University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University have extended their affiliation through 2031, continuing a lengthy history of working together.
The amendment expands opportunities for collaboration between the two organizations, as well as with others across the region, according to a news release.
"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 Dr. Cliff Megerian, CEO of UH, in a provided statement. "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."
The previous arrangement continued through September, but leaders of the hospital and university felt that starting talks earlier would benefit both organizations and the region, according to the release.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted just how powerful partnerships can be in protecting the health of our community," said Scott Cowen, interim president of CWRU, in a provided statement. "This amendment encourages our joint pursuit of shared priorities, offers flexibility to engage with others, and creates new opportunities for region-wide progress."
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCCC) — a partnership among CWRU, UH and Cleveland Clinic with 400 investigators across the three organizations — is an example of the kinds of initiatives leaders expect will be catalyzed by the new agreement. CCCC, which received the National Cancer Institute's highest rating in 2018, aims to advance education and research while caring for roughly 15,000 new cancer cases each year in the region, according to the release.
"The cancer center's success is not simply a function of establishing a formal relationship among three entities," said Stan Gerson, longtime CCCC director and currently interim dean of CWRU's School of Medicine, in a provided statement. "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."
The agreement also includes commitments from hospital and medical school leaders to have regular conversations about strategic priorities, both existing and emerging, so that when alignment occurs, the organizations have the opportunity to engage in coordinated investments in research and education, according to the release.
"We've identified several initial strategic priorities in this renewed commitment to research," said Dr. Daniel Simon, chief scientific and clinical officer for University Hospitals and president of UH Cleveland Medical Center, in a provided statement. "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."