Published on September 10, 2016
Thirty-five radiologists from Great Lakes Medical Imaging are joining the University at Buffalo’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, a first step toward reviving the school’s medical residency program in radiology that ended 10 years ago.
The move provides a major boost to both the school’s radiology department, which had just a handful of full-time faculty, and the university’s UBMD Radiology practice plan, which had just one radiologist, UB officials said. The Great Lakes Medical Imaging radiologists will treat patients through UBMD Radiology.
The new arrangement eventually will bring more radiologists into the local pool of doctors and will give area patients better access to radiology services at outpatient clinics, at Buffalo General Medical Center and at Erie County Medical Center, according to the university.
“This is a transformation and a renaissance for the department of radiology, to have a new chair and 35 radiologists that will engage in the education of our students and allow us to re-establish a residency program and to be excellent caregivers as part of the larger UBMD physician workforce,” Dr. Michael E. Cain, vice president for health sciences at UB and dean of the Medical School, said in an interview.
UB officials said the move wasn’t possible without the cooperation of the members of the Great Lakes Health System – the university, the Kaleida Health hospital network and ECMC – a body created by a state commission in 2006 to encourage regional health care planning.
The 35 practicing radiologists from Great Lakes Medical Imaging join the Medical School’s radiology department, which previously had about five full-time faculty, Cain said. Two are Ph.D.s who conducted research, two practiced at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and one practiced through UBMD Radiology, he said.
The 35 new faculty members will practice through UBMD Radiology. The practice plan will provide radiology services to Kaleida Health’s Buffalo General, as Great Lakes has done for a number of years. And the new agreement makes UBMD Radiology the sole provider of those services at ECMC, where Great Lakes Medical Imaging had been named the official diagnostic imaging provider in September 2015.
Great Lakes Medical Imaging sites will remain open under that company’s name, Cain said. There are seven outpatient locations, including five in Buffalo Niagara, according to the company’s website.
“You add all these sites together, if you go there you will have your X-ray interpreted, and you will be cared for, by a UBMD Radiology physician,” Cain said.
A key goal of the move is to restart the school’s training program in radiology. UB said it voluntarily withdrew the program from the national accreditation process conducted by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education in 2006, following the departure of several faculty members.
Residency programs provide training in a medical or surgical specialty for graduates of a medical school. The programs usually run from three to seven years, according to the university.
UB officials said they plan to start the residency application process this year with a goal of enrolling the department’s first class of radiology residents in summer 2018. Once the program is up and running, the program would bring in classes of between seven and nine residents each year, Cain said.
The addition of the 35 new faculty also will boost the clinical research performed in the department, Cain said.
UB has appointed Dr. Kenneth D. Pearsen, the co-founder and former president of Great Lakes Medical Imaging, chair of the Medical School’s radiology department and president of the UBMD Radiology practice plan. Dr. Angelo DelBalso, who served as chair of the department, has returned to the faculty full time.
Cain said UB will invest $1 million in its expanded radiology department, primarily for salaries of some of the new members and support for research and education. The money will come from the UB Foundation, the State University of New York Research Foundation, revenue from the practice plan and operating funds.