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Health & Medicine

New SUNY Upstate President Ushers in New Era

Scott Willis

You might say it was the first day of school Thursday for SUNY Upstate Medical University’s new president.  Dr. Danielle Laraque-Arena has spent the past three months or so getting to know the university and the community it serves.  She calls the transition between her appointment in September and today "marvelous."

"I've been anticipating the first day, and I'm thrilled."          

She says one of her themes is to connect science and education to the work they need to do at Upstate.  She says there has to be a focus on tackling Syracuse’s high rate of poverty. 

"There are effective strategies as a health institution, health sciences campus, we must address the issues that lead to increased morbidity and mortality and help promote health.  We are part of that puzzle in addressing the issue of concentrated poverty in Syracuse."

Laraque-Arena says they won’t get far if they don’t collaborate with the other puzzle pieces…Crouse Hospital next door, St. Joseph’s Hospital, and now Syracuse University with its planned National Veterans Resource Complex.  She says the best science emerges as a result of effective team-based care.

"It's not me as a physician and what I can do individually.  Because what I can do individually can be augmented and magnified if I do it effectively with a team. I've had the opportunity to meet with each of the leaders of Crouse, St. Joseph's, and SU, and we must be partners going forward."

Laraque-Arena says she’s an optimist..while also being a realist.  

Credit Scott Willis / WAER News
Upstate's Weiskotten Hall

Laraque-Arena takes over from interim president Gregory Eastwood, who retired last week.  He ran the medical school and hospital since David Smith resigned over a pay scandal in late 2013.