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Discussion Postings_Week 2

Topic: Discussion Postings_Week 2
Discussion Topic:
Do you think it was in the best interest for this organization to state a ‘cure’ as the central focus for the organizational mission? Why or why not.
What suggestions or comments would you give the founders regarding the selection of their mission for their new non-profit clinical research organization?

Student #1 – Dario

Spinal cord injuries to date remain a perplexing medical malady with limited options. Though much attention and research has been devoted to this injury, there is still not a cure (NIH, 2008). That said, the focus is primarily aimed at addressing potential long term complications. Yet, the Miami Project’s vision of a cure was not, and is not unreasonable, in my humble opinion. When in a race, one’s goal is not to come in second place. While evaluating other medical campaigns, many have chosen to use the goal of a cure, such as the Susan B. Komen for the Cure or the American Lung Association’s vision of “a world free from lung disease”, as the driving force for their efforts as well. I do, however, contend that organizations in this pursuit should not streamline their efforts so stringently as to miss opportunities to improve on individuals afflicted with their respective campaign diseases and those closely related, that by virtue of similarity may offer additional answers. It is hard to argue with the Miami Project’s initial vision and mission given its success, having built the largest such research center in the world with arguably the best talent in the field who had generated multiple advances and significant publications (Kaplan et al, 2008). Sustainability remains the key to reaching their primary stated objective.

In the next stages of the Miami Project’s efforts, including research aimed at other neurological disorders is paramount. The sheer volume of spinal cord injuries, specifically those that are traumatic, have remained fairly consistent and by some accounts, not very large in number annually. Though one is too many, in order to garner significant interest and funding, the more people who are aware of and to some degree, have to deal with this issue, the greater the likelihood of support. The idea of including different neurological conditions could actually create a synergistic effect towards advances in spinal cord injury management and treatment, since there are similarities in the dysfunction caused by strokes and other brain insults. This would increase their pool of candidates and possibly assist in obtaining additional grants, as well as interest, for broader research. Thanks.

Kaplan, R. S., Marquis, C., Kazan, B. (2008). The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. Harvard Business School. Retrieved from http://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cb/access/9818273

National Institutes of Health. (2008). X-Plain Spinal Cord Injury: Reference Summary. The Patient Education Institute. Retrieved from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/tutorials/spinalcordinjury/nr259103.pdf
Student #2 – Charlene
Personally, I believe the mission statement for any organization should not be something with a definitive end. When and if the company reaches that end point, what is left? What happens after The Miami Project finds a cure for spinal cord injuries? Do they cease to exist after that? Organizations should focus on a mission statement that directs the future of the company. Especially when it comes to research and discovery it is well known that the solution to your current problem may be found from researching something else that may or may not be related (Kaplan et al, 2008). By limiting the research to spinal cord injuries alone The Miami Project could potentially miss out on the same cure they are seeking to find.

As a business consultant in this case it would be my recommendation to not only change the name from The Miami Project to something that immediately tells what is being researched, but to also change the mission and focus of the company. Broadening the research to a wider area of neurological disorders, would not only increase the interest of additional donors, and grant areas for research, but allow them to still work in conjunction with each other. The different research interest would share their work with each other, and possibly utilize breakthroughs in one area, to further research in another. While it is understandable why and how The Miami project came to be in existence, a wider marketing range would need to be used in order to meet the underlying objective.

Kaplan, R. S., Marquis, C., Kazan, B. (2008). The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. Harvard Business School. Retrieved from http://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cb/access/9818273
Student #3 – Techyia
Was it in the best interest for this organization to state a “cure” as the central focus for the organizational mission?
In the initial stages of the project, it was probably an excellent idea that helped to galvanize a tremendous amount of support and provided an aura of performing ” Mission impossible.” It could be compared to the American goal for sending an astronaut to the moon or to the dream of having true equality among different creeds, races and religions. It can be done. However, there is a difference when a mission is a national endeavor or one that is localized to a small number of geographical areas. To accomplish the mission entails a tremendous amount of financial resources. Although focusing on a cure for one particular disease was the right thing to do at the initial stages of the project, the Miami project, which is now a highly respected institution, is limiting its potential for expansion.
Comments regarding the mission of the new nonprofit medical research organization.
The Miami Project to cure paralysis is based in the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. It is recognized as the leading spinal cord research center in the world and is one of only three centers in the US recognized by the NIH for research excellence in spinal cord injury (SCI). Despite a state of the art facility, a $37 billion budget and 170 researchers and clinicians, it has not achieved its goal of curing paralysis. It is an achievable goal but requires enormous amounts of financial reserves. If the mission was broadened to include other neurodegenerative diseases the projects financial support base would be significantly enhanced, since the number of people afflicted with neurodegenerative diseases is vastly greater than those with SCI. Although there would be additional goals, there would be many additional sources of funding and the amount earmarked for spinal cord injuries could increase substantially. In addition, there would be a cross-fertilization of ideas from different areas of scientific research which could help in attaining the mission of the organization. Many times achievements in one field are based on basic scientific research carried out in other fields. With the respect and excellent reputation that the project has gained over the past 22 years, there should be no problem in finding support for these new areas of research and this will also help in reaching the original goal -a cure for paralysis.
Kaplan, R., Marquis, C. & Kazan, B. (2008).The Miami project to cure paralysis. Harvard business school, 1-22.

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