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Why the University at Buffalo Closed Medical School Unit

Thanks to a Freedom of Information request made by Artvoice, you can click here to read the April 7, 2009 review of UB’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department, which led to the decision to close the unit.

In supplying the information to Artvoice, SUNYAB Information Officer James Jarvis wrote, “I note that your indication that the report was the sole basis for the termination of the program is presumptive, but nevertheless, I think this is the document you are looking for.”

The review, conducted by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, lists 11 substantial compliance citations, and warns: “At the time of the next review, the program’s accreditation status will be in jeopardy if these areas have not been addressed satisfactorily and/or other major areas warranting citation develop.”

The next survey was coming up around February, 2011. UB decided to close the department rather than bring it up to snuff.

Simpson* was quoted as saying, “If something’s hard to do, then it’s not worth doing.”

Among the many shortfalls, the report cites limited scholarly activities for the physician faculty, inaccuracies in program information submitted for review, and faculty devoting insufficient time to fulfill supervisory and teaching responsibilities.

“Concerns were expressed over the program’s perceived emphasis of service over education,” the report states.

On the topic of professionalism: “Residents must demonstrate a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities and an adherence to ethical principles,” but at UB, “it was not evident that the program provides a structured learning activity by which residents develop a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities and an adherence to ethical principles. There was also no description as to how the program promotes professional behavior by residents and faculty.”

Here’s a thought: Maybe if SUNYAB were to go back to performing as a university, rather than reinventing itself as an “economic driver” run by the business community, it wouldn’t have to continue suffering academic embarrassments like this.

Just listen to the message you get when you call the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department today. Is this any way to build up Buffalo’s reputation in the medical/academic community?

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*Homer Simpson, not outgoing UB President John Barclay Simpson.


  • Peter A Reese

    Nice piece of reporting. Wonder why the weekly art magazine covers this rather than the daily blat?

  • Jim Holstun

    Dear Pete,

    I’m surprised that you have to ask. With its new user-friendly reduced-size, reduced-thought format, the Buffalo Blat doesn’t have time to find stuff out and tell people about it. It can only call up press spokesmen (at UB and elsewhere) and transcribe their fetid lies. BN motto for the ages: SEMPER ANNILINGUS, NON JOURNALISMUS.

    Whenever I hear people puling about the imminent demise of the mainstream print newspapers, I remember that wonderful anonymous cardboard sign posted on Wall Street during the 2008 crisis: JUMP YOU FUCKERS.