Voters defeated a ballot initiative Nov. 5 for a Jackson County Institute for Translational Medicine.
The University of Missouri-Kansas City would have been a partner in the institute along with Children’s Mercy, Saint Luke’s Health System and the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute. The proposal called for a half-cent sales tax in Jackson County that would have raised an estimated $40 million a year to attract world-class researchers and to provide them with the equipment and support staff necessary to develop discoveries, treatments and cures. The tax would have sunset in 20 years.
“While we are disappointed in the election result, we are grateful for the opportunity to talk to our community about the important, groundbreaking medical research underway at UMKC,” said UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton. “We had hoped to accelerate that research with this institute, but it will continue nonetheless. We will continue to work with our community partners to build up the life sciences effort in greater Kansas City.”
UMKC had hoped to accelerate existing health research efforts focused on illnesses that affect children and the elderly; and often have a disproportionate effect on minority populations. They include heart disease, asthma, diabetes, glaucoma, osteoporosis, obesity and addiction. With clinical trials through the institute, those treatments would have arrived years faster in Jackson County. It would have meant $8 million a year for UMKC research.
A $75 million gift from the Hall family and Hall Family Foundation will not be given since the initiative did not pass. It would have funded the construction of a new four-story, 80,000-square-foot building on Hospital Hill.