100 Days of Summer Wellness

100 Days of Summer Wellness

September is the time of year we simultaneously love and dread. Summer fun and vacations are over, and we’re brought back to routine work and school schedules. On Campus, we see more medical students – working, eating, and commuting beside us, as the new semester starts. Our hospitals continue to deliver world-renowned health care around-the-clock, while seasonal vegetables pop up on cafeteria menus along with festive pumpkin decorations on the inpatient floors. This time of year carries a spirit of being given a fresh start and inspiring us to get back to the grind – similar to the New Year. Except instead of winter weather advisories and health resolutions there are pumpkin spice lattes and back to school sales!

With that, let’s reflect on how healthy we’ve been together for the past 100 days of wellness this summer:

  • Weekly Tuesday yoga class engaged 151 people in 780 minutes of physical activity, which is the equivalent of 13 hours of pure yogi bliss. Thank you Yogis in Service.
  • 3000+ healthy meals were sold from the Innovation Center’s Fresh Takes Smart Fridge.
  • Group bike rides on Friday afternoons shredded 3,570 calories for 71 miles. That’s like biking to Niagara on the Lake and back. Thank you Reddy Bikeshare.
  • 1000+ CSA shares were distributed campus wide, providing employees and their families with fresh local produce, conveniently delivered to them right at work.
  • On Walk on Wednesdays, we walked 319,600 steps and burned 12,772 calories over 160 miles, which basically means we walked from Buffalo to Toronto and back. #runforestrun
  • The opening of Healthy Scratch at Buffalo General Medical Center in June 2019.
  • There were 1,000+ bike rentals from Medical Campus Reddy Bikeshare stations and 1,400 rides through the BNMC zone.
  • All 25 food trucks in the BNMC Food Truck Rodeo offered certified healthy options.

With all these healthy wins, let’s capture that New Years spirit of determination and get right to it now, in September! My charge to you is to make it your healthiest month of 2019 – we have the best local produce of the season, the weather is just right for walking and biking outside, and football is starting so you’ll need the healthy activities to balance tailgating festivities. Check out our Fall Wellness schedule!

BNMC Elects David Zebro Chair of its Board of Directors

BNMC Elects David Zebro Chair of its Board of Directors

Buffalo, NY – David Zebro, Principal of Strategic Investments & Holdings, Inc., was elected Chair of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) Board of Directors at its June meeting last week.

“David is a natural choice to lead the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus as it continues to grow into a thriving Innovation District,” said Anthony B. Martino, immediate past BNMC Board Chair. “His longtime commitment to the institutions on the BNMC and the greater community as a whole give him a unique perspective on this collaborative community asset.”

Zebro served on the BNMC Board from 2004 – 2007 when he was wp-contentointed Chair of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute Corporation’s Board of Directors, and again as the first community at-large member on the BNMC Board from 2013 – 2016. His current term runs for two years with an option by the Board of Directors to renew for up to four more years.

“I am thrilled to continue to be a part of the BNMC,” said Zebro. “I look forward to supporting the organization’s growth and evolution as we seek to have an even greater positive impact in our community and beyond.”

David Zebro Biography (Photo)

David was born in Plattsburgh, New York, attended Plattsburgh High School, and later graduated from the State University College of New York at Plattsburgh with a degree in Political Science. He met his future wife, Susan Mortensen (originally from Kenmore, New York) while studying at SUNY Plattsburgh, and they married in 1973 and moved to Buffalo. David went on to receive an MBA from the University at Buffalo in 1975 with a major in Corporate Finance.

He started his career with Union Carbide and continued to grow his expertise in business/strategic planning, operations, and financial management with other companies in more senior positions.

Since 1984 David has been employed in the private equity sector as a Principal with Strategic Investments & Holdings, Inc., where he has been involved in over 80 companies.

In addition to his work with Strategic Investments & Holdings, Inc., David has been a board member with other private companies, often as Chair. He also served on the Boards of two public companies, First Niagara Bank and Casual Male.

David has a strong commitment to community, and has been involved as a volunteer, board member, or chair for many local organizations. He is a past Chair of the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation and the Roswell Park Governance Board of Directors. Additionally, David has been a past Chair of Goodwill Industries, Vice Chair of Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, and board member of the Great Lakes Hospital Board. David has also been a board member of the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo, and the Foundation of the State University College of New York at Plattsburgh, where he proudly works with the advancement of the EOP program and the Zebro Community Service Scholarship.

David and Susan have received numerous community awards over the years, and always encouraged their children’s commitment to the local Buffalo community. His son Ryan is involved with Hospice, and daughter Erin is involved with Roswell Park. David’s other daughter, Lauren, lives in New York City and is involved with the Parkinson’s Foundation – a disease that is connected with his wife Susan’s death in 2018.

David lives in East Amherst and enjoys spending time with his children and three grandsons. He is excited for the birth of another grandchild this August.

About the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc.

The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC): re-imagining our city’s future through the dynamic intersection of technology, health, discovery, and collaboration. The BNMC is a social enterprise focused on driving innovation in partnership with our community. The BNMC plays a significant role in driving positive change that builds a vibrant, innovative environment. We do this by improving infrastructure, managing our transportation system, creating a culture of health and wellbeing, driving innovation, and working with our partners to continue to build an innovative district that reflects the best of our community. In addition, the BNMC owns and operates more than 150,000 sq ft of incubator space, helping to grow emerging and mature companies through dynamic workspace, programming, and networking. www.bnmc-old.local


For more information: Kari Bonaro at BNMC, 202-904-7034

Connecting Buyers to Businesses at BNMC Procurement Fair on June 5th

Connecting Buyers to Businesses

Don’t miss the BNMC Procurement Fair on Thursday, June 6 from 2-4pm. This event is designed to introduce local minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses and buyers from large and medium-sized companies and organizations.

Who should attend:

Buyers – anyone who make purchasing decisions for their company

Women, minority, and veteran-owned businesses – Free tables for local MWBEs who want to highlight their goods or services designed for companies and large institutions

Tables are limited. Register by May 28th to reserve your space!

This free event will be held at UB’s Educational Opportunity Center at 555 Ellicott Street in Buffalo.

Free parking is available for attendees in the lot on N. Oak (off Goodell Street behind the building).

New England Farm to Institution Summit 2019: 5 Takeaways

BNMC’s Healthy Communities team attended the New England Farm to Institution Summit in Amherst, Mass. earlier this month to share how we’re creating a culture of health on the Medical Campus, and learn about other farm-to-institution programs across the country. We are excited to wp-contently some of these concepts to our own Farm-to-Hospital program here in Buffalo!
Congrats to R. Russ from Kaleida Health for winning the first $50 gift card to Homegrown Kitchen! There’s still time to complete the survey – share your thoughts with us today.

