One of Governor Lincoln D. Chafee's top economic development priorities is the successful development of the valuable land opened up by the relocation of I-195 in downtown Providence. Since taking office in January, Governor Chafee has led a number of fact-finding trips to cities that have successfully developed urban areas centered around educational institutions and the medical, research and life-sciences industries. The Governor traveled to Houston in February to visit the Texas Medical Center and to Baltimore in April to tour the University of Maryland Medical Center and BioPark.
Governor Chafee continued the series today, inviting a delegation of leading Rhode Islanders to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to tour the facilities of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and meet with UPMC officials.
The Governor was joined in Pittsburgh by a number of Rhode Island leaders, including: Providence Mayor Angel Taveras; Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio; House Majority Leader Nicholas Mattiello; Dr. Edward Wing, Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences, Brown University; I-195 Commission Chairman Colin Kane; Marissa Quinn, Brown University; Dr. Timothy Babineau, President & CEO, Rhode Island Hospital; RIEDC Executive Director Keith Stokes; Jon Duffy, Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce; Rich Horan, the Slater Fund; Michael Sabitoni, Local Union 271; Allan Tear, Betaspring; George Nee, AFL-CIO; James Bennett, Economic Development Director, City of Providence; and Patrick Rogers, Governor Chafee's Chief of Staff.
"Pittsburgh is an impressive model of how an old economy steel town transformed itself into a cutting edge medical and educational center of excellence," Governor Chafee said. "By aligning sometimes competing groups -- universities, hospitals, government, labor and business -- toward a common goal, Pittsburgh has become a leading center of "meds and eds.' The result of this positive collaboration has been consistent economic growth, increased research investment, and a proven record of innovation and job creation."
"Mayor Taveras, Senate Majority Leader Ruggerio, House Majority Leader Mattiello and I are pleased that our delegation from Rhode Island -- including leaders from the fields of education, medicine, business development and labor -- is in Pittsburgh with us today so that we can work collaboratively to implement some of the best practices learned on our visit," Governor Chafee continued. "I am confident that many of the lessons learned here can be applied to Rhode Island and can help our state realize its full educational, economic development and job creation potential."
The day began at UPMC's facilities in the U.S. Steel Building in downtown Pittsburgh with a welcome address from Board Chairman G. Nicholas Beckwith III, followed by an overview of the medical center and its relationship with the University of Pittsburgh as a whole. The group then took part in a panel discussion featuring a number of UPMC officials, with topics including: the role of "meds and eds' in developing a knowledge-based economy; workforce development considerations; how an academic medical center can spur and support economic health and vitality; the role of the availability of land; and challenges and lessons learned from the case of UPMC. The second session of the afternoon, held at UPMC's Center for Connected Medicine within the U.S. Steel Building, featured presentations on a number of topics: "innovation and industry partnerships"; an overview of the Center for Connected Medicine; "good science/smart technology"; an overview of the Technology Development Center; and "industry (public/private) partnerships." In the late afternoon, the delegation was led on walking tours of the UPMC Shadyside and Hillman Cancer Center as well as the John G. Rangos Sr. Research Center and Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and UPMC.
The group will return to Rhode Island this evening.