On Monday, June 10, Baptist Memorial Health Care held a groundbreaking ceremony for the region’s first integrated cancer center that will soon become a resource for the Mid-South community.
Rather than going to multiple sites for treatment, patients will have access to care in one facility at the Baptist Cancer Center, slated to open in the summer of 2015. Physicians, caregivers, board members and special guests joined Baptist colleagues in celebration of the groundbreaking.
“For 100 years, Baptist has been caring for those in need,” said Stephen Reynolds, president and CEO of Baptist. “We look forward to a brilliant future, carrying out our mission of healing, preaching and teaching.”
Reynolds stated building the cancer center is, “Life’s work and it is a life dream and for all of us who are assembled here today. We are looking forward to making a difference in the lives of patients.”
In October 2012, Baptist announced an affiliation with Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.
“We searched all across the nation for the best partner and it is clear the best partner is Vanderbilt,” said Reynolds.
“We are thrilled to be working with Vanderbilt. It is one of two National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the state of Tennessee. These individuals are making a difference in cancer across the state and in the world and they are willfully supporting our efforts in Memphis and the Mid-South.”
Jason Little, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Baptist, stated more than 35,000 new patients in Tennessee will be diagnosed with cancer this year.
“The need is great to have experts assembled and we certainly have assembled great ones for this team with more to come. It is a great day and a dream of so many around this organization to have an integrated cancer center for adult oncology care in the Mid-South. We are excited to break ground on that today,” said Little.
Dr. Stephen Edge from Buffalo NY, a leading expert in oncology, will be the new director of the Cancer Center and will begin his new role in July.
Edge says he is excited to move to Memphis and says what has drawn him to the city is the commitment of the Baptist system, from leadership, nurses and the entire staff.
“This will build on the strength of many of the physicians here; working together to make this one of the nation’s leading integrated cancer care delivery systems, centered on patients’ needs. This program will allow us to integrate services across multiple medical disciplines, centered around the patient’s needs.” Edge cited Baptist’s affiliation with Vanderbilt as another reason he chose to come to Baptist.
Pat McRee, three-time cancer patient and the director of Flying Colors, a cancer survivor support group, spoke about how the Cancer Center will be on fear-conquering ground. Nineteen years ago, McRee was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer and was led to begin a cancer support group where men and women receive hope from survivors.
“When you are diagnosed with cancer, you have to travel lots of places and spend lots of time with fear. Some smart people recognized the flaw in this plan, and said ‘What if everything they needed was in one place, the best doctors, the best diagnostic tests, the best cutting-edge treatments and intervention were all in one place,’” she said.
That place for patients will be the Baptist Cancer Center.