Here are some take-aways from Beth Machnica, our Healthy Communities Catalyst:

New England Farm to Institution Summit 2019: 5 Takeaways

There were many great lessons to be learned from attendees, presenters, exhibitors and others who participated in the 2019 New England Farm to Institution Summit. The Summit was held at University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA, where they are making strides in offering local, sustainable food. While we are highlighting our 5 takeaways below, there was one theme that came up often throughout the Summit – equity. We often forget about the people throughout the entire food system who make everything possible – from the people growing our food and caring for the land – to those processing our food, fishing our seas, moving the food to our stores and institutions, and serving the food in hospitals, schools, prisons and restaurants. We heard from Jose Oliva, the co-Director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance. According to Jose, there are over 20 million food chain employees, making it the largest employer, and unfortunately, they are some of the lowest paying jobs and in hazardous working conditions. While we consider all the other takeaways, working towards an equitable food system is something that we all need to challenge ourselves to work towards.  

1. Invite farmers to campus cafeterias.

A best practice for any farm to institution project includes bringing the farmers, growers, and fishermen right to where the food is served. It links consumers eating the food with the individuals who handpicked it, connecting people with the food system and the person that grew the food on their plate. This can also be done on a regular basis through marketing materials highlighting specific farms, and telling stories of specific farmers and families. Coordinating field trips is great to build the link with staff and students, but bringing the farmer to campus allows many more to make the connection.

2. Hospitals have a lot to learn from prisons and jails.

Among the schools, hospitals, and universities attending this Farm to Institution conference were also prisons and jails. For correctional facilities involved in the farm to institution movement the benefits are greater than just supporting local farmers, the ag economy, and providing healthier foods: it’s about transformative healing. State prisons engage inmates in gardening, nutrition classes, food preparation, eating healthy on a low budget, and composting. These initiatives have a far greater purpose than simply promoting health or teaching in-demand job skills. They build self-efficacy, empowerment, and promote mental and emotional wellbeing among inmates. These initiatives can easily be translated into a clinical setting to promote healing and well-being among patients and caretakers.

3. Healthcare needs to take on an advocacy role in food policy.

Our Healthy Communities team learned how policy influences much more than just food safety in institutional settings. The Food Safety Modernization Act, a federal law, incentivizes local sourcing within 400 miles and promotes food chain transparency, both of which are goals for the Farm to Hospital Initiative that BNMC is leading locally. This law supports BNMC institutions in increasing their procurement of local food. It also demonstrates the critical position hospitals hold in influencing systems change through food policy to align with health and well-being programs.

4. Define “Local”.

Having a definition of what local means is essential to a successful farm to institution program. Does local mean within state boundaries? Within 250 miles? Within the 8 counties of Western New York? Having a set standard creates boundaries that will determine the rest of the project scope – what farmers are available to work with in the radius, what current distribution networks exit within the boundary, and if there is enough local volume of a variety of products to meet the demand. Looking beyond geography is important as well. Including local impact in your definition and assessment includes the WHY. Why are we focused on local? We want to impact our local economy, including local agriculture, and business.

5. We Learned about Hyper-Local Seafood.

Being located in New England, naturally the food served at the conference included seafood. What made it interesting was having lunch with the fisherman who caught the seafood we were eating and also learning about the local fishery economy in New England specifically. The type of fish the fishermen specialize in is dogfish, which is overabundant in New England yet Americans traditionally don’t eat because of its off-putting name. As a result, the majority of dogfish gets exported to Europe, and this utilizes more resources, is less environmentally sustainable, and the fishermen don’t know who the end-consumer is. When institutions in New England purchase the dogfish in the form of a breaded fish fillet to serve in hospitals, universities, and prisons, fishermen earn a fairer portion of the dollar for their work, it is more efficient, and the fishermen know who is eating their food.

BNMC Highlighted as Smart Management Model

BNMC Highlighted as Smart Management Model

The BNMC was featured in national pub Governing this week in a piece entitled “The Teamwork that Drives a Great Civic Project.” Our founders, former Mayor Tony Masiello, Tom Beecher, Matt Enstice and Rick Reinhard, shared the importance of making smart tactical choices, strategic planning, and putting the right pieces together to achieve collaborative success. Read the piece here.

Sparking a Culture of Health on the BNMC

Sparking a Culture of Health on the BNMC

BNMC’s healthy communities team has been busy catalyzing wellness initiatives across Campus and our surrounding neighborhoods! From Spark micro-grants to workplace wellbeing and federal grants, we’re proud to be at the forefront of building a healthier city.

Our wp-contentroach includes:

Piloting new technologies:

We installed Byte in the lobby of the Innovation Center earlier in 2018 in partnership with Farmers & Artisans. They keep it stocked with fresh, wholesome, local food options available 24/7. We were able to purchse this through our Creating Healthy Schools and Communities grant from the NYS Department of Health.  We have purchased two other machines, are rebranding them as FRESHTAKES, and will be installing them at the Jacobs Institute in the Gates Vascular Institute and the UBMD offices at Conventus.

Growing fresh produce when possible:

Through this same grant, we were able to get several Grow Towers to allow local organizations to grow their own fresh produce. Our Grow Tower in the Innovation Center has produced a variety of greens – gourmet lettuces, dinosaur kale, bok choy, and herbs like basil and parsley. We had a building get-together and made soup for everyone, and on harvest days have salad parties. We provided a tower to Hospice Buffalo, where they have been growing fresh produce to use in their cafeteria and patient menus. We also provided a Grow Tower to Erie Community College Downtown Campus for their culinary program, which supports healthier ingredients on their menu for staff, students, and the general public.

Providing Spark funding:

Through the BNMC Spark microgrant program, we provided funding for 17 different local projects, several of which involved increasing access to fresh food for our local neighborhoods. The Moot Center, a longtime partner of the BNMC, was able to build a pergola to finish off its raised garden beds that our team helped them build in 2017, allowing seniors to garden in the shade, and  providing covered space for their weekly farmer’s market and events. We also supported Fresh Fix, a local CSA that has a buy one, give one wp-contentroach.

Promoting healthy eating options on and around Campus:

We debuted our Food Map this year and quickly ran out! This guide showcases places within a few minute walk from institutions on the BNMC and encourages employees to get out and get moving on their breaks. We are currently updating and reprinting, so please let us know if you see something missing.

Seeking grant funding to support projects:

We recently launched a three-year, $351K project with support from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Local Food Promotion Program to create a model for health care institutions to integrate technology and cultivate a culture of healthy food practices to increase local food procurement. We will be moving into the public phase of this effort in 2019, so stay tuned for more! This implementation grant was a follow-on to a $25,000 planning grant we received two years ago through the same program to increase healthy food in health care.

Collaborating to eliminate disparities in food access:

Under the lead of the Mobile Safety-Net Team, we are part of a collaborative coalition of local organizations, store owners, and community members to address urban food deserts. The Healthy Corner Store Initiative aims to bring fresh fruits and vegetables, taste tests, and nutrition education, to convenience stores throughout the city to engage residents in a healthy lifestyle.

This is just a brief snapshot at some of the work the BNMC team is doing to create a culture of health and wellbeing in our community. Learn more at bnmc-old.local/health.

