Guthrie Health Links to University of Rochester Medical Center

January 20, 2004

Guthrie Health and the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) have announced plans to affiliate the two organizations, spreading access to the Medical Center’s important clinical trials and teaching opportunities to New York’s southern tier and northern Pennsylvania.   

Last month, leaders from both organizations met to ink an affiliation agreement that establishes a Joint Steering Committee to oversee the implementation of the partnership.  This 10-member committee, which will include equal representation from each organization, will meet quarterly to set and review annual objectives.  Guthrie and URMC plan to recruit an administrator who will work with lead representatives from both systems to implement a collaborative that will expand basic science, clinical research and medical education, and enhance patient care in the region. 

By linking with URMC, Guthrie Health has an opportunity to build on its current research efforts, “taking our program to the next level,” said Mark Stensager, CEO of Guthrie Healthcare System and Co-CEO of Guthrie Health. “It also positions both organizations to take advantage of the National Institutes of Health’s growing emphasis on research that directly translates into patient care innovation.” 

Together, the two systems will develop a strategic plan for Guthrie Health’s research program, collaborating on basic science research and making URMC clinical trials available to the approximately 450,000 patients in the Guthrie network.  Involving more patients in the University’s NIH-funded population based trials helps researchers to track more rapidly and efficiently the effectiveness of therapies over time. 

In addition, Guthrie and URMC will work together on Human Subjects Protection, processes by which scientists guarantee the safety of patients enrolled in research studies.  Earlier this year, URMC was named as one of 150 institutions to win a $250,000 NIH grant to work with other regional research centers to improve Human Subjects Protection.  As participants in the URMC collaborative, investigators and research oversight staff at Guthrie Health and Cornell University will receive training from URMC, as well as informal consultations. 

“Together with Guthrie, this clearly establishes the University of Rochester Medical Center as the hub for biomedical research in the region,” said C. McCollister “Mac” Evarts, CEO of URMC.  “We are delighted to have this opportunity to work with the fine physicians in the Guthrie network to extend leading-edge studies to more patients – while improving the protection of all patients involved in research.”

Under the terms of the affiliation agreement, Guthrie physicians will also be eligible to apply for faculty positions at the University of Rochester.  In addition, the two systems will study opportunities for students and residents associated with Guthrie to participate in rotations within Strong Health hospitals.  Guthrie physicians will also be able to take advantage of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry’s Continuing Medical Education (CME) offerings, required programs that keep practicing physicians up-to-date on the latest medical information.

“This sort of collaboration and information exchange will be a useful tool in improving patient care for both organizations,” Evarts said.  “We look forward to hosting groups of Guthrie physicians for training in programs such as robotic surgery and developing a host of other collaborative educational opportunities.”

Guthrie Health is dedicated to providing high-quality and accessible health care that meets the needs of the entire family.  A not-for-profit health care organization formed by Guthrie Clinic and Guthrie Healthcare System, Guthrie Health includes primary care and specialty physicians, a regional trauma center, community hospitals, and a research institute as well as home care and long-term care facilities.  Through its regional network of physician offices and facilities, Guthrie Health offers a wide range of services and programs designed to enhance the health and well-being of those it serves.

The University of Rochester Medical Center is the locus of medical knowledge and expertise for the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York. The Medical Center is composed of the School of Medicine and Dentistry, the School of Nursing, the Eastman Dental Center, the University of Rochester Medical Faculty Group, and Strong Health – a patient care network of hospitals, long term care facilities, home care services, and more than 1,000 affiliated providers in primary, specialty and sub-specialty care.

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Teri D'Agostino
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