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The University Magazine

Building a healthy future together

Partnership will strengthen two Rochester institutions and improve health care in the region

RIT President Bill Destler, left, and RGHS President and CEO Mark Clement announce the strategic partnership at a press conference.

Under the umbrella of a new strategic alliance, RIT will become the Rochester General Health System's official academic affiliate and RGHS will become the university's official affiliated medical center.

"Biomedical science is fast becoming a kind of information science in which RIT's expertise in areas such as information technology, nanotechnology, robotics and imaging can play an increasingly important role," says RIT President Bill Destler. "This alliance will build on these and other strengths to create tremendous opportunities for our students, faculty and staff, as well as the Greater Rochester community."

As technology continues to transform biomedical science, academic areas like computing and information sciences and digital imaging offer increasing relevance to future advancements in medicine. Through the alliance, RIT and RGHS will collaborate on education and research programs in these and other key areas – a collaboration that will include mutual access to each institution's expertise and facilities.

Areas of collaboration include engineering, microsystems, medical imaging and medical device research. Such an alliance offers broader application opportunities to faculty and students in existing RIT academic areas such as medical illustration, biomedical photographic communication, medical informatics, physician assistant education, medical sonography, biomedical science and technology, biochemistry, health management and public health policy.

RIT and RGHS already have many points of connection. Currently, RGHS provides approximately 42 percent of the clinical training placements for students in RIT's Physician Assistant program. A number of the program's clinical instructors and adjunct faculty are affiliated with RGHS. RIT students in the diagnostic medical sonography program train in the Radiology and OB/GYN departments at Rochester General, and the majority of sonographers on staff trained at RIT.

"Rochester General Hospital and its affiliates take great pride in being nationally recognized for clinical excellence, and we are committed to identifying ongoing opportunities to deliver the highest quality care and service for our patients," says Mark Clement, president and CEO of Rochester General Health System. "A strategic alliance that allows both RGHS and RIT to leverage our combined knowledge and resources opens yet another channel to the rapid advancements in biomedical sciences and biotechnology, and may have a very positive impact on the care we deliver."

RIT's Board of Trustees and the RGHS' Board of Directors will establish a joint steering team that will work to develop a framework for the alliance. The framework will be brought back to the two boards for ratification later this year.

In addition, the two organizations are holding a series of community symposiums, "Innovations in Health Care Delivery and Design." The intent of this series is to engage community leaders in serious discussions about the management of the health and health care of the community through innovative financing, benefit design and clinical management of care.

"While the quality of health care in Rochester is already excellent, this effort could bring the level of quality and innovation to even higher levels," says Michael Morley, chair of the RIT Board of Trustees and RGHS board member. "This alliance would concentrate intellectual resources in such a way as to draw additional students, professionals and business ventures to the Rochester area."

Bob Finnerty '07

Web extra:
An audio podcast of the press conference with script can be found at: www.rit.edu/podcasts.