More People Taking Public Transit and Walking to Work on the BNMC Than Ever Before

More People Taking Public Transit and Walking to Work on the BNMC Than Ever Before

Percentage of Employees Driving Alone to Medical Campus Drops, NFTA Bus & Rail Numbers Increase as BNMC Expands Efforts to Provide Alternative Transportation Options

More than 15,000 people work and study across the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus each day. As this number has nearly doubled over the past decade, the BNMC team actively works to create a safe, accessible destination while building a sustainable transportation system for employees, neighbors, and the community.

BNMC’s most recent employee survey shows that the percentage of employees driving alone has dropped to 80%, down significantly from 88% in 2012 and 84% in 2016. The percentage of employees taking public transportation has increased to 11%, up from 4% in 2012 and 7% in 2016. The percentage of employees walking to work is at 4%, a substantial increase from 1% in both 2012 and 2016.

Every several years, the BNMC team works with our transportation partners within the BNMC institutions to survey employees on how they get to work.

“We are definitely pleased with the direction our numbers are heading. We work very closely with our regional transportation partners to create convenient, safe, and affordable options for employees, patients, and visitors to get to the BNMC,” said Bill Smith, BNMC’s director of access and transportation. “Most recently, we partnered with NFTA to establish and pilot the first Corporate Pass Program, which allowed employers to provide a less expensive option for employees interested in riding the light rail to work.”

Recent workforce data on the BNMC showed an increase of employees who live within the City of Buffalo and in particular within the zip codes touching the BNMC. Our team also works closely with leaders from the BNMC institutions’ human resources and hiring teams, to ensure that we are continuing to increase access to job opportunities on the BNMC. In 2017, one-third of the new hires in our larger institutions were from the surrounding neighborhoods, and nearly 40% live in the city.

MWBE Pitch & Roundtable Event

MWBE Pitch & Roundtable Event

More than 75 small business owners and buyers from local institutions attended the MWBE Pitch & Roundtable on October 23, presented by the BNMC, ECMC, Kaleida Health, Roswell Park, and the University at Buffalo.  The event included an opportunity for some of the small business owners to pitch their company directly to the purchasers in the room (including the other small businesses), and also a roundtable discussion featuring several MWBE business owners who have formed successful business relationships with the institutions on hand.  This event is part of the BNMC’s ongoing efforts to connect local small businesses with large purchasers to help grow the economy in our community.

Small Business Pitch Presentations 
Aitina Cooke Heather Sidorowicz 
Get Fokus’d Productions Southtown Audio Video
Katie Krawczyk Sabina Ramsey
19 IDEAS Insight International
Joseph W. Call Luanne DiBernardo
Call Associates Inc. Coolture
Amanda Coniglio Lena Levine
Calvary Safety & Security Lena Levine Studio
Eva Lana Jazslyn Leon
Wellacopia Executive Sweeps LLC
Esteban Guerrero  Jennifer E. Cooper
In His Hands Electric Cooper Sign Company
Tracy Jordan-Cardwell Terrence Gidney
TJC PR Affordable Scrubs
Nichole Perry
Med-Scribe, Inc.

BNMC Receives USDA Grant to Enhance Local Food Procurement Efforts in Health Care

BNMC Receives USDA Grant to Enhance Local Food Procurement Efforts in Health Care

Three-Year, $351K Grant Prioritizes Local Agriculture from New York State

Buffalo, NY – October 1, 2018 – The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. (BNMC) has received a $260,325 grant to create a model for health care institutions to integrate technology and cultivate a culture of healthy food practices to increase local food procurement. The grant includes a local match of $91,063 bringing the project total to $351,388. The BNMC is one of 44 organizations around the country, and one of only 4 organizations to receive funding in New York State,  through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) during this grant cycle.

“Increasing access to local foods, especially in a place with such robust agriculture and other locally-sourced food, is good for the health of our people and good for the health of our economy,” said Jonathan McNeice, project director for the grant and director of healthy communities efforts for the BNMC.  “Supporting local food procurement is part of our overall effort to continue to create a culture of health and wellbeing both on the BNMC and throughout our region.”

This grant builds upon the more than $2M in public and private funding that the BNMC and its community partners have secured over the past fifteen years to support healthy eating, healthy worksites, and active living policies and programs in Western New York.

BNMC’s Farm-to-Hospital Initiative began in 2015 with a $25,000 grant from the USDA Local Food Promotion Program to assess feasibility for sourcing local food on the Medical Campus. The process included identifying champions inside each organization, providing learning opportunities, gathering data, engaging suppliers, partnering with experts in the field, and creating a foundational plan for future implementation. This project will now shift to an implementation phase and seek to work with food service providers, hospital staff, and farmers dedicated to this initiative and partner closely with Health Care Without Harm to implement a local model on the BNMC. Health Care without Harm is an international group dedicated to transforming health care worldwide to reduce its environmental footprint and become a leader in sustainability, environmental health, and justice.

“BNMC Fresh: Farm to Hospital Implementation” will create a model that prioritizes local agriculture from New York State, enabling farms to access new markets (hospitals), and can be replicated across the state. The initiative aims to establish enhanced food chain transparency from farmers to distributors to institutions; as well as implement customized crop plans in both hospitals that merge New York State’s top crops with institutional demand.

This collaborative work is expected to create a culture that embraces local farms through prioritizing local procurement; establishes and expands community supported agriculture (CSA) and farmers’ market programs; establishes food chain transparency; increases awareness and knowledge among consumers of local food procurement efforts; and provides knowledge and skill-building opportunities to agribusiness stakeholders (farmers, distributor, food service teams). This project ultimately aims to make local procurement a regular practice and culture among health care institutions.

“Roswell Park has been thrilled to partner with the BNMC on both the planning grant and the upcoming implementation grant,” said Christina Dibble, director of nutrition and food services at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Given the unique needs of cancer patients, we’ve made it a priority to provide seasonal, local foods for our patients, visitors, and employees when available, and we look forward to expanding our local offerings through channels that this grant opens up for us.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $102.7 million to increase opportunities for farmers, ranchers, and other growers across the country through five grant programs. The funding supports a variety of locally-led projects intended to expand markets for local food promotion and specialty crops. Of that total, $13.45 million is directed to 44 projects, including the BNMC’s, to support the development and expansion of local and regional food businesses to increase domestic consumption of, and access to, locally and regionally produced agricultural products, and to develop new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local markets through the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP).

 About the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus

 The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. (BNMC) is a multi-anchor social enterprise focused on driving innovation in partnership with our community. As the non-profit charged with addressing shared issues among our member institutions, the BNMC plays a significant role in driving positive change that builds a vibrant, innovative environment. We focus on improving infrastructure, managing our transportation system, creating a culture of health and wellbeing, driving innovation, and working with our partners to continue to build an innovative district that reflects the best of our community.

BNMC 2nd Annual Summer Block Party



On Wednesday, August 8th, the BNMC hosted its 2nd Annual Summer Block Party in partnership with the University at Buffalo and Roswell Park. This fun, festive event was free and open to employees who work on the BNMC and members of the community, featuring a BBQ dinner, live music, community organizations, lawn games and more!

