David R. Smith, MD, President

Dr. David Smith, was appointed president of Upstate Medical University in 2006, with more than 30 years of prior experience in health care, academic administration and public service.

Since coming to Central New York, Dr. Smith has reenergized the Upstate campus in a time of dwindling State resources with an aggressive program of patient revenue and research growth.

Economic Engine of the CNY Region

The Upstate campus has emerged as one of the true economic engines of the region. There are now over 9,200 State, research and contract jobs on campus and an all-funds budget that exceeds $1.3 billion. Dr. Smith has built upon a vigorous expansion and renewal of campus facilities with “The Upstate Initiative” which is achieving $600 million worth of bricks-and-mortar projects. Included in that is a long-awaited repurposing of several neglected properties within the City of Syracuse.

At the start of his presidency, Dr. Smith launched the Engaging Excellence campaign as his invitation to the entire SUNY Upstate community to achieve and recognize work of the highest standard. The centerpiece of Engaging Excellence was the development of a 10-year strategic plan for purposeful campus growth.

He also launched several initiatives to improve instructional facilities, to support faculty and research growth, to develop a regional strategy to address healthcare and provider shortages, and to increase scholarships-including the campus' first matching gift campaign. Most recently in 2011, the Upstate campus expanded with the acquisition of Upstate University Hospital at Community Campus.

Previous Appointments

Prior to his appointment at SUNY Upstate, Dr. Smith served as Chancellor of Texas Tech University from 2001 to 2006. There he developed a strategic plan with a student-based focus that included an accountability scorecard for the System. Under his leadership, the Texas Tech System launched an aggressive five-year $450 million academic and research initiative designed to garner and invest resources in three critical areas: people, technology and facilities.

Before his appointment to Chancellor, Dr. Smith served for more than five years as President of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and Dean of the School of Medicine and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. During his presidency, more than $150 million was secured from fund raising to improve the academic and research enterprise of the Health Sciences Center, the faculty was expanded and federally funded research tripled.

From 1992-1996, Dr. Smith served as the Commissioner of the Texas Department of Health, an agency with a $7 billion annual operating budget. From 1989 to 1992, Smith served as the Senior Vice President of Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, and as the Chief Executive Officer and Medical Director of Parkland's Community Oriented Primary Care Program.

Dr. Smith holds a number of professional memberships including American Public Health Association, Medical Society of the State of New York, and Onondaga County Medical Association. In 1996 he was the recipient of the American Medical Association's Dr. Nathan Davis Award, the organization's highest award for outstanding public service. He has been a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics since 1985.

Professional Affiliations

Dr. Smith has served on numerous local and national boards throughout his career. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the National Board of Trustees for the March of Dimes and is on the Board of Directors of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges (NASULGC). Since joining SUNY Upstate, Dr. Smith has been elected to the board of directors of the Metropolitan Development Association, the University Hill Corporation, CNY Biotechnology Research Center, Syracuse 20/20 and the SUNY Upstate Medical Association.

A native of Ohio, Smith received his bachelor's degree from Cornell University and a medical degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He completed his pediatric residency and chief residency at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Dr. Smith is married to Donna Bacchi, MD, MPH, a board certified pediatrician. The Smiths have two grown children, Christopher and Jocelyn.