Moving The Mark

Moving The Mark

Anne DiNardo
Executive Editor
Healthcare Design Magazine
November 30, 2021

While cancer deaths have dropped over the last several decades, attributed to a reduction in smoking as well as improvements in early detection and treatment for some types of cancers, it’s still the second leading cause of death in the United States. In fact, almost 1.9 million new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2021, according to the American Cancer Society’s report “Cancer Facts & Figures 2021.”

The prevalence of cases continues to create a competitive landscape and drive demand for new facilities, as organizations set out to deliver services that draw patients and establish a presence within new and existing markets. This need is increasingly being answered through facilities that offer comprehensive cancer services—from diagnosis, treatment, and clinical trials to wellness and survivor support services—together, under one roof. “In order to be competitive, you’ve got to provide a quality environment and the right delivery of care model,” says Saul Jabbawy, principal and regional director of design at EwingCole (Philadelphia).

At the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center (UMGCCC) in Baltimore, director Dr. Kevin Cullen says clinical volumes have nearly quadrupled at the NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center since he joined the organization in 2004. “We now see specialty referral patients with leukemia, bone marrow transplant patients, and people who have complex care needs for solid tumors who are referred in from all over the region,” he says. Over the years, as the cancer center grew to become a regional care destination, delivering multidisciplinary care as well as a growing research practice, it continued operating in roughly the same footprint, which was spread out in multiple locations across its urban campus. Eventually, Cullen says, the organization decided that it needed to bring its physical facilities “up to match the level of care we were providing and the way to do that was to build a dedicated care facility,” he says.

Scheduled to break ground in spring 2022, the nine-story, 155,000-square-foot Roslyn and Leonard Stoler Center for Advanced Medicine will provide inpatient and outpatient cancer services. Working with HDR (Arlington, Va.), Cullen says it was important during planning and design to not only discuss how to meet increased patient volumes and design a facility that would be optimal for patients, families, and staff, but also address how cancer treatments are changing and anticipate future care needs. For example, he says, some bone marrow transplants, which have traditionally been done as inpatient, are increasingly being performed in an outpatient setting, while new infusion methods and new cellular therapies also are starting to gain traction. “We try to look not only at what our cancer patients’ needs are now but also anticipate where the field is going so we’ll be able to provide these novel treatments for our patients in a wonderful setting 10 to 15 years down the road,” Cullen says.