BNMC Research Discovery Day Encourages Collaboration

BNMC Research Discovery Day Encourages Collaboration

BNMC Partners recently hosted the first Annual BNMC Research Discovery Day. More than 250 researchers, scientists, students, and leaders attended this collaborative event designed to promote the services and shared resources of the biomedical companies and institutions on the Medical Campus.

Dr. Johnson Lau, CEO and Board Chairman of Athenex was the luncheon keynote speaker, inspiring local researchers to dream big and take their idea or company global. More than 50 researchers, postdocs, PIs, technicians, companies, and vendors presented posters in an afternoon session designed to raise awareness of the services available right here in Buffalo.

The morning session focused on the power of collaboration and creative brainstorming, led by international creativity expert Dr. Roger Firestein. Partners from Hauptman-Woodward Institute, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, AMRI, Zeptometrix, and the University at Buffalo spoke about their research offerings and attendees were able to identify high-level collaboration opportunities.

This event would not have been possible without the generous support from KeyBank, and the dynamic planning committee led by leaders from Hauptman-Woodward Institute, AMRI, Zeptometrix, and Roswell Park. Many thanks to everyone who participated in this event – we hope to see even more next year!

Employers Connect to Create Healthy Workplaces

Employers Connect to Create Healthy Workplaces

Finding fresh, nutritious food in the workplace can sometimes be a challenge, especially with the lure of sugary snacks or vending machine fare close by. A number of area employers are trying to change that and are working together in the Buffalo Healthy Workplace Initiative, led by the BNMC, to make their workplaces healthier.

Funded through a five-year Creating Healthy Schools & Communities (CHSC) grant from the NYS Department of Health that the BNMC is a lead partner on, the goal of the public health initiative is to reduce major risk factors of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases in 85 high-need school districts and associated communities statewide.  As part of the grant, the Buffalo Healthy Workplace Initiative brings together diverse employers to learn from each other, develop best practices, and improve their focus on creating a healthier workplace for their employees.

Local employers including New Era Cap Company, GObike Buffalo, Walsh Duffield, the BNMC, Harmac Medical Products, Independent Health and others are working together and within their own organizations to make the healthy choice the easy choice for their employees.  For many company health champions, sharing ideas and celebrating successes with others helps to keep motivation high.

There are currently 21 employers in the program with a goal of reaching 50 within three years. The BNMC’s healthy communities catalyst, Beth Machnica, leads participating companies through an initial assessment of their current health and wellness programs, helps identify areas for improvement, and facilitates connections to local community programs and resources that can help make healthy improvements in their workplace. A post-assessment is also planned to quantify results.  The group meets monthly to learn from each other.

If you or your company is interested in becoming a champion of creating healthy workplace culture, visit BNMC.org/healthyworkplace or contact Beth Machnica at emachnica@bnmc-old.local  to learn more.


Save the Date! BNMC’s Annual Student Open House on April 21

We’re thrilled to bring you the 4th Annual BNMC Student Open House on Saturday, April 21, 2018 from 9am-12pm! Students in 7-12th grade, along with an accompanying adult, are invited to tour Campus facilities and experience hands-on activities at each site. Attendees will hear from experts at our Campus institutions, such as:

Stay tuned for more information and registration coming soon! View our Facebook album to see photos from last year’s event.

What’s next for the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus?

What’s next for the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus?

By | The Buffalo News | Published | Updated

The newly opened $270 million John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital was a page turner in the latest chapter of the burgeoning downtown Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

So was the December opening of the University at Buffalo’s $375 million new home for its Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

The completion of the new projects mark a turning point for the 120-acre campus at the epicenter of Buffalo’s renaissance.

In 2002, the campus was in its infancy with just three companies. Now boasting 4.5 million square feet of development and $1.4 billion in investments, the campus has moved beyond just medical institutions. It has taken shape with a diverse mix of health care, life science and technology companies, becoming fertile ground for entrepreneurs and their startups.

There is still more to come.

Campus planners are aiming for BNMC to rival medical campuses in places like Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Among the next steps are strengthening ties with higher education and the private sectors.

“We are so well positioned with all the institutions and assets that are here and now want to embrace the excellent universities and colleges,” said Matthew K. Enstice, CEO and president of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Inc. “We plan to build out” – meaning renovate – “more space for them to have a location so they can interact and be a part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem that we have here.”

A big part of that vision is twp-contenting into local small and large companies, especially mature ones, and including them in the campus’ vision for its innovation district. “The world is changing so quickly in technology, that we’re putting a structure in place to help multiple, different companies innovate,” Enstice said.

Here’s what’s coming next on the Medical Campus:

• Design work is expected to start for renovation of existing buildings on the former Osmose Holdings site. In 2016, BNMC bought the 4.4-acre parcel, which is located at the northern edge of campus at Ellicott and Best streets and has parking for 200. It is expected to be a magnet for mature private-sector companies, along with universities and colleges, but will not be a second incubator, BNMC officials say.

• Ellicott Development Co. has a $4 million adaptive reuse development project underway at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, just north of the campus at Main and Best streets. To the south, Ellicott is planning a six-story retail and office building at 1091 Main St.

• Along the western edge of the campus, design work will begin for a redo of a critical stretch of Main Street from Goodell toward Canisius College. Meanwhile, a $7.5 million overhaul of Allen Street, including redesigned sidewalks and widened sections of the street, is expected to begin. Work will be done in phases, stretching from the eastern end of Allen toward Wadsworth.

• Workers will put the finishing touches on the exterior of UB’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, which opened to students earlier this month at 955 Main St. Final terra cotta panels are being installed on the Washington Street side of the building by spring. Most of the university’s labs are being moved in from mid-January through mid-March. With the medical school fully operational, 2,000 faculty, staff and students will be there daily.

• The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority’s newly renovated Allen Medical Campus Station has been integrated into the medical school. The station features “Gut Flora,” a colorful public art sculpture by Shasti O’Leary Soudant, and a newsstand opens this month. A one-block tunnel that serves as a pedestrian passageway to Washington Street will open beneath the medical school.

• The campus’ ninth pedestrian skybridge will be designed and constructed later in the year. It will span High Street, linking the Conventus medical office building to the UB Medical School. The new $1.5 million connector comes after three other skybridges just opened in November: one from Conventus to Oishei Children’s Hospital, another from Children’s Hospital to Buffalo General Medical Center/Gates Vascular Institute, and a third leading out the back of Children’s Hospital to a new parking ramp at 854 Ellicott St.

• By late May, the $40 million, 1,825-space parking ramp behind Oishei Children’s Hospital at 854 Ellicott will be completed. The top half of the eight-story ramp has been under construction since late 2017. The bottom half of the eight-story ramp opened Nov. 10 with Oishei Children’s Hospital.

• The 128,000-square-foot Thomas R. Beecher Innovation Center at 640 Ellicott St. will be completely full by the end of March.

