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By Michael E. Cain

The downtown move of the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is an exciting new chapter for Buffalo. But its most dramatic effects will go far beyond the city.

Because UB’s medical school has for decades resided on UB’s South Campus – six miles north of our hospital partners – the school’s tripartite missions often were carried out in the background of our community’s health care.

The medical school’s downtown move will change all that. For the first time, the City of Buffalo will be home to a true academic health center – with the medical school and three of its hospital partners working in close proximity, engaged collaboratively in transforming Buffalo into an international destination for the very best medical research, education and patient care.

Even as construction begins next year, UB’s medical school already is undergoing a transformation – one that will benefit medical care in many exciting ways. Under UB President Satish Tripathi’s leadership, and supported by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s vision, the UB medical school is strengthening an already strong national reputation by attracting prominent department chairs and more than 100 new medical faculty members from around the world.

With active research awards totaling $198 million, UB researchers and physician-scientists consistently publish in top scientific journals, advancing medical knowledge and innovation worldwide. Lifesaving UB research led to the development of Avonex, which delays disability progression in multiple sclerosis, and a lung surfactant that allows premature infants to survive.

Next month, a nationally recognized researcher will assume leadership of UB’s pediatric surgery residency program, a result of joint efforts of UB and its partner hospitals. UB residency programs in general surgery and dermatology are welcoming new physicians-in-training to improved and accredited programs. In 2013, 50 percent more students in our medical school chose a UB residency program than in 2012.

The Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education recently extended UB’s accreditation as a sponsoring institution of residency programs through 2025. This signals the organization’s confidence in UB’s high-caliber residency programs, advancing them into the next accreditation cycle. In addition, 52 individual UB residency programs, including three based at Roswell Park, have been advanced to a system of extended accreditation.

UB’s larger faculty, increased enrollment and robust residency programs will help our region recruit and retain the best and brightest physicians. This will assure Western New Yorkers of receiving highly specialized and innovative medical care right here in Buffalo.

Michael E. Cain, M.D., is vice president for health sciences and dean of the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.