- May 17, 2011
- By: Carolyn Pennington, UConn Today
The Health Center is part of a new economic revitalization plan being proposed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. The Bioscience Connecticut initiative aims to make the state a leader in bioscience research and in turn, jumpstart the state’s economy by creating jobs and generating long-term economic growth.
“This proposal represents a new way of thinking about the UConn Health Center and the way in which it can be leveraged to create new jobs now, sustain economic growth and innovation, and improve public health,” said Malloy. “More than just a medical and dental school or just a hospital – we have to think about the UConn Health Center in its entirety, as an asset that can make Connecticut become a national leader in a bioscience economy.”
Highlights of Malloy’s proposal include:
- Creating 3,000 construction jobs annually through 2018.
- Generating $4.6 billion increase in personal income by 2037, including the creation of 16,400 jobs.
- Doubling federal and industry research grants to drive discovery, innovation, and commercialization.
- Increasing access to high quality health care.
- Graduating and retaining more physicians and dentists to meet forecasted workforce needs resulting from health care reform and the state’s aging population.
- Strengthening and stabilizing the Health Center’s finances.
President designate Susan Herbst is introduced at the press conference. Photo by Peter Morenus
“Bioscience Connecticut is different from prior proposals that involved the Health Center,” said UConn President-designate Susan Herbst. “While they were principally intended to secure the Health Center’s financial footing, this initiative is primarily focused on using the Health Center to achieve state economic and health care objectives.”
The initiative also seeks to address the growing shortage of physicians and dentists being predicted in the years ahead.
“By training more physicians and dentists, the Governor’s plan responds to these dire trends,” said Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, vice president for health affairs and medical school dean. “The increased enrollment, combined with other elements of Bioscience Connecticut, is expected to raise our schools into top tier, national status. In turn, this will spur economic growth and lasting public health benefits for our state.”
For the Health Center, key components of the plan include:
Dr. Cato Laurencin, vice president for health affairs, speaks at the press conference. Photo by Peter Morenus
- Renovating existing Health Center facilities to increase bioscience research capacity and productivity, increasing the number of basic and clinical/translational scientists, and expanding small business incubator facilities to foster new business start-ups.
- Increasing the Health Center’s medical and dental schools’ enrollment by 30 percent, and establish a loan forgiveness program to attract more graduates to practice primary care medicine and dentistry in Connecticut.
- Constructing the new patient tower and a new ambulatory care facility, and increasing the number of Health Center primary and specialty care clinicians.
The $864 million proposal will be paid for by a combination of new and previously approved bonding, private financing, and Health Center resources.
President-designate Susan Herbst speaks at the press conference held at the UConn Health Center to announce Bioscience Connecticut. Photo by Peter Morenus
House Majority Leader Christopher Donovan (D-Meriden) speaks as, from left, President Philip Austin, Senate President Don Williams, and Dr. Cato Laurencin, seated, look on. Photo by Peter Morenus
State Sen. Terry Gerratana (D-New Britain) speaks, as State Rep. Bill Wadsworth (R- Farmington), center, looks on. Photo by Peter Morenus
President-designate Susan Herbst meets with legislators after the press conference. Photo by Peter Morenus