinematography and music basically came from those 5 movies.

Alas, I couldn’t find YouTube proof that a presenter actually said it. I must have agreed with this imaginary memory (I still think someone said it) because it came to mind when I looked over a list of successes The University of Kansas Health System celebrated this year.

Best picture

What would be this year’s Best Picture at the health system?

  • If you like visible signs of progress, the opening of the Proton Therapy Centeron the health system’s Kansas City campus is a great nominee. The center, the only one of its kind in the region, opened in the spring and has treated or soon will have treated more than 80 patients for various cancers. A proton beam travels through the body with very little radiation release until it hits the tumor. It’s been a massive success for treatment AND for patients and families who no longer need to travel extensively to receive the highly specialized care. 
  • This one’s my “On Golden Pond,” the movie I thought would win in 1982. All of us at the health system, and the entire city, celebrated in July when The University of Kansas Cancer Center received the National Cancer Institute’s comprehensive designation, 10 years after its initial NCI designation. It means millions of dollars in research right away and untold discoveries in cancer research and treatment. This is not overstating. I’ve heard leaders outside our organization talk about comprehensive status in the same breath as the NFL Draft coming to Kansas City next year, the opening of the new Kansas City International Airport in 2023 and, yes, the FIFA World Cup in 2026. Beyond saving countless lives, the cancer center’s explosive status for the region is hard to quantify right now.
  • There’s often a dark horse candidate that emerges. I’ll nominate the Letter of Intent Olathe Health signed this fall to become part of The University of Kansas Health System. Due diligence continues as we wind down the year, but this is good for us, good for Olathe Health and great for the health of the community.

But wait, there's more!

A few other nominees:

  • U.S. News & World Report named us the Best Hospital in Kansas City for the 13th straight year, the Best Hospital in Kansas for the 11th time and one of 34 hospitals recognized in 8 or more data-driven specialties. 
  • This one I really like. We had 23 employees graduate from our GED program, and every high-ranking executive at the health system fought to be at the ceremony. See more about our GED program below.
  • Oh, and the Toby’s Take blog, a weekly behind-the-scenes peek at the health system, debuted and has been renewed for another season! Fine, that wasn’t on the list, but I’m enjoying writing these blogs. 
  • I realize I’m leaving out details from the Parade of Hearts (a smashing success – we’ll do it again next year) to the Emmys our media relations team won and – how about this – the 5,000th organ transplant dating back to our first in 1969. 
  • And for the nontelevised ceremony, the Scientific and Technical Oscars, so to speak, we even got techie, receiving several national honors in IT and all things digital. The chief information officer for both the health system and University of Kansas Medical Center won the Kansas City CIO Orbie Award® as CIO of the Year for a nonprofit.

14,000+ winners

Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn won Oscars for their leading roles in “On Golden Pond” in 1982, and he didn’t live the year to celebrate. Their heralded selections might have upstaged Best Picture. And that’s also what I’m thinking with this list.

We could record all the accomplishments in the world, but the great events don’t happen or amount to much unless we recognize there were people – employees, patients, supporters – who made it all happen. I’d call out some of our staff, but there would have to be 14,000 winners.

Envelope, please. We’re about ready to launch into next year’s show. Happy New Year, all.


Custodial worker in hospital hallway.

Careers begin here

The on-site GED program is offered at The University of Kansas Health System's main campus. The health system pays all program fees and up to 8 hours a week for classes. Graduates from the GED program may go on to obtain new roles within the health system after completing their requirements. 
Benefits of working here

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