Dr. Brad Berk to Serve Second Term as Medical Center CEO

April 02, 2012

University President Joel Seligman today announced that Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D. will serve a second, five-year term as Senior Vice President and CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center. Berk’s reappointment was approved by the University of Rochester Board of Trustees last month.

"No area of the University faces quite the range of challenges that the Medical Center does today in terms of its budget, structure, technology, response to new demands for alternative forms of health care delivery, and challenges to support of basic and clinical research,” said University President Joel Seligman. 

“Brad has assembled a senior leadership team at the Medical Center who, working with him, has done an outstanding job implementing the Medical Center's strategic plan, formally approved by the University Board in 2008, addressing ongoing needs to expand and modernize medical facilities, making difficult budget decisions in our hospitals and School of Medicine and Dentistry and School of Nursing, negotiating more supportive relationships with third party payors and beginning to implement a new and important regional strategy,” he said.

A Record of Achievement

The reappointment demonstrates the University’s confidence in Berk’s leadership at a critical juncture in the Medical Center’s history. As health care reform creates incentives for providers to increase the value, rather than the volume, of the care they provide, URMC has substantially increased its quality and patient safety initiatives. Inspired by his own experiences following a serious spinal cord injury in 2009, Berk has also driven URMC to adopt a rigorous approach to patient- and family-centered care, an effort that is boosting patient satisfaction scores across the health system. In 2011, a record number of clinical programs – four adult and three pediatric specialties – earned Top 50 rankings in U.S. News & World Report. 

“Brad Berk has the experience and insight needed to drive the Medical Center’s continued success,” said Edmund Hajim, chairman of the University of Rochester Board of Trustees.  “He brings a steady, thoughtful hand to a world that’s changing rapidly.  We are delighted to renew his appointment.” 

During Berk’s tenure, federal research funding to URMC scientists reached an all-time high, with stimulus funds compounding the rise.  The Medical Center also opened a number of new facilities, including the Saunders Research Building which houses URMC’s Clinical and Translational Research Institute and a freestanding URMC Ambulatory Surgery Center at Sawgrass. Later this spring, a four-story addition atop the Wilmot Cancer Center will open, adding 42 new much-needed inpatient beds. Construction will begin this year on a new 237,000-square-foot Golisano Children’s Hospital, the centerpiece of a $100 million fundraising campaign for pediatric facilities and programs. The campaign is the single largest component of the Medical Center’s $650 million The Meliora Challenge, the largest capital campaign in the University of Rochester’s history. Even through the economic downturn, the Medical Center has also maintained excellent financial results, providing vital resources for transformation. 

“Time and again, Brad Berk has proven that he is absolutely the right person to lead the Medical Center through significant changes – both within the organization and in the way health care will be delivered in the future,” said Robert Latella, URMC Board Chair. “That’s why our board wholeheartedly supported his reappointment.” 

Planning for the Future

Despite URMC’s impressive performance over the last five years, Berk faces formidable challenges as his leadership team develops its new strategic plan. National health care reform will demand fresh approaches to health care delivery and financing – and poses threats to revenues that have supported the clinical and academic missions. As health care delivery evolves, medical and nursing schools must shift the way they educate and train future clinicians. Federal funding for biomedical research has tightened, making it more difficult for investigators to maintain steady grant support. 

Within the next few months, Berk and his team complete a new strategic plan that will serve as a roadmap for the next five years. The plan will prepare URMC for greater quality, cost, and satisfaction transparency and position it to assume risk for populations of patients. It will guide URMC’s regional strategy, create a clinical structure that aligns physicians with hospitals, nursing homes and home care providers, and ensure competitive research and education missions. Implementing this ambitious plan will require intense focus, a fact that has caused Berk to reduce and continue reducing his role in research projects to concentrate more fully on leading as CEO. 

“I am excited about URMC’s future because we’ve assembled outstanding teams inspired with a shared vision. In our strategic plan, we will leverage our culture of patient- and family-centered care along with cutting-edge research. Our goal is to become nationally respected for innovation and excellence while providing superb care locally and regionally,” Berk said. “I can’t imagine a more exciting time to be in health care.” 

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