Importance of Natural Resources

VCU Economic Impact 2017

Look around downtown Richmond and it’s easy
to spot evidence of how Virginia Commonwealth University and VCU Health are influencing
the economy, creativity, diversity and culture of the community. But did you ever wonder about the numbers
behind VCU’s impact on the local, regional and state economies? University President Michael Rao wanted to
capture the impact in a quantifiable way and tasked the university’s Center for Urban
and Regional Analysis with analyzing VCU’s impact on the region. The report, titled “VCU’s Impact on the
Region: Talent, Innovation, Collaboration”, took nearly two years to complete and found
that in the City of Richmond, the total economic impact of VCU is $1.5 billion – which translates
into about 18,000 employees. And for every dollar VCU spends within the
city, which includes payroll, employee and student spending and capital investments,
the Richmond economy expands by $2. And the numbers are more striking at the metro
and state levels. In the metropolitan area, VCU’s impact is
$4 billion, and almost 47,000 jobs created and $3.70 added to the regional economy for
every dollar VCU spends. And in Virginia, the impact is $5.9 billion
and about 63,000 jobs with $3.20 added to the state’s economy for every dollar VCU
spends. The numbers, while impressive, are only part
of the story. Well, to really understand VCU’s impact
on the community, you certainly need to look at the numbers, but then you need to look
beyond the numbers as well, to look at the significance and the meaning of what VCU is
doing. So, to get at this, we looked at a whole host
of things and essentially the kinds of impacts broke down into talent and research, the entrepreneurial
ecosystem, VCU’s role as a regional steward and VCU’s impact on the local culture.” Another impact the report considers is human
health and wellness. The top-ranked VCU Health System is a nearly
$3 billion enterprise, with more than 11,000 employees, and each year there are 36,000
admissions, close to 100,000 emergency department visits and more than 650,000 outpatient visits. It is also the region’s safety–net hospital
and its only academic medical center. So, we are in a unique position in that we
are providing a full service complement from primary care to quaternary services and some
of the services that we have here are unique to our organization, highly specialized. We’re also the only level one trauma center
in the region and have the only full-service children’s hospital. In addition, our organization focuses on not
only patient care services, but providing education and training opportunities for healthcare
professionals, as well as conducting research and providing clinical trials that help us
translate the findings to the patient care services to improve and enhance the services
that are provided. The health of the region’s people is just
one measure of the overall health of the engagement between VCU and the surrounding community. I think the big thing for me, the big connection
here, is it’s not just what it does from an academic university standpoint. That it actually wants to be, engages in a
very thoughtful way to be, a part of the community, and tries to make sure that the community
is growing with the university. And I think the ability to focus, not only
just on inside of the walls of the university, but to focus externally around it, makes it
that powerful engine that’s helping drive this economy. VCU’s commitment to the community, region
and state is at the heart of its mission as a premier urban research university and academic
medical center. This may be one of the most important things
that we ever do as a university and that is to go beyond the anecdotes. People have felt for a long time that VCU
really has a great impact on Richmond. We appreciate that and we think that’s great. It makes us feel good. But what becomes more important is for us
to really capture that in a qualitative and quantitative so that we can say specifically
these are the ways that we have the greatest positive impact on our community and as resources
get tighter and tighter, this is where we really need to invest our resources to have
the greatest return on the people of Richmond and the people of the commonwealth.

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