(This is a continuing series of conversations with David Smith, MD, the president of Upstate Medical University. Read the first conversation here.)
One of our goals is to serve our region, both by recruiting and admitting students from New York state, and to prepare our graduates to care for our state’s diverse population. We have made a concerted effort to supply a well-educated workforce to the region and this ties back to our original mission.
Our values go back for generations. We were founded, in 1834, to serve the new population that was emerging along the Erie Canal — not to mention the disease and pestilence that followed that growth, and the environmental hazards along the way. We were created to train doctors who would work to solve those problems and who would care for the community.
I’m not sure we’ve ever turned our back on the urgency from which we were created. It has always been in our roots. The values are still there. That sense of place and of being well-grounded continues today. That’s why we’ve been able to attract such engaged, passionate students. It’s remarkable. Across our four colleges, our students have a keen awareness of the environment and individual circumstances. They have a high level of compassion and caring. They are doing and going above and beyond what is just required in the classroom and the laboratory. They are ready and willing to meet today’s needs.
So their potential probably has not been fully realized — which gives us great hope for being able to do the things we’re going to have to do in the future.