Niagara Gazette

Features

November 4, 2012

LEADERSHIP CHRONICLES: Buffalo Niagara Medical campus evolved from cooperation

Niagara Gazette — Many years ago, a small group of Western New York leaders, each from a powerful organization, gathered together to try to create the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus in a desolate area of the city’s East Side, on the north edge of downtown.

The effort, despite the good intentions of many, failed. According to someone who was there at the time, none of the leaders could be convinced to see beyond the interests of their own organizations. It wasn’t until they gave the effort another shot and figured out the blind-sided self interest that was blocking progress that the medical campus exploded into what appears to be an extraordinary collaboration that could change the city’s reputation, draw thousands into downtown Buffalo each day and create jobs and healing research and services that could save countless lives throughout the world.

That’s what I learned on my most recent Leadership Niagara outing, when my classmates and I participated in Health Day. The day started at the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center where we talked about the state of health care.

We had a talk from Congressman Brian Higgins and I raised my hand and asked him straight out to explain today’s health care issues so that I could understand them a little bit better. “Can you explain Obamacare and help me understand how health care will be impacted by the Democrats or the Republicans. I am so confused,” I said.

Higgins said I wasn’t the only one confused, and alluded to the fact that heated political exchange has muddied the waters.

“Health care reform has been tried by every administration for the last 100 years. It didn’t need a finish, it needed a start,” he said.

I didn’t feel particularly enlightened by the congressman’s response so, days later, as a result of that conversation I undertook a research project to better understand health care reform myself. (See my story on page 1C of today’s section.) But, like in all of our Leadership Niagara sessions, we had much more to cover.

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