Visitors from the Silicon Desert

Earlier this week, we welcomed 21 health care, research, education, and business leaders from Phoenix for a benchmarking visit led by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. They are considering creating an organization like the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. to help facilitate conversation and collaboration among their region’s leading entities. As they talked about their plans with other cities around the country, they were pointed toward Buffalo & the BNMC, and we were more than happy to host the group to share what we’ve learned. This trip was a follow-up from last year’s benchmarking visit to the Texas Medical Center in Houston.

While on the Medical Campus, they spent time with BNMC CEO Matt Enstice, founding Board Chair, Tom Beecher, former Mayor Tony Masiello, and former Oishei Foundation President Tom Baker for frank discussions about the challenges and opportunities of building the Medical Campus in Buffalo, beginning from its inception 15+ years ago. They visited dig & the Innovation Center and learned about our efforts across the Campus for job creation and technology disruption. They took a health and wellness-focused exterior Campus tour to learn more about our active placemaking efforts.

The group was very interested in tangible examples of the major institutions on the Medical Campus collaborating, so a visit to UB’s Clinical and Translational and Research Center and Kaleida Health’s Gates Vascular Institute was a must. They heard from Jacobs Institute founder, Dr. Nick Hopkins, and CEO, Bill Maggio, about its role as a nexus between clinical care and research, facilitating connections between physicians, students, engineers, entrepreneurs and industry all under one roof, and toured a number of spaces in the building, including the Toshiba Stroke Center led by Dr. Tim Murphy from the University at Buffalo. They heard from Dr. Ed Lattman at Hauptman-Woodward Institute about its role in the BioXFel grant and connections to consortium member Arizona State University.  Mayor Byron Brown, Invest Buffalo Niagara President Tom Kucharski, and Buffalo Niagara Partnership President Dottie Gallagher-Cohen also shared their perspective with the group as collaborative economic development officials working with the BNMC organization and our member institutions.

While the group spent most of their trip listening to and asking questions of our partners, they did find some time to enjoy more of the cultural attributes in Buffalo Niagara! Many were thrilled at our weather, as it was 120 degrees when they left Phoenix, and were happy just to walk and run comfortably outside.  We had a lovely dinner with their delegation and leaders from our community at the Darwin Martin House, a nice tie as the Phoenix region is home to Taliesin West, another Frank Lloyd Wright home.

We have learned so much from other communities, we are always happy to give back and spend time with those looking to do something similar.  We are hosting a delegation from Baton Rouge later this summer and look forward to sharing our experience with them, as well.

Read more about the trip in the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce blog and in this article by Invest Buffalo Niagara.