Biz Talk: Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus CEO talks about future growth

Biz Talk: Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus CEO talks about future growth

By | The Buffalo News | Published

After Amherst native Matthew K. Enstice wrwp-contented up stints in the entertainment industry that took him to Broadway Pictures in Los Angeles and “Saturday Night Live” in New York City, his career dramatically swerved back to Buffalo.

He landed at the helm of the nonprofit organization overseeing the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Now, 17 years later, Enstice finds himself at the pulse of the expanding campus footprint, as he guides a shifting momentum in the campus’ growth.

With a collective projected workforce of 16,000 this year, the Medical Campus continues to make its mark – from hospitals to clinical and research facilities.

“We deliver health care here, and we’re going to do high-end health care here, but it’s changing,” said Enstice, president and chief executive officer of BNMC Inc. “Health care, as you know it, is a very, very different place. As that changes and evolves, you’re going to see opportunities in our community to utilize technology to develop companies for the future.”

The Medical Campus is already home to startup companies, entrepreneurs building businesses and high-tech companies. The momentum shows no signs of tapering off.

The future vision for the campus reflects a dedicated shift toward making room for local companies as they cut their teeth on new initiatives. The Medical Campus also looks to expand its innovation district to a 4.4-acre site on the northern edge of campus that once was the home of Osmose Holdings.

A visionary with high energy, Enstice is related to the prominent Jacobs family. His late father-in-law, Dr. Lawrence D. Jacobs, was a neurologist and world-renowned researcher specializing in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

Often wearing a blue or white button-down shirt and khakis, he is known for his casual attire and carefree manner. He rarely breaks out a tie or suit.

Enstice recently met with The Buffalo News inside the campus Innovation Center to talk about the campus’ growth and future.

Q: What do monumental projects such as Children’s Hospital and the UB medical school say about the future of the campus?

A: People talked in years past that Children’s wasn’t moving over and there was a lot of controversy. But I think it showed how the community coming together can do great things, and that’s what Children’s is a true sign of.

Right now, the (medical school) has a major presence in the city. That, to me, is a game changer that I don’t think we can define right now.

I was sitting there at the opening, looking right out the window down Allen Street, and it was just amazing to envision what is Allen going to be like. What was so wild to see, was that I used to never see people walking there and there must have been 20 or 30 people coming out of that subway. It’s just the fact that we have so much traffic starting to develop down here. And that’s a real positive.

It’s just the beginning of more opportunities for our community to leverage these great assets and great organizations being here on the campus.

Q: How does Buffalo’s regional health care hub fit within the national mix?

A: I think that we’re one of the leading innovation districts. I just don’t think about it as health. If you look back to what Jerry Jacobs commissioned for looking at the future of medicine, it’s changing dramatically. And I believe we’re very well positioned because of our computer science school, our school of engineering and our ability to be leaders in the technology field. That’s what I think of.

So, we’ve been on the map. Having Children’s and the medical school down here, puts it on the map even more.

What we need to figure out how to do, and what we really want to do, in our next phases of development is to integrate the school of engineering and the schools of business.

How does Canisius College play a role here? How does Niagara University play a role here? How does Buffalo State College play a role here? We are so well positioned with all the institutions and assets that are here. So we plan to build out more space for them to have a location so they can interact and be a part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem that we have here.

Q: What kind of involvement?

A: Let’s look at the future of medicine and all the work that we’re doing in energy, all the work that we’re doing in transportation. What’s the major driver behind those industries as they’re changing? It’s technology. We’re well positioned in building our community out to have a technology foundation that can enable health care, energy, transportation.

I’m talking this campus. We have all the resources. I don’t think we’ll build a building for a college. We want to build an environment where local businesses, big companies, are going to have a presence here.

Our plan is to build out space to embrace the local economy. I think, for too long, a lot of local businesses have not been engaged, because there hasn’t been a vehicle.

I believe that if you look across as to what’s going to help strengthen local companies, they have to be a part of what we’re doing. I think we can all help one another. That is what this is all about. How do we build a platform and a foundation in technology for everybody? Tech is not the next chapter. It’s the current chapter. It’s really what is going to be our great opportunity for the future.

We’ll use the footprint of the existing (Osmose) space that we have. As of right now, we are not planning to build a new building in the near future. We are planning to renovate the existing space. I think, over time, various companies will start to come in, but within the year is our goal is to start to see this development really start to take off.

Q: What would you say to naysayers who didn’t think this vision for the campus would ever materialize in the fashion that it has so far?

A: If you stay together and you’re straightforward and honest with one another, great things can hwp-contenten. That is at the core of what builds all the great stuff that’s down here on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus … If you look at the 4.5 million square feet of development, the $1.4 billion worth of investment, that was because people worked, planned, developed together.

Q: What is the greatest challenge facing the campus?

A: I think the greatest challenge is that people continue to work together and support one another … I think the biggest challenge you have is that sometimes people forget what got you here.

Q: Parking is a constant complaint or concern, and there’s a huge push to get people to use public transit more.

A: We have off-campus shuttles running. We have public transportation being utilized and programs in place. And it’s starting to work. People are actually trying it and it’s working. While it’s not perfect, it is an option. And so to me, we will always have a parking spot here for every patient and visitor that comes down here.

What we would hope to see is that more people live in and around the campus, in and around the subway station.

The mayor continues to talk about reinvesting in Main Street with infrastructure. He’s committed $10 million so far, going toward Canisius. We want to see the mayor continue on that and go all the way and connect us to Canisius College. … I believe if you continue to do that, you’ll see more residential units pop up on Main Street. You’ll see more people using the transit. That’s what we want to see.

Q: There are signs of spinoff development in Allentown. But for the Fruit Belt neighborhood, there always seems to be an undercurrent of concern, gentrification, trying to preserve the Michigan Avenue corridor, and a push for more parking. What do you foresee for the Fruit Belt?

A: For the Fruit Belt, I hope that there’s continued investment there in the infrastructure. The mayor has done a great job at fixing the streets, the sidewalks, the trees and the lights. I hope they continue to do that because I want to see more people invest in that neighborhood. … We believe that will be a positive if the community is part of the solution there.

I’m really intrigued by what’s going on in Masten, Fruit Belt and Allentown – to me, they’re very similar in the sense that they’ve always been engaged in a part of the process with what’s going on with the campus. Everybody’s always talked about it. Everybody’s had a light on it.

What I’m interested in is what is going on to the north. We believe there’s going to need to be more of an engagement there. I think it’s a community that people maybe have not paid as much attention to. But they’re on the border of all this stuff that’s going on here. So, it’s probably already hwp-contentening and we don’t know it.

The Future of Medicine: Episode 50

Matt talks with Bill Maggio, a health care, medical diagnostics, and business development executive from Buffalo, New York. They talk about the Jacobs Institute’s recently released landmark report on The Future of Medicine, and the role of health care systems in transforming how care is delivered. Bill highlights his role as an investor as well as a leader in the local start-up community as past chair of 43North business competition to spur economic development in Buffalo. They touch on his lifelong love of music as a classically-trained pianist as well as the impact rowing has had on his life.

