Expanded Cancer Center Opens at Wake Forest Baptist

December 3, 2013

$125 Million Project Creates Region's First Dedicated Cancer Hospital  

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Dec. 3, 2013 - From the calming courtyard nestled in the center of the upper floors to the family laundry facilities, everything about the new Comprehensive Cancer Center of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is focused on the care and comfort of patients and their families.

The $125 million capital construction project that began in June 2011 opens its doors to patients next week as the region's first dedicated cancer hospital. The expansion increases the number of acute care oncology inpatient beds from 113 to 148 and adds a new oncology intensive care unit. Four inpatient floors, a day hospital floor and one administrative floor have been added to the existing cancer center, consolidating all inpatient and outpatient services under one roof to improve convenience and the patient experience.

The opening of the expanded Cancer Center comes on the heels of the 2013 U.S. News & World Report rankings that listed Wake Forest Baptist as the No. 1 cancer hospital in North Carolina and No. 12 in the country. It is also one of only 41National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the country, in what is considered among the most prestigious of cancer designations.

"We couldn't be more proud to open this Comprehensive Cancer Center and offer its services to the local community and the region at large," said John D. McConnell, M.D., chief executive officer of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. "This newly improved facility is a symbol of our commitment to developing an integrated health care delivery system in the continued fight against cancer."

The new facility includes a total of 530,600 square feet - 282,800 square feet of space was added - and features private rooms that make use of natural light and include recliners and sleeper sofas to accommodate family members. Laundry facilities and small kitchenettes are available on each inpatient floor, as well as Serenity Rooms designed for families to find respite or take a hot shower. Waiting areas are large and include televisions and partitioned computer stations where families can keep in touch with loved ones or conduct personal business.

"As excited as we are about this new facility, at the end of the day our cancer programs are about people - about our patients and our physicians and nurses and all the others involved in cancer care who dedicate their careers to the fight against cancer," McConnell said. "This facility means a new home to do this important work."

Cancer treatment is one of the fastest-growing services of the Medical Center and the expansion enables Wake Forest Baptist to continue to offer the latest and most effective treatments and technologies. An additional 25 adult intensivists - physicians who specialize in the care of critically ill patients - and advanced practice providers, such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, will join a team of more than 150 clinicians and scientists representing all aspects of cancer care and research.

The expansion accommodates current and projected cancer-related inpatient volumes and provides the infrastructure required to grow advanced clinical programs that will further enhance Wake Forest Baptist's reputation as a top-tier academic medical center. Important parts of that effort are research and clinical trials. Currently, there are more than 200 cancer-related clinical trials under way at the Medical Center, many of which have been initiated here by leading experts in their fields.

"The translational science research that takes place as part of the Comprehensive Cancer Center contributes significantly to research advances, on a regional and national level, and has a direct impact on patient care and treatments," said Edward Abraham, M.D., dean of the Wake Forest School of Medicine.


Media Relations

Bonnie Davis: bdavis@wakehealth.edu, 336-713-1597