Published September 10, 2018
The Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB has received an $890,000 grant from the Hemophilia Center of Western New York to support a career development award aimed at addressing a shortage of physicians in the region who specialize in treating non-malignant blood disorders.
The grant, which establishes The Robert Long Career Development Award, is an important first step in ensuring that local patients who are affected by hemophilia and other bleeding and clotting disorders will receive the highest level of care without having to travel outside of Western New York. Robert Long was a founder of the Hemophilia Center of Western New York.
The award invests in a junior physician-scientist who is dedicated to conducting advanced research, facilitating training for medical professionals and providing expert care to local patients and families with these disorders.
“We are very grateful for this generous award from the Hemophilia Center of Western New York,” said Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School. “It is a strategic investment that directly impacts the quality of health care in our community by working to close a gap in specialty care. Not only will it help attract and retain top-level physician-scientists who specialize in non-malignant blood disorders, but it will help ensure that generations of specialists in this field are trained in Buffalo.”
Western New York is not alone in its need for more specialists dedicated to the treatment and understanding of non-malignant blood disorders. The nationwide shortage of physician-scientists with experience and training in treating bleeding and clotting conditions, especially in adult populations, is well documented and is being acutely felt in many communities where there is limited access to experts.
Multiple factors contribute to this shortage, including a scarcity of training programs, salary disparities and limited availability of experienced mentors, explained Laurie Reger, executive director of the Hemophilia Center of Western New York.
“Yet, in the Greater Buffalo area, we are fortunate,” she said. “With full-service bleeding and clotting disorders care available through the Hemophilia Center of Western New York and an academic health center anchored by the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, our organizations are uniquely positioned to form a philanthropic partnership that can work together to build and retain a local workforce of highly trained physicians focused on providing the highest quality care to individuals with hemophilia and non-malignant hematologic disorders.”
The inaugural recipient of The Robert Long Career Development Award is pediatric hematologist-oncologist Beverly Schaefer, MD, clinical assistant professor of pediatrics in the Jacobs School and attending pediatric hematologist/oncologist at the Roswell Park Oishei Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Program. She is also a physician with UBMD Pediatrics.
Through the award, 50 percent of Schaefer’s time will be protected for intensive research, evenly divided between investigations conducted at the Jacobs School and the Hemophilia Center of Western New York.
A native of Buffalo, Schaefer, who also serves on the faculty of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, is board-certified in pediatrics and pediatric hematology/oncology. She specializes in the care of patients with disorders of hemostasis and thrombosis (bleeding disorders and blood clots).
“I am honored to be the recipient of the career development award, which will support my work in clinical and translational investigation. I am committed to bringing novel research opportunities to the patients in our community affected by bleeding and clotting disorders,” Schaefer said. “I am passionate about medical education and am optimistic that this award will help to attract and retain physicians in our community who are skilled in the management of patients with bleeding and clotting disorders.”
In an environment of shrinking federal research funding, the Hemophilia Center of Western New York’s philanthropic gift to the University at Buffalo will help to ensure that a new generation of academic hematologists has the opportunity to test and study novel ideas that may impact the future of care. The Robert Long Career Development Award will also establish a foundation for a comprehensive clinical service as well as a research team dedicated to managing and improving outcomes for individuals affected by bleeding and clotting disorders.