GPCC President & CEO Todd Sanders

The purpose of a benchmarking trip is to visit a city or region which is successfully doing something you’d like to bring to your community. You learn the best practices, talk to the leaders who envisioned it, the people who execute the plan on a day-today basis and then bring those ideas and guidelines back to create a framework to build at home.

Earlier this month, the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce took a delegation of 21 business and political leaders to Buffalo, N.Y. to learn about the innovation and collaboration driving the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) and how BNMC works in tandem with regional development organizations Buffalo Niagara Partnership and Invest Buffalo Niagara to promote and bring economic success to the region.

BNMC encompasses 120 acres and nearly 9 million sq. ft. of clinical, research, office and medical space. Its nine member institutions and 120 private companies employ 12,000 people. The organization generates continuous economic development around itself in downtown Buffalo – even including non-health care entities such as restaurants, residences, hotels and reuse projects. In addition to creating new opportunities, the campus brought people and especially young talent back to downtown Buffalo.

In addition to spurring economic development, BNMC serves as a single connection portal for patients, professionals, educators and businesses into the entire health care ecosystem in the Buffalo-Niagara area.

You may ask, why Buffalo?

Given the Chamber’s goals in building a robust talent pipeline, creating a dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem and promoting the Greater Phoenix region through collaboration, visiting BNMC was a natural fit.

Although Buffalo is about 2,000 miles from Phoenix, we share a similar DNA.

One highlight of our trip was a visit to the Jacobs Institute at BNMC, a renowned medical innovation center focused on accelerating device development for the treatment of vascular disease. The vision for this place came from our very own Barrow Neurological Institute.

Our dinner and reception with Buffalo business and political leaders occurred at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin D. Martin House Complex in Buffalo, a masterpiece of 20th century architecture reminiscent of many of FLW’s iconic works we enjoy in Arizona.

And Arizona State University teamed up with seven other research universities to establish a science and technology center called BioXFEL (Biology with X-ray Free Electron Lasers) to explore fundamental questions in biology at the molecular level at Buffalo’s Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute.

This visit highlighted for the leaders our delegation that we have many of the same health care, leadership and collaboration assets Buffalo does.

The success of BNMC highlights the results which can be achieved when you effectively marry a substantial community need with strong, visionary leadership.

The visit showed that we are on the right path in leveraging our health care assets here in Arizona, but we need to determine the best method to market that; to present them as one unique, enviable Arizona asset.

A big thanks to Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and the Buffalo Niagara Partnership for hosting our delegation and sharing their insights.

Posted by Josh Coddington