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Another Voice: Jacobs School needs support to expand its mission

By Michael Cain

In 2011, through the New York SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant program, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the Western New York delegation in the Legislature and the University at Buffalo embraced a vision for a world class academic health center that would provide the very best health care for the citizens of our region, New York State and beyond.

In December 2017, the realization of that vision began with the opening of a new building for the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in downtown Buffalo. The move of the Jacobs School has been instrumental in the renaissance of the City of Buffalo.

The clinical, research, educational and economic impact of the presence of the Jacobs School downtown cannot be overstated. The Jacobs School provides most of the hospitals in Buffalo, particularly those on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, with the vast majority of their clinicians. The school, by increasing its class size, is further insuring this pipeline. These medical professionals are the backbone of the health care delivery system in Western New York.

In addition to training many future doctors, faculty at the Jacobs School conduct ground-breaking research that leads to medical breakthroughs and innovations that serve the patients of the region and beyond. In addition to providing health care benefits in the community, these innovations lead to spin-off companies that contribute to the economy of the region.

While the Jacobs School is set up for success with its move downtown, we believe with the state’s continued commitment we can fully realize the vision laid out for the governor back in 2011. With an additional investment, the Jacobs School would move forward with a number of important initiatives, including faculty hiring in critical areas of need such as opioid addiction, aging, medical genetics, and primary care; educational initiatives to make our faculty more effective teachers; improving the diversity of our faculty, staff, and students to serve an increasingly diverse community; reduce health care disparities by including more underrepresented minorities in clinical trials and by better understanding the social determinants of health; and growing the Jacobs School’s research portfolio so that it can continue to improve the quality of care for the people of Western New York.

State support is critical to the future success of the Jacobs School, the continued success of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, and the health of the people of our region. We are asking Gov. Cuomo and the state Legislature to support the future of medicine with the continued development of the Jacobs School in the enacted budget for fiscal year 2020.

Michael Cain is dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

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