Agreement Offers Additional Collaboration Opportunities between Organizations and across Northeast Ohio
CLEVELAND, February 1, 2021 —Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and University Hospitals (UH) have extended their affiliation through 2031 in an amendment that expands opportunities for collaboration between the two organizations — and with others across Northeast Ohio.
“UH and CWRU signed their first formal agreement 125 years ago, and the relationship between us has provided tremendous opportunities in medical education and research for our institutions, the field of medicine, and the health of society,” said Cliff Megerian, MD, CEO of UH. “I am proud that we continue to grow and strengthen our ties, especially during this unprecedented time which has underscored importance of cooperation in the fight against illness and disease.”
While the previous arrangement between the hospital and university continued through September of this year, their leaders felt earlier conversations would well serve both organizations — and the region more broadly.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted just how powerful partnerships can be in protecting the health of our community,” Case Western Reserve Interim President Scott Cowen said. “This amendment encourages our joint pursuit of shared priorities, offers flexibility to engage with others, and creates new opportunities for region-wide progress.”
The leaders of both institutions’ boards also strongly supported the earlier start of talks, as well as the extension that resulted from them.
“We have seen firsthand the kind of progress that can be made when major institutions come together around common purposes,” CWRU Board Chair Fred DiSanto said. “I can think of none more important than improving and saving lives.”
“Words cannot express how important the affiliation between these two great institutions has been and will continue to be to advancing the wellbeing of our community and the science of health,” said UH Board Chair Art Anton. “The new agreement invigorates the spirit of collaboration that drives our academic mission to heal, to teach, to discover.”
Leaders cited the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCCC) as an example of the kinds of initiatives they expect the new agreement will help catalyze. A partnership among CWRU, UH and Cleveland Clinic, the center received the National Cancer Institute’s highest rating in 2018 — putting it among the very few top centers in the country. With 400 investigators spread among the three organizations, the CCCC advances education and research while also caring for the region’s roughly 15,000 new cancer cases each year.
“The cancer center’s success is not simply a function of establishing a formal relationship among three entities,” said longtime CCCC Director Stan Gerson, now also serving as Interim Dean of the School of Medicine. “It involves bringing talented people together, exchanging ideas, and developing new ways to tackle complex challenges. This 10-year extension provides the time and context for us to achieve comparable gains with one another, and also with additional partners.”
To that end, the agreement includes commitments from hospital and medical school leaders to engage in regular conversations regarding existing and emerging strategic priorities. In cases where alignment occurs, the organizations would have the opportunity to engage in coordinated investments in research and education. “We’ve identified several initial strategic priorities in this renewed commitment to research,” said Daniel Simon, MD, Chief Scientific and Clinical Officer for University Hospitals and President of UH Cleveland Medical Center. “Among those priorities are cancer, neuroscience, immunity, imaging and population health. Finally, the extension maintains UH’s commitment to provide clinical opportunities for CWRU’s medical and allied health students.”