Thursday, 06 June 2013 20:32

SUNY Oswego partners in $15 million project to establish environmental health institute

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     Four Central New York SUNY institutions – the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), SUNY Oswego, SUNY Upstate Medical University and Onondaga Community College – have won $15 million in a competitive grant program to create the SUNY Institute of Environmental Health and Environmental Medicine.

     Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the project's approval June 3.

     The funding comes from the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant program, in which SUNY campuses developed and submitted collaborative economic development projects for funding.

     SUNY Oswego's contribution to the Institute of Environmental Health and Environmental Medicine will be the Center for Innovation in Wireless Technology, to be established in Syracuse.

     Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the State University of New York established the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program in 2011 to make SUNY a leading catalyst for job growth throughout the state.

     "Thanks to the vision of Gov. Cuomo in partnership with SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, the power of SUNY is being harnessed to revitalize the economy of Upstate New York. SUNY Oswego is honored to partner with our sister campuses in the Syracuse region in this round of NYSUNY 2020 funding," said SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley.

     "We are elated at the approval of this grand collaboration, which aims to improve health care in New York and beyond by applying the concentration of resources in education and medicine that distinguishes our region," Stanley said. "Technology has tremendous potential to open the door to better public health and, at the same time, to create new, high-paying jobs in Central New York – which our colleges and universities will train students to fill."

     The institute will be the first of its kind in the nation, intersecting medicine, environment, engineering, entrepreneurship, technology and education. It will address issues of global health and expand new research, provide academic and industry collaborations, and offer associate through doctorate degrees with a focus on improving health through understanding the environment's impact on health and medicine.

     The institute will leverage the strengths of the four SUNY campuses and other regional partners to support teaching, research, health care and entrepreneurial activity. It will collaborate with area industry partners including Welch Allyn, Colden Corp., C&S, O'Brien & Gere, and ConMed Corp. The institute will also provide new opportunities for development within existing partnerships such as the Central New York Biotechnology Research Accelerator and the University Hill Collaboration in Environmental Medicine.

     The project to create the institute complements the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council's Five-Year Economic Development Strategic Plan. The project expects to create 400 construction jobs, 651 permanent jobs in the wireless technology field and other areas of development, and expanded student enrollments. It also expects to contribute to 20 patents and at least 22 new start-up companies in five years.

     The award is expected to help strengthen the REDC plan by leveraging the regional industry concentrations that already exist, encouraging cross-industry collaboration and attracting outside investment and interest.

Wireless technology center

     Conceived by Oswego's Engineering Advisory Board, the Center for Innovation in Wireless Technology will be the research, product development and testing arm of the Wireless Solutions Lab opening soon in Oswego's new Shineman Center for Science, Engineering and Innovation.

     Wireless applications in health care have the potential to vastly improve the mobility and comfort of patients as well as expand access to health services and lower the cost of care. The center will help conduct the research and development to assist industry partners in bringing new medical devices to market.

     "Digital tools are the key to allowing us to combine personal health data, environmental data, and the social support of online communities to affect behavior change on a broad scale," said Dr. Lorrie Clemo, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Oswego. "The new Institute for Environmental Health and Environmental Medicine presents Central New York educators and our research partners with an auspicious moment in public health whereby new affordable technologies offer the potential to revolutionize health – much like what childhood vaccines did to reduce vulnerabilities and improve lives on a global scale."

     The project to establish the SUNY Institute of Environmental Health and Environmental Medicine received support from a diverse group of leaders in government, business and education. In addition, the institute's Center for Innovation in Wireless Technology, received specific support, including from:

     Stephen F. Meyer, president and CEO of Welch Allyn, who said, "The Center for Innovation in Wireless Technology, combined with SUNY Oswego's existing capabilities in software engineering, computer-human interaction, and businesses with access to wireless architecture and design experise, which is a considerable skill gap in New York and the United States. The opportunities afforded by this center will further develop a knowledeable workforce which would most assuredly advance economic development in the Cental New York region and beyond."

     Jessica Crawford, president of MedTech, who said, "Whether the industry sector consists of medical and health care products and services, renewable energy, cleantech, communications, sensors, data, security or biotech, the state's key manufacturing, agribusiness and creative service sectors will be suppported by a potential Center of Innovation in Wireless Technology."

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