Dr. Brad Berk will step down as CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center and senior vice president for Health Sciences on December 31 to head the new Rochester Neurorestorative Institute at URMC.
Berk has served as CEO of URMC since 2006. He suffered a spinal cord injury while biking near Canandaigua Lake in 2009. Dr. Mark B. Taubman, dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry served as interim CEO during Berk's absence, and will take over Berk's role.
The new Rochester Neurorestorative Institute will conduct research, and provide education and care for those who lose neurological function through disease or injury.
“You see my injury has helped me to understand all the ways that we could improve the lives of people who have neurologic illness, whether they've had a stroke, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury,” Berk told a crowd of URMC staff and students.
University of Rochester President Joe Seligman highlighted the Berk's accomplishments as CEO of URMC during a news conference Wednesday morning. Berk oversaw the expansion of Strong Memorial Hospital, the construction of Golisano Children's Hospital, the completion of the Saunders Research Building and an increased awareness of Wilmot Cancer Institute.
“Brad has provided outstanding leadership to our medical education and research programs and to our multi-hospital network,” Seligman said. “He has already made significant contributions to the Medical Center by changing the focus to patient- and family-centered care. Brad now wants to turn his full attention to neurorestorative medicine. I am confident that he will develop a Neurorestorative Institute that will be one of this nation’s leading scientific and patient care institutes. I will support this Institute as a top priority for our University.”
Taubman will take the lead as CEO on January 1, 2015. He says he will follow Berk’s model and strategic plan to keep URMC financially strong, even in a time of cuts in federal funding for graduate medical programs.
“As part of our strategic plan, we've got to have models for how we can keep doing, because we're not going to cut down the number of doctors that we produce, if anything we want to create more,” said Taubman.