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Promise and Progress - Construction Begins On New Skip Viragh Outpatient Cancer Building

Promise & Progress: Special Issue Bloomberg - Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy
Issue No. 2016

Construction Begins On New Skip Viragh Outpatient Cancer Building

Date: March 23, 2016


viragh building
L TO R: DANIEL LAHERU, CO-DIRECTOR OF THE SKIPVIRAGH CENTER FOR PANCREAS CANCER CLINICALRESEARCH AND PATIENT CARE; ELIZABETH JAFFEE, CO-DIRECTOR OF THE SKIP VIRAGH CENTER FOR PANCREAS CANCER CLINICAL RESEARCH AND PATIENT CARE; WILLIAM NELSON, DIRECTOR OF THE KIMMEL CANCER CENTER; VERED STEARNS, CO-DIRECTOR OF THE BREAST CANCER PROGRAM

Johns Hopkins University President Ronald Daniels welcomed a standing-room only crowd to the groundbreaking ceremony for the Kimmel Cancer Center’s Skip Viragh Outpatient Cancer Building on September 10, 2015. The new $100 million, 184,000 square-foot outpatient cancer diagnostic and treatment facility is slated to open in late 2017.   

The building is named for Albert P. “Skip” Viragh, a Maryland mutual fund investment leader, philanthropist and a Kimmel Cancer Center pancreatic cancer patient who died in 2003 of the cancer. He was 62.

“This building is a state of the art testament to Skip’s legacy,” says Daniels. He described Viragh as having a pioneering vision and spirit; a trait he says is shared by the Johns Hopkins cancer clinicians and scientists working to develop better ways to manage cancer.

Funding for the building comes entirely from private philanthropy, including a $65 million gift honoring Skip Viragh, a $10 million gift from Under Armour, and other donations received through Rising to the Challenge: the Campaign for Johns Hopkins.

It will accommodate more than 180 daily patients visits and 60 to 80 new patient appointments each week. It will also be home to the multidisciplinary cancer clinics. The novel clinics are modeled after one established by the Skip Viragh Center for Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Research and Patient Care and offer newly diagnosed cancer patients a comprehensive consultation involving all of the specialists contributing to the treatment and diagnosis of their cancer type. By the end of the coordinated one or two-day visit, patients receive a detailed treatment plan recommendation.

“The Skip Viragh Center for Pancreas Cancer Clinical Research and Patient Care and the Viragh Scholars program—established through the profound generosity of Skip Viragh—have made the Kimmel Cancer Center a powerhouse in developing new treatments for pancreatic cancer,” says Daniel Laheru, who cared for Viragh and now serves as co-director of the Skip Viragh Center.  “The Viragh family has remained singularly focused on cancer care, helping countless numbers of patients. Skip is the heart of this new building.”

The 10th floor of the Skip Viragh Outpatient Cancer Building will house the Under Armour Breast Health Innovation Center, providing breast health services and information and guidance on nutrition, fitness, and survivorship. “We are incredibly fortunate to have Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, and we are honored to be a partner in making the vision for a breast health center become a reality,” says Kevin Plank, CEO and founder of Under Armour, a Baltimore-based sporting apparel company.  “We will demonstrate that wellness and illness can co-exist in a continuum.”

When completed, the new building will free up space in the Kimmel Cancer Center’s Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Building to expand inpatient cancer services, 24-hour urgent care, and blood and bone marrow cancer outpatient services.

“I can’t help but think what the future of cancer care will be like,” says Kimmel Cancer Center Director William Nelson. “In this place, I believe we will see the beginning of the end of cancer.”