"This facility will provide more people access to better treatments for our most difficult health conditions, including cancer, AIDS and rare diseases. It also will help the United States stay at the forefront of medical research and science," the Vice President said.
The new center will be a modern research facility with a 250-bed hospital, outpatient care capability and research laboratories. The project promises to increase opportunities for physicians and patients to participate in state-of-the-art clinical research. The building is scheduled to be completed in 2001.
"This facility will help us continue to move medical research findings from the laboratory into mainstream medical practice," said Dr. Harold Varmus, director of the National Institutes of Health. "It is a crucial step in assuring that this nation remains at the forefront of health care as we continually search for new and better ways to treat diseases," he said.
Also speaking at the event are HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala, Representative John E. Porter (R. IL.), Senator Arlen Specter (R. PA.) and Clinical Center patients Charles Tolchin of Bethesda and Jane Reese-Coulbourne of Northern Virginia. The ceremony will be directly in front of the Clinical Center (Building 10) at the intersection of West and Center Drives on the NIH campus. Music will be provided by the Walt Whitman High School Jazz Ensemble.
NIH is the federal government's principal medical research agency. The new facility will enhance the current Clinical Center, which conducts clinical research on a wide variety of conditions including cancer, AIDS, mental illness and rare diseases. There are 7,000 inpatient admissions and 68,000 outpatient visits a year. When its doors opened in 1953, long-term hospitalizations were required for most clinical research studies. The new facility is designed to better accommodate shorter hospital stays and more outpatient treatments and with the flexibility to change as medical research techniques progress.
Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership, a Portland, Oregon-based architectural, planning, and interior design firm, is principle designer of the project.