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Chafee, U. admins tour Pittsburgh

Gov. Lincoln Chafee '75 P'14 traveled to Pittsburgh Tuesday on a fact-finding mission to learn more about options for developing the Knowledge District in downtown Providence.

A group including Mayor Angel Taveras, Rhode Island Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio, Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences Edward Wing, Vice President for Public Affairs and University Relations Marisa Quinn and top business and union leaders joined him on the trip.

The group toured the facilities of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and met with officials at the center to discuss topics like the role of hospitals and institutions of higher education in city development, workforce training, land use and lessons that can be gleaned from the $8 billion Pittsburgh health center.  

"Pittsburgh is an impressive model of how an old-economy steel town transformed itself into a cutting-edge medical and educational center of excellence," Chafee said in a statement Tuesday. "By aligning sometimes competing groups — universities, hospitals, government, labor and business — toward a common goal, Pittsburgh has become a leading center of ‘meds and eds.'"

Wing, who spent more than two decades working in academic medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, said he was excited to return to the city he once called home.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center "is a remarkably successful academic medical center where the philosophy of using clinical revenue to support the academic mission is the major priority," Wing wrote in a statement to The Herald. "That philosophy has created one of the premier centers in the United States, which was evident in yesterday's trip with Gov. Chafee and Mayor Taveras."

The trip is the third led by Chafee to inform development efforts surrounding the downtown real estate made available by the relocation of I-195. Rhode Island political leaders hope the area will serve as a hub for life sciences and biotechnology research and fuel much-needed job growth in the state. In February, President Ruth Simmons and Dick Spies, executive vice president for planning and senior advisor to the president, accompanied Chafee on a visit to the Texas Medical Center in Houston. The governor also led a trip to the University of Maryland Medical Center and BioPark in April.


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