St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor in Ypsilanti has opened its renovated 66,000-square-foot, $24-million Cancer Center.
The center opened as the Robert H. and Judy Dow Alexander Cancer Center in 1993 and was the area’s first comprehensive cancer center. It sees more than 40,000 patient visits each year. The transformation offers the latest technologies, treatments, and clinical and support services.
Patient ambassadors will meet patients at the main entrance, a redesigned two-story glass atrium. The main floor features an expanded infusion suite with 22 private bays and a view of a garden bordered with five boulders – one from each of the five Great Lakes.
A small café is a central feature in the infusion center and will offer Joe’s Java. Nurse navigators, genetic counselors, dietitians, chaplains, social workers, and an on-site pharmacy for chemotherapy services will be located on the main floor as well.
“This new state-of-the-art facility combines the very best in cancer prevention, screening, research, treatment, and support services all in one location,” says Rob Casalou, president and CEO of Mercy Health and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System. “The space has been redesigned to deliver an experience tailored to each individual and their unique cancer journey, in which they are surrounded by a completely integrated, multidisciplinary team.”
The second floor houses 38 exam rooms, up 26 since before the renovation.
St. Joe’s National Cancer Institute Oncology Research Program will be located on the new lower level of the center and include space for 34 clinical research staff. St. Joe’s Ann Arbor leads the Michigan Cancer Research Consortium, a network of 13 hospitals that together enroll more than 1,000 patients per year in clinical trials. The program has been continually funded for 24 years with 100 trials open at any given time.
A conference center also is located on the lower level.
“Cancer care at St. Joe’s has evolved tremendously from groundbreaking clinical research trials that continually become available to holding weekly tumor boards to customize treatment for each new patient that comes through our doors,” says Dr. Phil Stella, medical director of oncology services at Saint Joseph Mercy Health System. “It’s a testament to the advances in our oncology program that we attract the highest level of fellowship-trained surgeons from around the country.”
The center has almost 25,000 additional square feet of space from the previous center’s 41,000 square feet. It also includes dedicated patient reflection spaces.
Free valet parking will be available at the main entrance and the Imaging Center/Radiation Oncology entrance.
Patient advisers helped in the design of the building and cancer care flow process redesign. The center now brings all of St. Joe’s oncology services under one roof. The hospital worked with architectural firm Harley Ellis Devereaux and Granger Construction.
St. Joe’s Ann Arbor development team is conducting a $10-million campaign to support capital, operations, and endowment needs for the center, on top of $19 million in Trinity Health capital funds. To date, gifts totaling more than $8.1 million have been made toward the campaign.
Since 1993, the cancer care team has grown from eight to 18 medical and radiation oncology specialists and from three to 34 research staff, as well as added surgical specialists for all tumor types. It has added genetic counseling, cancer specialty clinics, and a nurse navigator program.
Saint Joseph Mercy Health System serves seven counties in southeast Michigan.