A Look Inside New Home of UB Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

Take a peek inside the new home of UB Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences on the BNMC! The $375 million, 628,000 sq. foot building is eight stories high and located at 955 Main St. between Allen & High Streets. The BNMC is thrilled welcome the 2,000 faculty, staff and students to our Campus in January! For more information on the Medical School and upcoming move, visit medicine.buffalo.edu.



Recent Media Coverage

UB Medical School opens with aim to be ‘catalyst for change’ – The Buffalo News

A look inside UB’s new hospital – The Buffalo News

First look: UB’s completed Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences building – Buffalo Business First


Oishei Children’s Hospital Now Open!

New Oishei Children’s Hospital Now Open!

After years of planning, the big day has finally arrived. Kaleida Health opened its $270M Oishei Children’s Hospital on Friday, Nov. 10th. A multi-year effort led by a number of stakeholders has given birth (so to speak!) to a remarkable new facility, one of only 43 freestanding Children’s hospitals in the country. Learn more about this exciting new development to the BNMC at www.childrensismoving.org.

Recent News Coverage

How the New Oishei Children’s Hospital came to be – The Buffalo News

Oishei Children’s Hospital: As moving day nears, a range of emotions sets in – Buffalo Business First

Take a look inside Buffalo’s new Children’s Hospital – The Buffalo News 

Playful Signage is the right message at Oishei Children’s Hospital – Buffalo Rising

New Oishei Children’s Hospital built with a family focus – WBFO

New John Oishei Children’s Hospital is almost ready – WKBW


Oishei Children’s Hospital: As moving day nears, a range of emotions sets in

Oishei Children’s Hospital: As moving day nears, a range of emotions sets in

By  –  Reporter, Buffalo Business First

With less than two days to go until the massive move of patients and equipment begins from Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo to the John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital, leaders say they’re feeling great, if a bit weary.

Emotions at the hospital have ranged from excitement and optimism to sadness as employees and patient families who have worked at the old hospital prepare for its shutdown after decades of memories.

“I’ve been talking with people, seeing how they’re doing and if they’re ready,” said Jody Lomeo, Kaleida Health CEO, who has been rounding at the old site with staff and workers over the past few weeks. “(Monday) was the first time I sensed the emotion of it all, I think because it’s the last week on that campus and the reality of the move is setting in.”

With 185 beds, the $270 million hospital is one of just 43 stand-alone children’s hospitals in the nation and the only one in New York. It will be connected to Buffalo General Medical Center on one side, and to the Conventus medical office building on the other, with ongoing connections to the University at Buffalo’s Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

With the five-year development coming to a close, anticipation for the opening is palpable, Lomeo said.

“The reality of the new building, the beauty and allure of the new building, is everywhere. Everyone loves the new building, and just what it represents, but I think the really interesting thing is the walk down memory lane that they’re all doing — and rightfully so,” he said. “That walk takes them to their personal side and who they’ve worked with, who they’ve healed every day. They’ve maybe parked in the same spot, walked the same route, ate in the same spot. And it’s where they’ve had holidays with their co-workers versus with their families at home because that’s just the reality of the world we live in.”

Beginning at 7:01 a.m. on Friday, the carefully rehearsed move will begin, with 150-180 patients expected to be transferred individually by ambulance from the old site on Bryant Street to the new hospital on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. A fleet of 15 ambulances from American Medical Response(AMR) will circle between the two sites over a period that’s expected to last nearly 24 hours.

An army of 1,000 volunteers will play a role in the move throughout the day, including serving as assigned ambassadors with patients, directing traffic in the parking ramp and serving water and food to all involved during move day.

The old hospital will stop accepting patients Friday morning, then will shut down department by department, floor by floor. Simultaneously, patients will begin to be accepted at the new hospital through the emergency room. Similarly, though the day will begin with double staffing, the employees will shift from one hospital to the next as patients are moved over.

“I’ve been using the example of a teeter-totter,” Lomeo said. “At the Bryant Street campus, we will have a full campus at 7 a.m., which will start to go down, and Oishei will continue to go up. Sometime after midnight, we expect we’ll shut the lights off on Bryant Street and say goodbye, and everyone will be in full go-mode at Oishei.”




Patient Route WCHOB -> OCH

Bryant St, Right on Delaware Ave, Left on North St, Right on Ellicott St.

Ambulance OCH -> WCHOB

Ellicott St, Left on Ellicott St, Left on North St, Right on Delaware Ave, Left on Bryant St.

Intended to cross with Patient Transport in order to provide support if needed

Equipment WCHOB -> OCH

Bryant St, Right on Oakland Pl, Left on Summer St, Right on Ellicott St.

Truck Return OCH -> WCHOB

Ellicott St, Left on Goodrich St, Right on Main St, Left on Bryant St.

Families/Shuttle WCHOB -> OCH

Hodge St, Right on Elmwood Ave, Right on W Utica St, Right on Michigan Ave, Right on North St , Left on Ellicott St.

 Part of Normal Ambulance Route

Clean Energy Microgrids for Hospitals Make Electricity More Reliable

Clean Energy Microgrids for Hospitals Make Electricity More Reliable

November 6, 2017 By

Microgrid Knowledge

This is the second post in a Microgrid Knowledge series and focuses on why clean energy microgrids for health care and hospitals make sense.

In most businesses, costs are a paramount concern. Hospitals are not most businesses.

At a hospital, loss of electricity can lead to loss of life. So for hospitals, reliable electricity has a very high value. That makes hospitals prime candidates for the installation of clean energy microgrids.

That was brought home in 2013 after the terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon. Area hospitals were pushed to their limits, and that changed the perspective of many administrators. One area hospital was contemplating the installation of a CHP plant as part of a new facility. Typically, the decision to move forward with such a project would be heavily weighted on the economic benefit. But after the attack, this particular hospital “saw things in a whole different light,” says Michael Bakas, senior vice president at Ameresco. Economics were no longer the primary driving force. Instead, the first concern was the ability to act as a last line of def ense for the city in a crisis. The hospital could not lose its power; it had to be able to “island” or operate independently from the surrounding grid should disaster strike.

Unfortunately, that is a lesson that has been driven home several times in recent years—whether it is the Boston terrorist attack, the record flooding in Houston from Hurricane Harvey, the devastation in Florida from Hurricane Irma, the destruction of Puerto Rico’s grid from Hurricane Maria, or the near shut-down of New York City from Hurricane Sandy. Hospital administrators have had ample chance to gain firsthand experience of the importance of uninterrupted electrical service.

Hospitals are one of society’s pillar organizations turning to clean energy #microgridsCLICK TO TWEET

Existing safety regulations already require hospitals to have some form of backup generation, such as diesel generators. But when Sandy slammed into New York City in 2012, backup generators and other electrical systems failed at Bellevue Hospital, New York University’s Langone Medical Center, and at Coney Island Hospital, resulting in the evacuation of hundreds of patients during the storm. More recently, Hurricane Maria left hospitals in Puerto Rico unable to operate on patients, and undertake other critical procedures, because generators ran out of diesel fuel.

