Upstate News

September 16, 2003
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

SUNY Upstate poised for great success in coming year, notes Eastwood in his State of the Medical University Address

In his annual State of the Medical University Address, President Gregory L. Eastwood, M.D., offered an upbeat assessment for SUNY Upstate in the areas of patient care, research, teaching and philanthropy. Eastwood delivered his address Wednesday, Sept. 17.

Eastwood’s presentation included mention of plans for the construction of a new parking garage on campus as well as an academic building. He also said he hoped the coming year would bring about a collaboration plan that would successfully partner Crouse and Upstate into a single academic medical center.

Eastwood noted a dozen key advances and initiatives that position SUNY Upstate on a course for success in the coming year despite challenging times for academic medical institutions.

Chief on the list of initiatives is the proposed vertical expansion for University Hospital. The expansion of the hospital’s east wing will provide five new patient care floors; three earmarked for oncology, cardiovascular and neurosciences while the remaining two floors would house the Central New York Children’s Hospital. The hospital received the authority to finance the construction through bonding earlier this year when the governor and legislature approved bonding legislation.

Several key components of the Children Hospital have already been implemented on campus, Eastwood reported. He noted the summer opening of the Center for Children’s Surgery, and the Center for Neurodevelopmental Pediatrics that will be open later this fall.

SUNY Upstate’s research mission continues to gain momentum, Eastwood reported, noting that research expenditures in the past five years have increased 84 percent, from $17.7 million in 1998 to $32.5 million in 2003. Over the same time period, National Institute of Health funding has jumped 80 percent from $9.7 million to $17.5 million, he said. Eastwood said the opening of the 10,000 square foot Institute of Cardiovascular Research this summer and the continued renovation of laboratory space in Weiskotten Hall provide much needed state-of-the-art laboratory space for researchers.

In addition to gains in research funding, Eastwood reported that philanthropy at SUNY Upstate also increased. Combined giving to the Upstate Medical University Foundation and the Medical Alumni Association stands at $5.6 million (2002 figure) up from $3 million (1995). It is expected that current giving to the university will increase significantly when capital campaigns for the Children’s Hospital and the Institute for Cardiovascular Research get under way.

Regarding the educational enterprise, Eastwood announced that the incoming class of College of Medicine students recorded the highest undergraduate grade point average (3.64) and MCAT scores (9.75) of any class in recent history, noting that more than two-thirds of the class came from country’s most competitive colleges.

Eastwood announced two new construction projects for the coming year. The most immediate is the multi-level parking garage to be built on what is currently parking lot C. He said construction would begin this winter with completion scheduled for late 2004 or early 2005. While ground will not be broken until 2004 or 2005, planning and design work for a new academic building will begin this fall.

The academic building, to be located on the north side of Weiskotten Hall, will feature classroom and teaching space, conference areas and administrative space for the Office of Student Affairs.

A collaboration plan that would enable neighboring Crouse Hospital and SUNY Upstate to function as if they were a single academic medical center is still a priority, Eastwood said. He noted that for over four decades, Crouse and University Hospital have been connected both programmatically and physically, but that the two institutions have never been able to agree to operate as a single facility. Eastwood said SUNY Upstate will initiative further dialogue with Crouse on a collaboration plan.

SUNY Upstate is one of the area’s largest employers with a workforce of nearly 5,400 and an annual operating budget of $600 million.

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