Bessette Named AVP for Health Sciences at UB

Release Date: October 9, 2009 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Russell W. Bessette, MD, a former executive director of the New York State Agency for Science Technology & Academic Research (NYSTAR), has been named associate vice president for health sciences and director of health information technology at the University at Buffalo.

The appointment, made by David L. Dunn, MD, PhD, UB vice president for health sciences, was effective Oct. 1.

"I am very pleased to welcome Dr. Bessette to his new position in the UB Academic Health Center," Dunn said. "His vast experience in the delivery and measuring the quality of health care will be of enormous benefit to us here at UB and in the region.

"I have asked him to focus on the implementation of all aspects of 'e-health,' particularly the development of novel approaches to the prediction, management and tracking outcomes of a variety of diseases that take a heavy toll on our community."

Bessette previously served as special advisor to Dunn and to Bruce A. Holm, PhD, senior vice provost and executive director of UB's New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences.

In his new position, he will continue his close affiliation and collaboration with Holm and colleagues at the Center of Excellence, in conjunction with expanded duties within the UB's Academic Health Center.

Bessette has been instrumental in organizing a series of critical 'e-health' initiatives that are under way at UB and spearheaded a grant submission to the New York State Department of Health's HEAL NY initiative that resulted in a $7 million award to UBMD. The grant will allow UB's physician practice plan to implement an electronic records system to track and manage treatment of chronic kidney disease in real time, with the goal of reducing the number of patients in Western New York who develop end stage kidney disease.

Bessette, who graduated from both the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the School of Dental Medicine, joined the UB faculty in 1989 as a clinical professor of surgery. Trained in general and plastic and reconstructive surgery, he has published both peer-reviewed articles and surgical textbook chapters focused in the area of reconstruction of the human temporomandibular joint.

He has served in a number of public positions, including as chairman of the New York State Public Health Council, which oversaw the state's transition to quality measures in health care, negotiated reimbursement and state-wide hospital mergers, and as executive director of NYSTAR, where he directed the investment of $1.6 billion to establish the state-wide Centers of Excellence Program that ultimately stimulated $12.8 billion in investment and economic development through university and private business partnerships.

He also has served as a science advisor to the U.S. undersecretary for Homeland Security following 9/11, and currently is a member of the New York State Hospital Review and Planning Council and the NYSTAR Board of Directors.

Bessette resides in Orchard Park.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

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