Independent Health and Buffalo Museum of Science

Independent Health and Buffalo Museum of Science Announce 10-year partnership

BUFFALO, N.Y. (March 7, 2012) — Independent Health and the Buffalo Museum of Science on Wednesday announced a substantial and unique 10-year partnership, which included the unveiling of the museum’s new Health Sciences Studio: Explore YOU presented by Independent Health.

The 10-year, $400,000 commitment, allows for the opening of the first of eight new themed studios the museum is developing as part of an overall renovation and evolution of visitor experience. In Explore YOU, visitors can explore anatomy and learn about important choices they can make to improve and maintain their health. Interactive exhibits give a hands-on approach to health and explore the most recent advances in medical technology. Independent Health is making this investment as part of its commitment to create a culture of health in Western New York by offering programs, events, and opportunities - with community partners - that provide avenues for individuals and families to become more engaged in their health.

“Independent Health is proud to be part of the exciting renaissance at the Buffalo Museum of Science through this long-term partnership,” said Michael W. Cropp, M.D., president and chief executive officer, Independent Health. “Visitors to the Explore YOU studio during the next decade will learn about new medical technology, body systems, genetics, and more through a unique, hands-on experience. It’s one more way Western New Yorkers can be more engaged in their health in a tangible, effective way. We know, through our other partnerships, this type of engagement and experience can make a real impact. We look forward to accomplishing great things with the Buffalo Museum of Science that will benefit our entire community.”


The Buffalo Museum of Science developed the concept of Science Studios through research and best practices. These highly interactive and changeable areas within the museum – each at 1,700-3,000 sq. feet – will focus on a specific science theme: Health Sciences, Earth Systems, Motion, Biodiversity, Culture, Extinction, Insects and Space.

“We are so excited to present Explore YOU to the public, as it signals the next chapter in our evolution as a resource for informative and compelling experiences to the region,” said Mark Mortenson, president and chief executive officer, Buffalo Museum of Science. “What’s even more exciting is the ongoing partnership we have established with Independent Health that focuses not only on this exhibit, but also an ongoing dialogue to improve the overall health and wellness of our community.”

The Health Sciences Studio – Explore YOU presented by Independent Health exhibits include:

  • Healthy Choices: Determine how your current choices may affect your future health at the Quality of Health Calculator and challenge others in the Healthy Choices Game Show.
  • Body Systems: Using a state-of-the art iViewer, explore different body systems and anatomic parts using a touch screen that slides across a simulation of the body.
  • The Heart, an Amazing Machine: Engage in various physical activities and monitor changes in your heart rate.
  • Medical Technology: View X-Ray images to identify anatomical structures and various medical conditions, and use a video system to simulate the type of remote operation techniques used in laparoscopic and robotic surgery.
  • Genetics: Identify genetic traits and how they differ between you, your family and friends. Learn the difference between inherited and acquired traits and about the latest discoveries in the field of genetics.

In April 2010, the museum was awarded a $100,000 grant from the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo’s 21st Century Fund, which was used to hire ROTO Studios, an exhibit and experience design firm, to help create a master plan for the complete renovation and evolution of the museum’s science experience. With proper funding, the museum will open two science studios a year for the next four to five years.

The John R. Oishei Foundation last year awarded a $1 million grant to support the Buffalo Museum of Science’s master plan. The award provides funding for two science studios, Health Sciences and Earth Systems, scheduled to open in October 2012.

The Explore YOU exhibit is the beginning of a major transformation at the Buffalo Museum that is built on strong partnerships and direct connections to the community,” stated Robert D. Gioia, president, The John R. Oishei Foundation. “We are thrilled to be part of this effort that makes science engaging and relevant to visitors of all ages. Congratulations to the Buffalo Museum of Science and Independent Health for creating a dynamic, exciting experience as the first science studio in the Master Plan!”

In addition to revitalizing the visitor experience, these studios will allow the museum to showcase science and research being done in Western New York, while encouraging area residents to pursue higher education in the sciences.

“We salute Independent Health for its continued work to help improve and maintain the health of city residents,” said Mayor Byron W. Brown. “This new Health Sciences Studio is a timely interactive exhibit that will not only give people a hands-on approach to health, but also allow the Buffalo Museum of Science to showcase the science and research being done at the rapidly growing Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, while encouraging area residents to pursue higher education in the sciences.”

In order to help shape the Science Studios, educational partnerships with the University at Buffalo, D’Youville College, and Buffalo State College are underway. The museum will also showcase work from the researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Hauptman-Woodward Research Institute.

Additional support for Explore YOU comes from the James H. Cummings Foundation, Patrick P. Lee Foundation, General Mills Foundation, and the Roy and Ruth Seibel Family Foundation.

The public grand opening is at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 10. Entry to Explore YOU is included with general museum admission and free for museum members.

Headquartered in Buffalo, Independent Health began operations in 1980 and has consistently been rated among the top health plans in the country for customer service and member satisfaction. Independent Health’s comprehensive portfolio of product and service offerings include HMO, POS, PPO and EPO products, Medicare and Medicaid plans, traditional indemnity insurance, consumer-directed plans, coverage for self-funded employers, plus health savings account (HSA) and pharmacy benefit management (PBM) services. Combined, the company provides health benefits and services to nearly 375,000 individuals in Western New York and throughout the country. For more information, visit Independent Health’s website at

The Buffalo Museum of Science is a non-profit educational institution dedicated to the study and interpretation of the natural and physical sciences. Its extensive collections of over 700,000 specimens and artifacts represent all facets of the natural world with an emphasis on Western New York as well as man-made objects spanning the globe. Based at 1020 Humboldt Parkway and anchoring Buffalo’s East Side in Olmsted-designed Martin Luther King, Jr. Park since 1929, the Museum presents a wide variety of programs and services for children, teachers, families, adults, and community organizations throughout each year. The Museum also operates Tift Nature Preserve in South Buffalo, a 264-acre urban wetland preserve on reclaimed former industrial land. For more information, visit

The John R. Oishei Foundation strives to be a catalyst for change to enhance economic vitality and the quality of life for the Buffalo Niagara region. The Foundation was established in 1940 by John R. Oishei, founder of Trico Products Corporation. For more information, visit