Backup generators may fulfill regulatory requirements, but they do not always perform when they are needed. In the 2003 Northeast blackout, half of New York City’s 58 hospitals suffered failures in their back-up power generators, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Part of the problem is that backup generators sit idle most of the time. Despite regular testing, they can fail when needed. Hospital microgrids, on the other hand, include some form of generation that operates on a regular basis, avoiding surprises when an emergency does hit.

Heat and power from one fuel

Hospitals that use a lot of steam, hot water, air conditioning and heat often benefit from CHP, which allows them to get two forms of energy from one clean fuel. CHP plants use the waste heat created in power generation, a byproduct typically discarded. This makes CHP a highly efficient form of energy.

Those were among the motivations when the New York State Research and Development Authority instituted the NY Prize, a program to aid the implementation of microgrids for critical facilities in the state. More than half of the 11 communities that were finalists in the $40 million program included hospitals in their projects.

The Town of Huntington on Long Island, one of the award recipients, is building a microgrid at Huntington Hospital with a 2.8-MW fuel cell and a battery storage facility that will enable the microgrid to island from the grid. The Buffalo-Niagara Medical Campus, another NY Prize recipient, is strengthening its existing backup generators with a new CHP system, solar panels and battery storage to enable islanding.

Environmental and monetary benefits of hospital microgrids

clean energy microgrids

Because of their software intelligence, microgrids are able to manage a hospital’s energy resources, so that the cleanest generation is used first.

While resilience and reliability may be compelling reasons, they are not the only motivation behind hospitals’ adoption of clean energy microgrids. According to a 2013 survey conducted by Johnson & Johnson, nearly 90 percent of hospitals reported that they were incorporating sustainability into their planning process. Because of their software intelligence, microgrids are able to manage a hospital’s energy resources, so that the cleanest generation is used first.

Being a good citizen is part of the rationale, but the falling prices for solar panels and battery storage makes choosing a microgrid a wise economic decision, as well.

That is particularly true as hospitals face growing budgetary concerns. Hospitals are heavy energy users, making them particularly vulnerable to rising energy costs. Even though hospitals account for less than 1 percent of all U.S. commercial buildings, they account for 5.5 percent of commercial building energy usage.

In addition to providing resiliency and reliability, an intelligent hospital microgrid can monitor grid electricity prices throughout the day and switch to its own lower cost energy when grid prices spike. By shaving the top off those energy peaks, a hospital can also lower its demand charges because those charges are based on peak usage.

Taking the first step in installing a microgrid could impose a hefty financial burden on a cash strwp-contented hospital, but the rising popularity of microgrids has spurred financial innovations that can ease that burden.

By signing a power purchase agreement with a microgrid developer, for instance, a hospital pays only for the energy it uses from the microgrid and shares any savings while the developer handles installation and operation and maintenance.

Hospitals are just one of society’s pillar organizations turning to clean energy microgrids. Higher education is another. We explain why in the next post.

Over the next few weeks, the Microgrid Knowledge series on clean energy microgrids will cover the following topics:

  • Why Choose a Clean Energy Microgrid?

  • Clean Energy Microgrids for Colleges and Universities

  • Clean Energy Microgrids for the Military

  • Clean Energy Microgrids for the Commercial and Industrial Sector

  • Parris Island Microgrid Case Study

Download the full report, “The Rise of Clean Energy Microgrids: Why microgrids make sense for hospitals, higher education, military & government and businesses,”  downloadable free of charge courtesy of Ameresco.

How the new Oishei Children’s Hospital came to be

How the new Oishei Children’s Hospital came to be

The new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital that will open this week on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus exemplifies state-of-the-art pediatric care.

The hospital tower offers the latest in medical technology and thoughtful design. A connected outpatient center replaces dated facilities that were costly to maintain and no longer met patients’ expectations.

The new hospital, together with a new University at Buffalo medical school under construction along Main Street, will solve a big piece of the puzzle on a medical campus trying to attract life sciences companies to start or move here.

It all looks like a major no-brainer. But it wasn’t always so.

The initial attempt nearly 18 years ago to move Women and Children’s Hospital from Bryant Street set off the fiercest of community battles. At one point, in 2002, thousands of people, including sports stars Jim Kelly and Pat LaFontaine, crowded Niagara Square in support of a campaign to “Save Our Children’s Hospital” and keep it where it was founded in 1892.

The unpredictable and stormy path that led to the $270 million building on Ellicott Street that will officially open Friday easily could have gone in a different direction.

It took time, but the end result was worth waiting for,” Dr. Steven Lana said.

Lana, a pediatrician, was one of a host of physicians active in the campaign that arose against the original plans to move Women and Children’s.

There were many other influential people along for the project’s meandering journey to completion. Kaleida Health administrators and board members, union leaders and a governor, physicians and patients, as well as shifting attitudes of the neighbors around Bryant, played a part.

Here is the story about how the new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital came to be.

First proposal

The idea of building a new hospital downtown next to Buffalo General Medical Center surfaced publicly in early 1999, a little more than a year after Kaleida Health formed from the merger of Buffalo General, DeGraff Memorial, Millard Fillmore Gates Circle, Millard Fillmore Suburban, and Women & Children’s hospitals,

The late John Friedlander, then chief executive officer of Kaleida Health, sought to reorganize services, and to pursue an idea he and others advocated for consolidating hospitals on a medical campus downtown. Among other plans, he proposed expanding Millard Fillmore Suburban and turning Millard Fillmore Gates Circle into a center for geriatric care and rehab after hospitalizations.

There were other arguments for moving from Bryant Street.

Although parts of the pediatric hospital were in good shape, such as the Variety Tower and pediatric intensive-care unit, sections devoted to outpatient services were badly behind the times with a confusing layout, aging facilities, and a lack of modern amenities for patients and doctors. Obstetrician-gynecologists wanted a hospital where they could deliver babies and have access to medical specialists for adult women, especially if women ran into trouble during labor. Kaleida Health, facing financial trouble, also needed to cut costs.

The ideas caught people by surprise.

At the time, Kaleida Health was preoccupied with bringing together a group of hospitals with distinctly different medical cultures and staff loyalties. The Medical Campus remained a vision, with an uncertain future, and not the bustling district it is today. Meanwhile, Women & Children’s was a beloved and integral part of the Elmwood Village with a passionate constituency.

“Elmwood was different at that time, not like it is today. Businesses felt they were going to be badly hurt without the hospital there,” said Sarah J.M. Kolberg, former chief of staff to Sam Hoyt, who as an assemblyman at the time who played a key role in the debate.

Pediatricians resisted the proposal, particularly because Kaleida Health didn’t seem to have the financing muscle to build a facility they could support and didn’t have a detailed plan they could see. In an unprecedented initiative, nearly every pediatrician in the Buffalo area in 2000 signed a statement calling for Women & Children’s Hospital to stay put until a compelling architectural plan was devised with their input.

“I don’t think there was a pediatrician who would have argued with the concept of having a brand-new children’s hospital,” Lana said, “but it just wasn’t credible that we could move the facility we had at Bryant to another location. There was no land, there was no plan, there was no finance.

