Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – Several Central New York education centers have been charged with tackling some of the most significant health issues facing Americans.
The state is pulling together four colleges – SUNY ESF, Upstate Medical University, SUNY Oswego, and Onondaga Community College – for the first Institute of Environmental Health and Medicine.
Albany has earmarked $15 million to launch the institute.
The institute is taking the area’s top sectors – education and medicine – and combining them.
The mission is to address the growing research that shows much of the chronic disease we face is either initiated or aggravated by environmental vectors.
"Whether it be cancer or nervous system disorders, things like Lyme Disease that what will come out of this is both trained professionals that know how to better deal with the environmental vectors and on the research side coming up with some solutions to these problems,” said SUNY ESF President Neil Murphy.
"A lot of institutions don't have that depth but we're in a unique situation here. We have the College of Environmental Science and Forestry, we have a college of medicine, a lot of faculty, a lot of students here with a deep interest in environmental issues and making the world a better place,” said SUNY Upstate Assistant Vice President for Government and Community Relations Dan Hurley.
The plan is to use some of the grant money to build out the new bio-accelerator at Loguen’s Crossing with the type of clean labs that will allow a start-up to take an idea and transfer it to the market.
“The seed money is going to enhance all four partnering institutions to make a great impact on this particular area – no doubt about it,” Murphy said.
"When we saw this grant we said, 'Boy this is it, this will be a great place for us to create a canopy for this operation,' and it turned out everybody stepped forward with their best effort,” Hurley said.
But landing the grant is only the beginning of what they both say has all the potential of being an important project not only for the Central New York region, but the world.
The project is expected to create hundreds of construction jobs and permanent jobs in Central New York. It is also expected to contribute 20 patents and at least 22 new start-up companies within five years.