Excellus BCBS Gives $6M to Wilmot Cancer Center for Research, Workforce Education

Cutting-Edge Research and Clinical Programs Will Improve Local Patient Care

May 01, 2008

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield has generously contributed $6 million to support the expansion of clinical care and cancer research and the development of the future healthcare workforce at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

This is Excellus BCBS’ largest gift to the Medical Center and the largest corporate gift to the Wilmot Cancer Center. The money will be used to support construction of the new facility and expand cancer care. The clinical translational research floor will be named in recognition of the gift.

“We all know the tremendous cost to individuals, their families and our community that cancer causes,” said Zeke Duda, chief financial officer for Excellus BCBS. “Supporting research that can lessen that impact benefits everyone.”

“This is a tremendous demonstration of support from our partners in health care,” said Joel Seligman, president of the University of Rochester.

The Wilmot Cancer Center is raising $42.5 million to construct a new facility to double clinical and research space, consolidate outpatient cancer care and research laboratories in a single location, recruit additional scientists and build translational research programs to find cures. To date, nearly $38 million has been raised.

“We are committed to conducting novel research to continue improving cancer diagnosis, treatment and survival,” said Richard I. Fisher, M.D., director of the Wilmot Cancer Center. “The support from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield will enhance research efforts and improve training for clinical staff who care for people with cancer.

“The University of Rochester Medical Center has an increasingly important role in our community, not only as a nationally recognized provider of clinical services but also as the lead institution training the physicians who will care for us in the future,” said David Klein, chief executive officer of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “There is no more important investment Excellus BCBS can make than to develop tomorrow’s doctors. Many of the physicians that train here end up practicing medicine here. Given the quality of URMC, it is a way of insuring the quality of care we receive today will be available tomorrow.”

The Wilmot Cancer Center has charted an ambitious plan to become one of the country’s top cancer centers. Over the past four years, more than 20 scientists and clinicians have been recruited to bolster research and patient care programs.

The opening of the new state-of-the-art, 163,000-square-foot facility, located at the corner of East Drive and Crittenden Boulevard, will raise the bar for cancer care in Rochester and the Finger Lakes region. This new building, set to open in mid-May, was designed with patient comfort at the forefront and will offer unprecedented levels of privacy, educational opportunities and ease of access.

“Cancer is a pervasive disease that impacts so many people. We are committed to providing outstanding cancer care and cutting-edge research. It is a top priority for the Medical Center,” said Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of the Medical Center and senior vice president for Health Sciences. “The Wilmot Cancer Center is key to the future growth of the Medical Center and we are pleased to see Excellus’ gift support our efforts.”

“Expanding our programs will let people of the Finger Lakes region stay close to home for the very best cancer care,” Fisher said. “The new, larger cancer center facility allows us to care for the growing number of people who are facing a cancer diagnosis. We can readily accommodate their need for high-quality care and better serve the growing number of people from outside the Finger Lakes region who seek our multidisciplinary care.”

As the leader in cancer care, research and education in the Finger Lakes region, Wilmot’s team of 400 doctors, nurses, scientists and staff provide diagnosis and multidisciplinary clinical care for all forms of cancer.

###

For Media Inquiries:
Leslie White
(585) 273-1119
Email Leslie White