“What person would say, ‘Yep, let’s do it because you said so.’ We were aghast at the possibility that the crown jewel of the newly minted Kaleida Health would be imploded and cannibalized without a better alternative on the drawing board.”

Faced with opposition from pediatricians, staff, residents and business owners, as well as inadequate funding, Kaleida Health announced in late 2001 that it was indefinitely postponing a move into a new hospital downtown. The hospital system also noted that it was working with a national hospital consulting firm to help set its course for the future.

Opponents of the proposed move cheered, but not for long.

New plan to move Children’s

In early 2002, Kaleida Health unveiled a new proposal to move Women & Children’s into one of its adult hospitals, either Buffalo General or the former Millard Fillmore Gates Circle, and build an attached outpatient center.

There was a sense of urgency that drastic action was needed to stem the financial hemorrhaging and preserve the hospital system. Officials said Kaleida Health had lost nearly $53 million the year before, most of it at Buffalo General, but also at Women & Children’s. An immobilized hospital system of that size put the quality of health care in the community at risk, hospital officials warned.

Pediatric specialists threatened to leave. Other critics tore into the idea,  saying there was a special environment in a free-standing children’s hospital that would be lost. They warned that such a move would leave Western New York with a civic mistake on a par with building the UB campus in a suburb instead of the city, or the expressway that cut through Delaware Park.

“To the doctors, Children’s was their baby, and Kaleida was trying to take it away,” said Kolberg, the chief of staff for Hoyt.

A campaign against the proposal snowballed. Opponents talked and planned constantly by phone and in meetings – in the Saturn Club, at the former Ambrosia Restaurant on Elmwood and at an Elmwood storefront Hoyt secured as headquarters for the “Women and Children First” coalition. An army of passionate parents, whose children were born or treated at the hospital, readily enlisted for the battle. Many politicians joined in, too, as did an assortment of local celebrities.

As spring wp-contentroached in 2002, the campaign reached a critical mass when thousands of supporters gathered in Niagara Square in a rally to keep Women & Children’s on Bryant Street. It was moms against managers. Kaleida Health found itself overwhelmed by a public relations disaster.

Changing course

A few weeks before the rally, Kaleida Health had brought in a new CEO, William McGuire, who made it clear that his priority was repairing the rift with the pediatricians. And a little more than a week after the rally, Kaleida Health changed course.

McGuire said it didn’t make sense to move forward without buy-in from doctors and staff. The hospital system shelved plans to move Women & Children’s and promised a collaborative examination of a physician plan to stay on Bryant Street. This included a new outpatient center on Hodge Street across the road from main pediatric campus, a facility needed to address the major shift in care away from long hospitalizations.

The saga was far from over. It wasn’t clear the physicians’ plan was viable. Doctors also were talking about making the hospital independent of Kaleida Health. How were they going to reach consensus, especially if Women & Children’s was financially weak?

Things reached a climax in late March 2002 in an 11-hour meeting in New York City that brought 14 representatives from all the sides together. Dennis Rivera, then president of the powerful Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union, which represented the 1,600 workers at Women & Children’s, served as mediator at his offices in Times Square. His role was key.

Rivera and McGuire knew and respected each other from McGuire’s days as a hospital chief executive in New York City. SEIU was the nation’s largest health care labor group, giving Rivera great influence with former Gov. George Pataki, whose assistance would be needed.

An agreement was  reached that united doctors, staff, and Kaleida Health’s board of directors and management in a commitment to preserve the facility’s free-standing status. It also elicited a promise from Pataki to pursue money to help build a new outpatient center and fund other improvements.

The two-page memorandum of understanding was short on details, a sore point with many people back in Buffalo. Instead, McGuire and Rivera advocated a document more focused on building a relationship among distrustful factions who had been at war, said George Kennedy, then secretary-treasurer of Local 1199 Upstate SEIU.

“I’ve been involved in hundreds of negotiations, and this was one of the most exquisite solutions I’ve ever seen — for its simplicity, for the way they focused everyone on seeing how their interests might coincide,” he said. ”

Soon after reaching agreement, Pataki outlined the plan in front of a cheering crowd at Women’s and Children’s.

A major part of the deal was  Pataki’s  promise to help Kaleida Health resolve a legal claim for $30.8 million from the federal government related to the merger that created the hospital system. Two-thirds of the money was supposed to go toward a new outpatient center.

In a settlement that wasn’t reached until 2005, Kaleida Health received about half that amount, although the state also offered financial help.

Bryant Neighbors object to outpatient

Planning for the outpatient facility at the old children’s hospital on Bryant moved forward, this time in what participants described as a bottom-up, grassroots process that involved Kaleida Health, its doctors and labor.

They presented a proposal in 2007 that included the new center and other renovations, such as a surface parking lot. It might have looked great on paper, but nearby homeowners raised concerns about the project harming the character of a neighborhood lined with Victorian homes, and some filed  lawsuits to stop it.

It’s a generalization, but physicians and others felt as though the same people who once mobilized to keep the hospital on Bryant only wanted it if the hospital never changed.

“A portion of the neighborhood wanted the old children’s hospital, not an expansion, but that was not viable,”  Lana said.

“It was annoying,” said Kennedy, the local union leader. “We had done everything to plant the flag on Bryant. I know it wasn’t really the same people probably. But it was frustrating.”

Faced with neighborhood opposition, a physicians committee began to look at construction of the outpatient center on the downtown medical campus, and in 2010 urged Kaleida Health to locate it in a new medical office building, Conventus, along Main Street. It would be the first step toward the eventual move of the entire hospital.

Changed conditions made the decision to leave Bryant Street easier.

Kaleida Health’s management, then headed by CEO James Kaskie, was continuing McGuire’s philosophy and working collaboratively with the doctors and staff. The hospital system’s finances had improved. It had purchased land for a pediatric hospital and shown it could take on big projects with construction of the Gates Vascular Institute. Further incentive was UB’s move to build a new Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences on the medical campus. All of which coincided with a renewed interest in downtown development.

“It was no longer build a children’s hospital, and the people will come. It was like all the pieces were fitting together. Kaleida Health did it the right way, and for the right reasons,”  Kennedy said. “And it turned out to be a better idea than anyone had when all this started.”

Give Transit a Try For Free!

The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is offering employees who work on the Medical Campus the chance to try transit for free, either using the bus or train to get to work during the month of November, December, or January. With two train stations and multiple bus routes directly serving the Medical Campus, transit is a great way to get to work.

If you are interested in giving transit a try, please fill out this short survey. Eligible participants must work on the Medical Campus and not use public transportation as their primary commute mode. They must also put their parking pass on hold for the month in which they choose to try transit. Passes may be picked up at the front desk of the Innovation Center at 640 Ellicott Street between 8 am to 8 pm.

Already a GoBNMC member? We want to thank you for being awesome! Starting in November, we’ll be raffling off four $50 gift certificates every month until January to local businesses in our surrounding community. Register now for a chance to win!

If you are new to public transit, check out our Frequently Asked Questions.The NFTA’s website is useful for schedule information.