Maria Mitchell, who led a high-profile hospital privatization battle in New York, has resigned as senior mayoral adviser and chairwoman of the city's Health and Hospitals Corp.
She is leaving the $133,000 post to lead a biomedical research funding venture initiated by the Greater New York Hospital Association.
As HHC chairwoman and adviser to Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Mitchell recently completed the unpopular task of leasing Coney Island, a public hospital, to private, for-profit Primary Health Systems, a Wayne, Pa.-based hospital chain (See Commentary, p. 49).
Rosa M. Gil, a senior vice president in charge of a two-hospital network in the Bronx, which is part of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp., succeeds Mitchell, whose last day is Dec. 10.
Mitchell becomes president of Academic Medicine Development Corp., a new organization created to prop up New York's slumping status in the world of biomedical research funding. According to statistics supplied by GNYHA, New York received 11.3% of total research funding supplied by the National Institutes of Health in 1995, down from an average of 15.3% in the period from 1979 to 1981. The difference amounts to $314 million in lost income, GNYHA said.
AMDC seeks to raise $200 million to $300 million over the next several years, said Kenneth E. Raske, GNYHA president.
Mitchell's salary, which has not been disclosed, will be paid by AMDC's 14 shareholders, who are among the region's largest research and teaching institutions. Each shareholder contributed $25,000 in seed money to the new venture, he said.
AMDC actually will consist of three separate companies, Raske said. One, a for-profit, taxable organization, will develop a "superfund" to attract venture capital money to support start-up biotechnology companies. Two not-for-profit corporations also will be created, one to receive grants and another to house lobbyists who will seek to increase federal and state appropriations for biomedical research.
GNYHA will serve on the board of AMDC and will enter a management contract to run the organization, Raske said. Technically, Mitchell will be employed by GNYHA, he added.
Gil, who has a master's degree in social work and a doctorate in social welfare, will take over responsibility for reorganizing HHC where Mitchell left off. In addition, she will advise the mayor on health policy issues, chair HHC's board, oversee the city's Office of Managed Care and coordinate other health-related issues.