Dr. David Smith

Dr. David R. Smith was appointed the sixth president of SUNY Upstate Medical University in June 2006. Prior to his appointment at SUNY Upstate, Dr. Smith served as the Chancellor of the Texas Tech University System; Interim Chancellor and President of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center; President of the Health Sciences Center and former Dean of its School of Medicine. Prior to that, Dr. Smith served for five years as the Commissioner of the Texas Department of Health.

With an institutional mission to provide healthcare, education, research, and service, SUNY Upstate is the only academic medical university in Central New York State and the largest employer in the region. As a health care provider, it directly serves 1.8 million residents in 17 counties, an area covering about 1/3 of New York State?s land mass. Through its four colleges and research enterprise, SUNY Upstate positively affects thousands more and provides a well-educated supply of health professionals to New York State.

In Dr. Smith’s two years at SUNY Upstate Medical University, he has launched several major initiatives to meet the institution?s vision for responsive regional growth:

  • Upon his arrival, he launched “Engaging Excellence,” an employee-driven effort to create the best workplace possible, and to lay the groundwork for the university?s strategic planning process. To date, the process has resulted in hundreds of enacted and proposed improvements.
  • In Fall 2007, Dr. Smith proposed the $500 million “Upstate Initiative” – a bricks and mortar plan for campus expansion, which has already gained $320 million in approved capital funding. (Projects include major research space expansion, a new academic building, and a Cancer Center.)
  • Dr. Smith has overseen the expansion of our academic and degree programs and plans to grow our student body by 30 percent over the next five years, to meet the growing demand for doctors, nurses, and other professionals.

Since joining SUNY Upstate, Dr. Smith has been elected to the board of directors of the Metropolitan Development Association, the University Hill Corporation, CNY Biotechnology Research Center, Syracuse 20/20 and the Upstate Medical University Foundation. He is a member of the SUNY Advisory Council for the NYS Commission on Higher Education, the Upstate/Crouse Affiliation Council, and a member of the SUNY President’s advisory group to the SUNY Chancellor. Dr. Smith is the Vice Chair of the National Board of Trustees for the March of Dimes and was the 2008 Honorary Chair for the CNY March of Dimes “March for Babies.” He holds a number of professional memberships including American Public Health Association, Medical Society of the State of New York, and Onondaga County Medical Association. He has been a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics since 1985.

A native of Ohio, Smith received his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a medical degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He completed his pediatric residency and chief residency at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Dr. Smith is married to Donna Bacchi, MD, MPH, a board certified pediatrician and chair of the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at SUNY Upstate. The Smiths have two grown children, Christopher and Jocelyn.