Release Date: September 9, 2016
BUFFALO, N.Y. – The University at Buffalo announced today that the 35 practicing radiologists employed by Great Lakes Medical Imaging (GLMI) are joining the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences as full-time faculty members in the Department of Radiology. They also will provide care to the community as clinicians with UBMD Radiology and UB’s hospital partners in the Great Lakes Health System.
Kenneth D. Pearsen, MD, the co-founder and former president of GLMI, has been appointed chair of the Department of Radiology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; he has also been named president of the UBMD Radiology practice plan. Angelo DelBalso, MD, DDS, who served as chair of the UB Department of Radiology, has returned to the faculty full-time.
The UBMD Radiology practice plan will provide radiology services to Buffalo General Medical Center as GLMI has done for years. The new agreement also makes UBMD Radiology the sole provider of radiology services at Erie County Medical Center.
The move is an important step forward for the Great Lakes Health System, the planning entity comprised of UB, Kaleida Health and ECMC, created in 2006 by the Berger Commission, whose mission was to restructure and streamline the hospital and nursing home industries in New York State.
The new arrangement could not have happened without the strong collaborative relationships among the three partners, according to Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences at UB and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Legislative amendments passed by the New York State Senate in April that allow ECMC to further integrate health care delivery among the Great Lakes Health partners also played a role.
“This is a major success story for Great Lakes Health,” Cain said. “This transition takes advantage of the very talented pool of radiologists at Great Lakes Medical Imaging and complements the strong collaborations between the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and our hospital partners at Kaleida Health, ECMC and elsewhere on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
“The transitioning of the radiologists from Great Lakes Medical Imaging into the UB Department of Radiology and UBMD Radiology will re-energize radiological care, education and science in Western New York, providing UB medical students with a solid foundation in the science of imaging and how it applies to patient care.”
Toward reestablishing a radiology residency
Cain explained that a critical benefit of the new arrangement is that it allows the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to re-establish a residency program in radiology. In 2006, the school voluntarily withdrew the program from the national accreditation process conducted by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education, partly as a response to the departure of several faculty members.
The need to re-establish a medical residency training program in Western New York was a key motivation for the new arrangement, according to Pearsen. Medical residency programs provide training in a medical or surgical specialty for medical school graduates; they typically last three to seven years.
“Residency education is the primary pathway to securing the future of our specialty,” Pearsen said, “assuring that Buffalo has a steady supply of expertly-trained radiology specialists to service our community for the foreseeable future and beyond.”
The school begins the residency application process this year with the goal of enrolling its first class of radiology residents in 2018.
Improving research and patient care
In addition to filling the pipeline of local radiologists, the new UB radiology faculty members will help bolster the provision of radiological services to Western New Yorkers through outpatient facilities with UBMD Radiology and at Buffalo General Medical Center and ECMC.
Cain added that the new faculty also will advance clinical research in the field, complementing the highly-acclaimed basic science and radiation physics research performed by Stephen Rudin, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Daniel R. Bednarek, PhD, professor, both in the Department of Radiology.
Jody Lomeo, president and chief executive officer of Great Lakes Health and Kaleida Health said, “This is another step forward for Kaleida Health, ECMC, UB -- and now Great Lakes Medical Imaging. We are working together every day to better serve our patients as well as this community. This type of collaboration is another example of this. Just as important, the partnership will help advance the teaching mission and fill the pipelines of radiologists here in Western New York.”
“This important initiative reinforces precisely what was envisioned by the partner organizations that came together as the Great Lakes Health System, fostering strong collaborative efforts that ultimately provide the highest quality health care options for the residents of Western New York,” said Thomas J. Quatroche Jr., PhD, president and chief executive officer, Erie County Medical Center Corporation.
“The addition of GLMI radiologists to UB’s Department of Radiology will educate future radiologists to care for patients in our region and will add an even higher level of medical service capability for ECMC, Kaleida and UB, which will ultimately benefit the patients we serve,” he added.
Pearsen explained how the new initiative would benefit the provision of radiological services in the community.
“UBMD Radiology will create an unprecedented, integrated imaging network serving the Great Lakes Health System, including Buffalo General Medical Center and Erie County Medical Center, as well as the numerous specialty services under the umbrella of UBMD,” he said. “In addition, UBMD Radiology will provide radiologic expertise at our multiple GLMI outpatient sites canvassing Western New York. This transition will provide imaging expertise from the most rural locations to the bedside at our most specialized hospital locations.
“As UBMD Radiology, we will now be able to strengthen our collaboration with other UBMD specialty practices throughout Western New York, including neurosurgery, orthopaedics, neurology, general surgery and internal medicine, to name a few,” Pearsen continued. “This will ensure the highest educational standards and most comprehensive collaborative health care service in the region.”
Pearsen noted that he has been a hospital-based radiologist and educator throughout his career, dating back to his training in Boston at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and that he is anxious to give back to the Western New York community, where he has lived and worked for the past 25 years. He is quick to note that it will be a true team effort.
“I am privileged to have as my partners among the best-trained physicians in the country from programs including Harvard, Georgetown, University of Rochester and Stanford,” he said. “Collectively, we are up to the task of unequivocally placing radiology training and education back on the map in Buffalo to stay.”