Cancer center at Johns Hopkins to use $65M gift for new patient care building

Skip Viragh Outpatient Cancer Building is slated for completion in 2017

The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins will use a $65 million gift toward the construction of a new patient care building that will be named for the late Albert P. "Skip" Viragh Jr., a Maryland mutual fund investment leader and philanthropist. Viragh, a pancreatic cancer patient treated at Johns Hopkins, died in 2003. He was 62.

Image caption: Albert P. "Skip" Viragh Jr.

The Skip Viragh Outpatient Cancer Building is slated for completion in 2017 and will be funded mostly by philanthropic gifts. The new facility, to be constructed on the southeast corner of Fayette Street and North Broadway in East Baltimore, will serve as the primary entry point for cancer care on the medical campus.

"Skip was an innovator in his world of personal finance, and, through his legacy gifts, he continues to partner with Johns Hopkins innovators in cancer care," says William G. Nelson, director of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and professor of oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "The new building will be far more than a place for physician visits and diagnostic scans. It will be the place where we'll explore novel ways to deliver cancer care and cures."

Johns Hopkins currently serves more than 10,000 new cancer patients each year across five sites in Maryland, Nelson says. Outpatient cancer care across the U.S. is anticipated to increase by 35 to 40 percent over the next 10 to 15 years, he adds, underscoring the need for increased space.

The Skip Viragh Building will be able to accommodate all adult medical oncology patient consultations and house multidisciplinary treatment clinics modeled on one established for pancreas cancer patients who can benefit from a wide range of coordinated surgical, medical, radiation, and other consultations and services. Kimmel Cancer Center officials said the new building will free up space in the center's Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Building for the expansion of outpatient services, inpatient cancer treatment, and 24-hour oncology urgent care.

Other facilities and services in the building will include:

  • An estimated 50 exam rooms
  • Advanced cancer imaging, including MRI, PET-CT, ultrasound, flash CT and sonography
  • Spaces for family conferences and tumor board meetings
  • Breast health services, including nutritional counseling and fitness evaluation
  • Patient support group space
  • A patient and family education room for chemotherapy classes and general cancer education
  • Phlebotomy services
  • An outpatient pharmacy

The gift is part of Rising to the Challenge: The Campaign for Johns Hopkins, an effort to raise $4.5 billion, primarily to support students, research and discovery, and interdisciplinary solutions to some of humanity's most important problems. The campaign, supporting both the university and Johns Hopkins Medicine, began its quiet phase in January 2010, was publicly launched in May 2013 and is targeted for completion in 2017. More than $2.44 billion has been committed so far.

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