New president, expansions, collaborations, accolades highlight 2016

New president, expansions, collaborations, accolades highlight 2016

SYRACUSE, N.Y.-- January 2016 ushered in a new era for Upstate MedicalUniversity when Danielle Laraque-Arena, MD, FAAP, became theuniversity’s seventh president, the first woman ever to assume thisrole. Chancellor Nancy Zimpher officially installed Laraque-Arena April15 during ceremonies that highlighted the many cultures representedamong Upstate’s student body. At the event, Laraque-Arena announced anew series of presidential symposia titled Connected to the Future. Thefirst in the series, held in October, focused on genetics and precisionmedicine. The series will continue through 2017.

2016 also was a year marked by campus expansions, redesigns, andmoves; collaborations to meet health care needs, locally and globally;and new initiatives and accolades in patient care, education andcommunity giving.

Here are a few of the many highlights:

Infrastructure and Sustainability

Upstate’s new Academic Building opened Sept. 7, housing the Collegeof Nursing, select programs of the College of Health Professions andserving as a site for College of Medicine courses. A new ambulatory carecenter will be built, aided by a $70.6 million state grant, that willhouse primary care, behavioral health and specialty services, and avariety of other patient care services that will support a patient’stransition from acute medical care facilities back into the community. Anew $3 million pediatric emergency department at the Downtown Campuswas unveiled Aug. 9, doubling the size of its former unit and providingchildren’s emergency care in a location separate from that of adults.Upstate opened the Medical Innovation and Novel Discovery Center--UpstateMIND--the newest feature of the CNY Biotech Accelerator that promises tobe Central New York’s newest hot spot to nurture startups andfacilitate innovative thinking in science, medicine, engineering,business and product development. In a phased-in move, Upstate relocated400 of its employees closer to campus at the Galleries of Syracuse,adding to the downtown workforce. Always a leader in sustainability,Upstate won the 2016 Environmental Excellence Award from the New YorkState Department of Environmental Conservation for its sustainabilityefforts, leading to dramatic decreases in the institution’s carbonfootprint.


The Reinvestment Fund and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation selectedUpstate and a team of Syracuse organizations to participate in the Invest Health initiativewhere Upstate will connect with a vibrant learning community of citiescarrying out efforts toward improved health. Claxton-Hepburn MedicalCenter teamed up with Upstate University Hospital’s Comprehensive StrokeCenter, bringing to five the number of regional hospitals partneringwith Upstate University Hospital on stroke care. Precision medicine isthe foundation of the SUNY Institute for Precision Cancer Research,Education and Care (IPCREC), a new initiative of Upstate Medical and itspartners. And, Boston IVF and Upstate announced a partnership that isbringing advanced fertility services to individuals and couples incentral New York.

Upstate University Hospital

Upstate was named a National Pancreas Foundation (NPF) Center forCare and Treatment of Pancreas Disease, one of only 37 medicalinstitutions nationwide and the only one in New York outside of New YorkCity. The American Heart Association/American Stroke Associationrecognized Upstate with elite designations, demonstrating to patientsthat Upstate provides the most appropriate stroke treatment according tonationally recognized guidelines. Excellus BlueCross BlueShielddesignated Upstate as one of the first hospitals to receive the BlueDistinction Center for Maternity Care designation. The Community Campuswas also recognized by The American College of Surgeons NationalSurgical Quality Improvement as one of only 60 out of more than 600 ACSNSQIP participating hospitals to achieve meritorious outcomes forsurgical patient care. Upstate became the firsthospital in New York state to receive designation as a Center ofExcellence for Hip & Knee Replacement by DNV GL-Healthcare, anational hospital-accrediting agency. The stateDepartment of Health awarded Upstate a five-year $1 million grant tosupport Upstate’s newly created program to keep vulnerable populationsfree of HIV. Health & Hospitals Networks listed Upstate as a 2016Most Wired Hospital by use of technology to streamline patient care,create simpler and more accessible interactions for patients andincrease clinical efficiencies.


Upstate and its partners received nearly $2 million in funding fromSUNY to recruit top researchers to advance initiatives for more preciseapproaches for disease treatment and prevention and to create pathwaysfor biostatics/bioinformatics educational programs. Upstate launched theGlobal Maternal Child and Pediatric Health Program to address theglobal health issues women face during pregnancy and children faceduring early childhood. Upstate research that is leading to a greaterunderstanding of how to control the spread of mosquito-borne Zika anddengue viruses is among nine projects in the nation that collectivelyreceived $1.7 million in rapid response, or RAPID, grants from theNational Science Foundation (NSF). The Carol M. Baldwin Breast CancerResearch Fund Inc. continues to sponsor two annual endowed lectureshipsfocused on breast cancer developments and to annually support fivebreast cancer research studies at Upstate with $250,000 in fundingthrough its allocations program.

The academic experience

Upstate President Danielle Laraque-Arena, MD, FAAP, awarded 479degrees and 3 professional certificates to graduates of Upstate’s fourcolleges at Commencement in May. The biomedical and clinical researchinitiatives, evidence-based practices and case studies of 112 studentsfrom Upstate’s four colleges were spotlighted at the Charles R. RossMemorial Student Research Day, sponsored by the Office of the VicePresident for Research, Office of Academic Affairs and the College ofGraduate Studies. Upstate announced its new class of PresidentialStudent Ambassadors--23 students who represent various academic programsat Upstate and who serve as student representatives at variousuniversity functions, both on campus and off.

