URMC 2009 Annual Report

Bradford Berk and Mark Taubman

By any measure, 2009 will be remembered as a year in which the University of Rochester Medical Center thrived amid a confluence of events that tested our mettle. 

Through much of the year, we grappled with the nation’s sudden economic shift that threatened our own fiscal security.  Plans for a major clinical expansion, the centerpiece of our new Strategic Plan, were put on hold because of financial uncertainty.  Our scientists aggressively pursued research funding despite a flat NIH core budget.  The national debate over reforming health care yielded a dizzying array of proposals, with at times, troubling implications.   Dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., accepted a post as the top physician leader at the University of Florida.  And, in May, CEO Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D., suffered a serious spinal cord injury. 

These events may have dispirited a less focused and driven organization.  Although it may seem cliché, there’s no question that our responses to these challenges have made the University of Rochester Medical Center stronger, more competitive, more successful. 

Our Fiscal Fitness initiative trimmed $40 million in expenses throughout the Medical Center with very few job losses, carving a leaner, more nimble operation that is better positioned for health care reform.  Savings have enabled us to begin deploying a new electronic medical record, a tool that will make our hospitals safer, better, and more attentive to patient needs. 

Rethinking our bed expansion plans resulted in a two-step approach that opens new beds sooner while incurring less debt than the original plan.  Meanwhile, $50 million in State support enabled us to break ground on the nation’s first dedicated Clinical and Translational Science Building.  Buoyed by $26 million in federal stimulus funding, URMC’s NIH research portfolio is up by nearly one-third, which will translate into additional jobs and research breakthroughs.  Plus, confidence in URMC’s science generated one of the largest philanthropic gifts ever to the Medical Center from local entrepreneur Ernest J. Del Monte. 

Even sudden changes in management created the opportunity for new leaders to emerge and current leaders to shine; together, they did more than simply stabilize the ship.  On the eve of Dr. Berk’s return as full-time CEO, we celebrate his personal tenacity and the strength of an enduring strategic vision in the face of daunting challenge.  In 2009, URMC forged a new definition for resilience.

Message from URMC Board Chair

Ron ZarrellaClick here to read Board Chair Ron Zarrella's message to the community