Johns Hopkins to use $65 million gift to expand Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center

New building to serve as “entryway” to Kimmel Cancer Center

The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins will use a $65 million gift toward the construction of a new patient care building that will be named for the late Albert P. “Skip” Viragh, Jr., a Maryland mutual fund investment leader and philanthropist. A pancreas cancer patient treated at Johns Hopkins, Mr. Viragh died of the disease in 2003 at age 62.

The Skip Viragh Outpatient Cancer Building is slated for completion in 2017 and will be funded mostly by philanthropic gifts. The new facility, to rise on the southeast corner of Fayette Street and North Broadway in East Baltimore, will serve as the primary entry point for cancer care on the medical center campus.

“Skip was an innovator in his world of personal finance, and, through his legacy gifts, he continues to partner with Johns Hopkins innovators in cancer care,” says William G. Nelson, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and professor of oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “The new building will be far more than a place for physician visits and diagnostic scans. It will be the place where we’ll explore novel ways to deliver cancer care and cures.”

Johns Hopkins currently serves more than 10,000 new cancer patients each year across five sites in Maryland, Nelson says. Outpatient cancer care across the U.S. is anticipated to increase by 35 to 40 percent over the next 10 to 15 years, he adds, underscoring the need for increased space.

The Skip Viragh Building will be able to accommodate all adult medical oncology patient consultations and house multidisciplinary treatment clinics modeled on one established for pancreas cancer patients who can benefit from a wide range of coordinated surgical, medical, radiation, and other consultations and services.

In the pancreas cancer program, which is named for Skip Viragh, patients undergo a one-day evaluation by all appropriate experts and are given prompt treatment plans.

“Skip’s cancer experience taught us that having a place like Johns Hopkins is a key element in fighting the disease, and now, with Skip’s help, Johns Hopkins will be able to offer innovative, easy-to-navigate care for many more people with cancer,” says Mark Viragh, Skip’s brother.

Plans call for cancer imaging services to be located in the Skip Viragh Building, for patients’ convenience. A specially designed cancer diagnostic and treatment planning center where patients will receive coordination of diagnostics for new cancer cases will also be located in the building.

“Patients with many different types of cancer will be able to get all of their services in this building, including visits, laboratory testing, clinical trials, radiology, and chemotherapy, greatly increasing the comfort and efficiency of their treatment experience at the Kimmel Cancer Center,” says Nelson.

According to Kimmel Cancer Center officials, the new building will free up space in the Cancer Center’s Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Building for the expansion of outpatient services, inpatient cancer treatment and 24-hour oncology urgent care.

The site for the new building, designed by architects Ayers Saint Gross and Wilmot Sanz, is located on one of the highest elevations in East Baltimore, and patients and visitors are expected to have views of downtown Baltimore and the Inner Harbor. The main entrance will be located on Broadway, adjacent to the Hackerman-Patz Patient and Family Pavilion, a residence for cancer patients during their treatment.

Other facilities and services in the building will include:

  • An estimated 50 exam rooms;
  • Advanced cancer imaging, including MRI, PET-CT, ultrasound, flash CT and sonography;
  • Spaces for family conferences and tumor board meetings;
  • Breast health services, including nutritional counseling and fitness evaluation;
  • Patient support group space;
  • A patient and family education room for chemotherapy classes and general cancer education;
  • Phlebotomy services; and
  • An outpatient pharmacy.

A construction firm has not yet been finalized.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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