UB, RPCI, Kaleida Health, Hauptman-Woodward Institute form Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus

New entity to coordinate projects to serve, enhance research, education and clinical care

By Lois Baker

Release Date: May 3, 2001

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The major players in medical care, research, education and biotechnical innovation concentrated in what has been termed the "High Street medical corridor" in Buffalo have formed an entity called the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) to coordinate projects that will serve and enhance the group as a whole.

Thomas R. Beecher, chair of the group's board of directors, announced the formation of the BNMC at a press conference Monday in Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

The members are UB, Roswell Park, Kaleida Health, Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute (HWI) and the Buffalo Medical Group Foundation. The City of Buffalo, Erie County and the adjoining neighborhoods of Allentown and the Fruit Belt are partners in the effort.

The entity will be governed by a 14-member board of directors composed of representatives from the institutions and partners. Each institution will retain its independent governance while collaborating on campus activities. They will be supported in their efforts by a loosely organized Trustee Council composed of corporations, businesses, government agencies and non-profit organizations that will be asked to provide volunteer help and consultation as needed.

Beecher said the purpose of the BNMC is to support the needs of the member institutions as a group as they form a world-class medical campus supporting centers of excellence in research, education and clinical care. He praised the synergy and cooperative spirit of the BNMC members in bringing the collaboration to fruition.

"In my 20 years as a volunteer in health care around the High Street area, this is the best I have ever seen the institutions communicate and work with one another," Beecher said. "It is encouraging to see the 'silo mentality' disappear, which in the past has isolated individuals and groups from one another, thus making partnerships more difficult."

President William R. Greiner, who serves on the BNMC board of directors along with Michael E. Bernardino, vice president for health affairs, said: "We're looking forward to a long and most fruitful collaboration among the institutions."

Buffalo Mayor Anthony M. Masiello was enthusiastic about the economic-development possibilities of the medical campus and the jobs it could create. "There will be no more exporting of talent and people," he stated.

The BNMC has adopted three strategies that will drive its work in the future: Create a world-class medical campus that enhances the already existing clinical, research and teaching excellence of the member institutions; create economic-development opportunities, and improve and expand the infrastructure of the current campus.

The work is being funded by contributions from the Oshei Foundation and the five member institutions. The first year's budget is $160,000.

Already active for five months, the group has an project director, Matthew K. Enstice, and has accomplished the following tasks:

• Began design of an economic-impact study sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

• Established work councils on infrastructure, land-use planning, marketing, neighborhood development and shared services

• Facilitated placing a community-policing station within the medical campus

• Mapped property with photos delineating ownership and assessed valuation

• Contracted with UB's Center for Computational Research to create a virtual medical campus for use in fundraising, economic development and faculty recruitment.

While UB doesn't own land or structures on the medical campus, it has a major presence there through its faculty and research. UB's new Department of Structural Biology is located within HWI, and HWI scientists are on the department's faculty. The university and RPCI are joint operators of the DNA microarray facility, many RPCI faculty have UB appointments and UB's cancer research and teaching is carried out there. Moreover, Kaleida Health is UB's largest medical-care teaching affiliate, and many members of the Buffalo Medical Group serve as UB clinical faculty members.