SUNY Upstate Medical University: Sustainable Medical Care

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By Thomas Pelis, Assistant Vice President for Facilities and Planning, SUNY Upstate Medical University

(This article appears in the May, 2012 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

As an academic medical center, SUNY Upstate Medical University faces unique sustainability challenges. A major portion of our mission is in direct patient care. Our hospitals and clinics account for 75% of the campus’ carbon footprint, and our Operating Rooms generate almost half of the institution’s solid waste. Upstate has responded to the challenge by implementing a variety of innovative sustainability initiatives while maintaining the highest levels of patient care, without compromising our academic and research missions. Our Central Sterile Process and Medical Device Re-Processing initiatives have reduced the use of costly polypropylene “blue wrap” by 23% and saved the University over $1 million during the last 20 months. We are proud of our efforts and look forward to continuing to set an example for other medical universities by delivering top notch training to heath care providers, providing exceptional patient care, and reducing our contribution to negative environmental impacts that deteriorate human health.