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September 24, 2003


Gov. Perdue, Emory President Wagner Join in Winship Cancer Institute Dedication

ATLANTA ­ Governor Sonny Perdue and Emory University President James Wagner will join patients and faculty in formally dedicating Emory's new Winship Cancer Institute today at 2 p.m. The ceremony will be held outdoors in front of the 280,000-square-foot building, which boasts research laboratories as long as football fields along with the most up-to-date facilities for cancer treatment. Tours and light refreshments will follow the dedication and ribbon cutting.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Georgia, where each year, 34,000 people are diagnosed with cancer and 14,000 die from cancer-related illness. The Winship Cancer Institute, combining research, education and patient care as an arm of the Emory University School of Medicine and Emory Healthcare, recently received a $1.9 million planning grant from the National Cancer Institute as it seeks to qualify for designation as the first NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center in Georgia.

WCI researchers and physicians work closely with colleagues at the AFLAC Cancer Center in Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and the Georgia Cancer Center of Excellence at Grady Memorial Hospital, as well as with Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing and other scholars and clinicians associated with the Georgia Cancer Coalition throughout the state.

"This magnificent new building is truly a discovery accelerator, where we can nurture and support the most advanced cancer research at Emory and focus it like a laser beam on the care and treatment of our patients," said Michael M.E. Johns, MD, executive vice president for health affairs at Emory University and CEO of Emory's Woodruff Health Sciences Center.

"This building reflects Emory’s commitment of energy and resources to improving cancer diagnosis, prevention, and treatment for all Georgians," said Jonathan Simons, MD, director of the Winship Cancer Institute. "Our building is a place where care of cancer patients is advanced through groundbreaking discoveries in genomics and molecular medicine. It will be the gateway to cancer care at Emory; however, the impact of the building will go far beyond the Emory campus."

The origins of the Winship Cancer Institute (WCI) date to 1937 when Coca-Cola President and Chairman Robert W. Woodruff partnered with the Emory University School of Medicine to establish one of the first clinics in the nation devoted entirely to the care of cancer patients. Today, with the dedication of the new building, Mr. Woodruff’s vision for a comprehensive cancer treatment, research and medical training facility has been fully realized.

The new building, located just off Clifton Road near The Emory Clinic, houses basic science research and clinical cancer care services under one roof—just as Mr. Woodruff envisioned more than 66 years ago. "We have designed the new Winship Cancer Institute as a pavilion," says Dr. Simons. "It is a place in which patients with cancer, their families, physicians, nurses, and researchers are all brought together under one roof."

The building comprises seven floors—two below grade and five above. Research labs occupy the top three levels of the building. The lower four levels are dedicated to the treatment and care of cancer patients. The Radiation Oncology and Imaging Department is housed on the bottom, or Tunnel Level. The next floor up is the Plaza Level, which houses WCI’s new Ambulatory Infusion Center and Bone Marrow Transplant/Hematology/Leukemia Clinic.

Above the Plaza Level the main entrance, or Level One, which holds the Breast Imaging Center, a nondenominational chapel, the Family Resource Center, WCI financial counseling, and a café.

Medical and Surgical Oncology occupy Level Two in the new building. There are 34 regular exam rooms and four minor procedure rooms. The private minor procedure rooms offer individuals receiving outpatient services relief from traveling to the hospital or ambulatory surgery for treatment.

Patients’ needs were primary considerations in designing treatment facilities such as the Ambulatory Infusion Center. Earlier this year, designers chose three options for ambulatory infusion chairs and solicited feedback from patients about which chair was best, then chose the chair that received the most votes from patients.

But along with the unprecedented level of attention to patient amenities comes a new level of research infrastructure and support for Emory's cancer researchers. "We have witnessed some remarkable accomplishments since Jonathan Simons was recruited here three years ago from Johns Hopkins," said Emory University School of Medicine Dean Thomas J. Lawley.

"In that short time, 25 new Emory and Winship faculty members, many of whom have been designated as Distinguished Physicians and Scientists by the Georgia Cancer Coalition, have brought nearly $45 million in federal and foundation grant money to Georgia for cancer research. Also in that time, 19 new clinical trials have been made available at Emory to cancer patients. We're excited by what we have been able to achieve and optimistic about what we can still accomplish with the resources made available to us in this wonderful new facility."

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