Upstate News

January 9, 2008
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

SUNY Upstate applauds governor’s initiative to grow education, strengthen healthcare

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — SUNY Upstate Medical University President David R. Smith, M.D., issued the following statement Jan. 9 in response to Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s initiatives to grow education and strengthen healthcare as noted in the State of the State address.

“Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s call for increased funding for education, through the creation of the Higher Education Endowment is welcomed news. It’s a bold plan that underscores the governor’s commitment to giving education in New York a strong foundation to accelerate our aspirations for enhanced excellence. This investment in education will reap big dividends for New Yorkers and regions across the state, like Syracuse and Central New York. Investment in education equals an investment in the economy. These are dollars well spent.

“We are especially pleased with the governor’s announcement to increase the number of SUNY faculty and accelerate funding for research. Faculty growth is one of SUNY Upstate’s chief needs. It is an essential component for us to move forward with our aspirations to grow to better meet the pressing demands of our Upstate region: The need for more health care professionals in the underserved regions of the state. We already have made significant progress in reaching out beyond Syracuse to bring healthcare education to areas where it is most needed, but faculty growth will enable us to serve more New Yorkers.

“We also are greatly encouraged by the governor’s focus for revitalizing the Upstate economy. With the planned growth in education and research, SUNY Upstate Medical University, the region’s largest employer, will continue to grow, creating new opportunities for economic investment in the region. Our current $1.6 billion impact on the local economy will only increase as we work with the state on building a bigger return on its new investment in education, research and healthcare. We stand ready to assist the governor in moving his economic initiatives forward throughout Upstate New York.

“Lastly, but keenly important is the governor’s “Doctors Across New York” plan that will provide loan repayment for physicians practicing in rural communities and underserved regions of the state. SUNY Upstate already plays a vital role—through its Rural Medical Education Program—by teaming medical students with physicians in rural communities. We continue to grow this program that will be strengthened by governor’s proposal so our rural communities can reap even greater benefits.

“As we celebrate the governor’s proposals and their impact on benefiting the lives of New Yorkers, we also understand the hard work ahead to help make this vision for New York a reality. We will work closely with the Senate and Assembly, our local legislative delegation and communities throughout the state to advance these proposals that will create a healthier, wealthier and wiser Upstate region.”

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