In the 2012 legislative session, AMSNY advocated at the state level in support of:
- Empire State Stem Cell Program (NYSTEM)
- AMSNY Diversity in Medicine Programs
- Science and Technology Entry Programs (STEP)
- Regional Economic Development Councils
- The Foundation for Science, Technology, and Innovation (NYSTAR)
- Medical Malpractice Reform
The Empire State Stem Cell Program (NYSTEM)
New York State is home to one of the strongest biomedical research communities in the world, with sixteen medical schools and approximately 100 teaching hospitals and other top quality research institutions. NYSTEM funding supports researcher-initiated stem cell research, encourages collaborations among scientists, facilitates the acquisition and development of specialized equipment, helps the state attract the best scientists in the field, and increases the capacity of New York State institutions to engage in stem cell research. As research advances to the stage of successful therapies, New York could stand to realize billions of dollars in reduced health care costs. By continuing their investment in NYSTEM, Governor Cuomo and the Legislature are ensuring NYS research institutions remain at the forefront of biomedical research, and can continue programs aimed at capturing the scientific and commercial potential of this new field of medicine.
AMSNY Diversity in Medicine Programs
Since 1991, AMSNY has supported an array of programs across the state with the intent of expanding the pool of students choosing careers in health and medicine. The goals of these programs, which have been endorsed by the New York State Department of Health, is to provide academic enrichment and support to students from educationally and/or economically underserved backgrounds. This is an opportunity that a majority of participants would not have due to cultural and financial barriers. The AMSNY Diversity Programs include the Post-Baccalaureate Program at the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, the SUNY Upstate Medical Scholars Masters’ Program, the New York Medical College Interdisciplinary Basic Medical Sciences Masters’ Program, the Stony Brook University Medical Center Physiology and Biophysics Masters Program, the Learning Resource Center at Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education at CCNY, the Pathways to Careers in Medicine at the City College of New York, the Physician Career Enhancement Program at Staten Island University, as well as MCAT prep programs at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and NYU School of Medicine.
Science and Technology Entry Programs (STEP)
The intent of the STEP programs has been to serve students in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields and continue to expand the pipeline of underrepresented minority and educationally and economically disadvantaged students in medicine. Since the programs’ inception in 1986, the AMSNY STEP has been the only statewide consortium and has served a total of 5,161 students.
Regional Economic Development Councils
New York State is home to the finest collections of academic medical centers, which form the backbone of the nation’s $450 billion medical and research sector, and represent an important driver of the State’s economy. In 2008, academic medical centers had a statewide economic impact of more than $85.6 billion in the aggregate, accounting for eight percent of the State’s total economy and nearly $4.2 billion in tax revenue. Academic medical centers collectively supported nearly 694,000 full-time equivalent jobs as a result of their operations. As New York expands its commitments to, and investments in, science and technology, it should seek new partnerships to leverage the considerable resources and intellectual capital housed within its academic medical centers. Such partnerships can spur biomedical innovation, accelerate growth of the State’s biotechnology sector, and drive the development of a sophisticated workforce on par with the very best in the world.
The Foundation for Science, Technology, and Innovation (NYSTAR) Faculty Recruitment and Retention Program and Innovative Matching Grants Program
NYSTAR has funded a variety of initiatives that support New York’s biomedical and biotechnology-related enterprises through its sponsorship of faculty development, basic science, technology, and young researcher programs. These programs, along with the New York State Innovation Economy Matching Grants, have enabled institutions to attract outstanding scientific talent, fostering university-industry collaborations, and harnessing new technologies that emerge from our research institutions into real world applications. NYSTAR-funded scientists have demonstrated tremendous success in commercializing their research. For instance, at Columbia University, eight faculty received awards of approximately $750,000 each, for a total State investment of $6 million during the period of 2002 to 2009. These eight faculty members have received more than $50 million in federal and foundation grants. From 2001 to 2011, eight researchers at Stony Brook University Medical Center also received approximately $5.7 million in NYSTAR awards. Their research has led to six start-up companies, 33 invention disclosures, 57 patent applications, and 21 issued patents. In addition, they have brought in a total of $38.8 million in funding from federal sources.
Medical Malpractice Reform
The costs associated with medical malpractice in New York State are among the highest in the nation, a problem that has gone without a comprehensive solution for decades. New York has a worsening shortage of physicians in primary care as well as certain specialties, such as obstetrics, in many areas of the State. If New York enacts comprehensive medical malpractice reform, it would make the State a more attractive place to practice and also be a significant cost savings to the State. Based on estimates from the Congressional Budget Office and the $61 billion annually that New York State spends on health care, the state would save approximately $305 million annually by implementing comprehensive medical malpractice reform. The implementation of the Medical Indemnity Fund last fiscal year is a step in the right direction, but addition programs must be developed in order to realize the full economic and social benefit of medical malpractice reform.