2008 Annual Report

We have the 2008 Annual Report, complete with leadership teams, available as an electronic download (pdf)


A Message From the Chair

Thomas S. Richards
Thomas S. Richards
Board Chair - URMC

I am pleased to introduce the Medical Center’s Annual Report for 2008. As you will see from the Report, 2008 was a year of significant accomplishment and change. However, as I look back, so was every year that I have been privileged to serve on the Medical Center Board. Driving and celebrating progress is one of the most satisfying aspects of that service.

With the challenges in the economy and the implications for health care funding, you could make the argument that 2008 was, perhaps, a little too interesting. I am pleased that it did not derail our progress or keep us from looking to the future. What we do at the Medical Center is not optional; it is essential to the patients we serve, to our community and, in the long run, to the future of human health. This applies across the spectrum from basic science discoveries that may not reach the bedside for a decade, to the routine examination of a healthy patient or the first dental care given to a youngster aboard a Smilemobile. The University of Rochester Medical Center is here for the long run, so shifts in the economy or government policy must be managed with a clear eye to the future.

With that in mind, I am particularly pleased that 2008 saw the completion of the ten-year strategic plan. It is an exciting and challenging blueprint for the future. As Dr. Berk describes, the plan reinforces our commitment to the long-standing missions of research, education, patient care and community health, while preparing us to lead the nation in translational medicine. If you have not already done so, I urge you to review the plan online.

This was the second and final year of my two-year term as Chairman of the Medical Center Board. It was a pleasure, as have been my previous years of service on the Board. I can think of no other volunteer activity that provides the opportunity to have as broad a combined impact on the health, welfare and economic development of our community. My fellow Board members, who I know share my enthusiasm for our responsibilities, have my thanks and admiration. I look forward to continuing to serve on the Board and to supporting the leadership of the new Chairman, Ronald Zarrella.

Thomas Richards

A Message from the CEO

Thomas S. Richards
Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D. CEO, URMC Senior Vice President for Health Sciences

It’s been a year of great achievement, a time that validated our previous efforts and highlighted our exciting potential. It was also a year that brought sobering decisions and careful prioritization, a year in which challenges made us stronger.

In 2008, the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) unveiled a ten-year strategic plan, the sequel to the remarkably successful 1996 plan which reinvigorated our research, education, and patient care missions. The current strategic plan restructures and prepares us to lead the nation in translational medicine. It focuses our research, teaching, and patient care around five priority areas – integrated disease programs – in which we plan to transform the patient experience. In addition, we’ve identified four new emerging scientific areas – innovative science programs – that will catalyze discoveries within these signature programs.

In January of 2008, the strategic plan was jumpstarted when New York State agreed to provide $50 million toward the construction of our Clinical and Translational Science Building (CTSB), the centerpiece of our effort to speed innovation from laboratory to the bedside. In early October, we celebrated when the State approved the addition of up to 123 more beds, a milestone in our plan to improve access, safety, quality, and service.

Few, however, could have predicted the historic financial meltdown that began rocking the nation last fall. The fiscal crisis within the state and federal government rippled to the Medical Center, forcing us to rapidly reduce costs and increase revenues. Fortunately, we faced this challenge with the clear advantage of an integrated financial and management structure, and the creativity of board members, administrative leaders, faculty and staff who are determined to see us thrive. Their ideas are not only improving cost-efficiency, but are making us safer, higher quality, and more patient-centered. Thanks to them, we’re in a better position than ever to take full advantage of future opportunities.

Throughout this challenging period, URMC has retained its momentum. As this report will testify, the University of Rochester was recently rated among the top 10 non-profit institutions in the nation in the magazine’s annual ranking of “Best Places to Work” for scientists in the life sciences. The James P. Wilmot Cancer Center won a coveted, $11.5 million Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant for lymphoma research, a giant leap toward recapturing National Cancer Institute designation. The Empire State Stem Cell Board awarded URMC investigators more than $6.8 million in funding. Despite its fiscal crisis, the State has also reinforced its $50 million commitment so that soon construction will begin on the nation’s first CTSB.

Those developments remind us that there is always opportunity in the face of challenge. I’m more convinced than ever that URMC’s trajectory of growth and excellence will be uninterrupted.

Bradford C. Berk