New York Governor Andrew Cuomo released his $137.2 billion dollar budget proposal for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, and the implications are significant for the University of Rochester.
As a significant health care provider in the community, as well as a key educational facility in the City of Rochester, it is important for the University to take note of any changes in the budget. That job falls to the Director of Government Relations Joshua Farrelman.
“We are the safety net provider for this community, so the state’s Medicaid program impacts us in a very large way,” Farrelman explains. “We also get funding for our laser lab, and there are research dollars for programs for stem cell research and spinal cord injury.”
Additionally, the governor has noted his budgetary support for the Institute for Data Sciences. The $100 million commitment by the UR includes the construction of a state-of-the-art building to house the institute.
“We are very grateful that the governor did include some additional funding, creating a new designation, a new center for excellence in Data Science and providing $327,000 of support in his budget for that,” Farrelman said.
The Data Science program will work to promote the core strength of health sciences that already exists on campus, focusing on three different areas: protective health analytics, cognitive systems, and analytics on demand.
Protective health analytics will study the spread of infectious diseases and the work that can be done to prevent them. It also pertains to the deceleration of preventable diseases such as those related to obesity and smoking.  Cognitive systems suggests the promotion of artificial intelligence in the healthcare system, and analytics on demand offers continuously improving methods of analyzing large scale data in a rapid fashion.
The additional money in the budget will “be used to help support the new Institute for Data Science that President Seligman has laid out along with Vice President of Research Rob Clark,” Farrelman said. “This will help us establish and support that effort. As outlined in Joel’s previous announcement in this regard, we intend to be among the leading institutions in the world in this new discipline.”

Smith is a member of  the class of 2014.

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