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Statement by SUNY Upstate Medical University on Plans to Proceed with the Creation of a Comprehensive Children's Center for Central New York

With the announcement today of our new pediatrics chairman, Dr. Thomas B. Welch of the Children's Hospital Medical Center of Cincinnati, SUNY Upstate Medical University, is making clear its commitment to developing a comprehensive Children's Center for Central New York.

The search for a new chairman for SUNY Upstate's Department of Pediatrics has been a long and exhaustive one that has involved input from all quarters of the university. The desire for SUNY Upstate to take a leading role in bringing a comprehensive Children's Center to Central New York has been an overarching theme of all our discussions with candidates for the post of pediatrics chair. Our choice to make good on this commitment is Dr. Thomas B. Welch, director of the division of nephrology and hypertension at the Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati and professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Dr. Welch brings with him a record of extraordinary success in the areas of teaching, research, clinical service and leadership.

The appointment of Dr. Welch is one of the first steps we have taken toward this goal of bringing a comprehensive Children's Center to Central New York.

The benefits of a Children's Center are well-documented. It would strengthen the current level of pediatric care in the region, provide parents with a more comprehensive medical care delivery system in the area of pediatrics and provide greater access for families to new medical technologies and clinical studies. From a business perspective, a children's center would eliminate the unnecessary duplication of physician services in the community, as well as duplication of clinical and administrative staff in pediatric services.

The idea of a Children's Center in Central New York is not new. Indeed this issue has been addressed now for several years. Yet despite the overwhelming support for a Children's Hospital from pediatricians and other medical professionals, no action to date has moved us in the direction of making this idea a reality.

With the support of SUNY Upstate administration, Dr. Welch will develop and oversee action plans and strategies that will outline a series of steps designed to consolidate the wide variety of children's health services available in this area into a more cohesive arrangement that will provide the public with a more focused approach and delivery of these services.

Dr. Welch has begun his work with a review of pediatric services available at University Hospital. Today, University Hospital treats nearly 40,000 infants, children and adolescents with more than 40 pediatric services, such as hematology and oncology at our Center for Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders, psychiatric services, diabetes, spinal bifida, communication disorders and other specialties.

It is our desire that through this review we will be in a better position to assess what specific needs we have when it comes to physical space and how we can more optimally use this space to host all of our children's services and identify ways we can bring geographically distant pediatric services into the current University Hospital environment. This review has helped us to identify new faculty and research needs.

As with all plans, there is a cost. We have asked, through the SUNY budget process, for funding to develop an area within University Hospital where we might consolidate all children's services. This area would be the focus of all future development toward our goal of creating this comprehensive Children's Center.

We look forward very much to working with physicians and other medical professionals throughout Central New York as we move ahead to create the best in medical services for our children.