-In March, 98 percent of College of Medicine students were matched with residency positions--surpassing the nationalmatch rate of 94 percent. In all, 155 Upstate medical studentsparticipated in the 2016 National Match Day event. Also this year,Upstate established its first fellowship in addiction psychiatry,approved by The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Itis only one of eight such fellowships in New York. A new curriculum forincoming first-year medical students was introduced by Upstate,featuring greater integration of basic and clinical sciences andincorporating the addition of small group problem-solving classes aimedat increasing discussion of clinical, ethical, social, and populationhealth-related cases early in one’s medical education experience.

-The College of Graduate Studies hired a dedicatedperson to run its Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and the newly createdOffice of Graduate Career Development; it provided a robust schedule ofdevelopment workshops for their students, including a required programspecifically for its incoming students called “Six Steps to Success” anda more extensive program for students. Several female graduate studentsare mentoring girls from around the globe as part of the “1000 Girls,1000 Futures” program, sponsored by the Global STEM Alliance, aninternational initiative of the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) andGraduate Studies created a monthly newsletter, “Upstate Grad Update,”that includes recent publications, grant awards, events in the College,alumni news and meetings that students attend, also highlighted on thecollege’s Facebook page.

-Key outcomes for the College of Nursing includegrowth in enrollment, an increase in research scholarship, changes inleadership, and progress in improving processes through committee work.The college also received full accreditation for its DNP program, andwill soon launch an online BS degree program.

-The College of Health Professions is collaboratingwith the Syracuse City School District (SCSD) and other partners on anearly college high school program for SCSD students who are interestedin becoming clinical laboratory technicians, helping to meet the growingdemand for clinical laboratory medicine professionals.

Philanthropy and community outreach

-The Upstate Foundation raised more than $6.5million in 2016, awarding more than $6.0 million to support Upstate’sprograms and services, patients, faculty, students and researchers.Along with Upstate physicians, nurses, other health care professionalsand hospital leadership, the Foundation’s Grateful Patient & FamilyProgram raised more than $350,000 in its second year and through theFoundation’s 2015 Friend in Deed campaign, nearly $84,000 was awarded to28 patient care, research and patient education initiatives. In August,the Foundation celebrated the philanthropic spirit of the Central NewYork community when Upstate’s new pediatric emergency department wasunveiled, made possible in part by more than $1 million from generousdonors. John P. Gleason, CFRE, CAP®, was hired to develop and implement acomprehensive legacy giving program for the Foundation and Upstate wasincluded as a beneficiary in six bequests this year. The Health Professions and Nursing alumni associations conducted a small campaign for equipment and other needs in the newAcademic Building and the Nursing Alumni Association supported the firstofficial event in the building, the College of Nursing’s annualConvocation and Pinning Ceremony. One of the Foundation’s more than 900funds is providing seed money for a pancreatic cancer research projectbeing conducted by principal investigator Leszek Kotula, MD, PhD, andRahul Seth, MD, as clinical collaborator, and surgeon Dilip Kittur, MD.In addition, Brighter Beginnings, Upstate’s Campaign for Newborns beganraising funds to help renovate and expand the 53-year-old maternity unitand nursery at Upstate’s Community Campus. Proceeds of $357,000 fromthe 2016 gala were directed toward the project. The Foundation’s assetsmanaged total more than $150 million.

-At this year’s Scholarship Awards Presentation, the Medical Alumni Foundation awarded nearly $400,000 in scholarships, professorships and fellowshipsto more than 100 medical students. Scholarships continue to be theMedical College’s most critical area in need of support. This year,supporters of the Alumni Foundation established several new fundsincluding the McAnarney Family Scholarship; John ’84 & Debra AyresScholarship;  Jacob & Betty Reiss, M.D. ’68 Nightingale Fellowship;Class of 1971 and 1977 Scholarships to mention a few. Upstate PresidentLaraque-Arena announced during the 2016 Alumni Awards presentation, thenaming of the Leanne and Frank E. Young, MD ’56, PhD, Endowed Chair inBiomedical Science at Upstate.

-In 2016, The Advocates for Upstate Medical University awarded $100,000 in grants to 50 Upstate programs and projects throughits 2016-2017 grant-funding program that supports programs to enhancepatient care and advocate for the health and wellness of the Central NewYork community. In addition, nearly $5,000 was raised through theAdvocates’ annual golf tournament in September, benefitting Upstate’sMASH camp; $3$5,000 was raised through its annual signature fundraiser,Mystery and Merlot, this year benefiting the Community Campus FamilyBirth Center Postpartum Unit. Twenty-five scholarships were awarded toUpstate staff and volunteers totaling $35,000.

-Team Upstate continued to be successful inenhancing the quality of life for Central New Yorkers through itsvolunteer efforts. Upstate’s employees and students participated innumerous fund raising activities to help others in need. The CommunityGiving Campaign raised $516,880 to benefit community agencies, includingThe Upstate Foundation, thanks to the generosity of the 1,312 Upstateemployees and retirees who pledged to the 2015 campaign.

Caption: President Danielle Laraque-Arena, MD, FAAP, is cheered on by guests as she enters the auditorium at her inauguration ceremony in April.