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Penn Medicine Advances Real-Time Medicine: The Ruth and Raymond Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine— Helping to Heal Patients Through Innovative Building Design
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October 7, 2008, Volume 55, No. 7

The dedication of Penn Medicine’s Ruth and Raymond Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine on October 2 marked the latest example in a national trend toward caring for patients in an environment designed to speed diagnosis and treatment and enhance patient comfort and convenience. The Perelman Center links Penn’s expert physicians and clinical researchers in new ways, by putting them just an idea’s reach away from one another, always prepared to collaborate and create groundbreaking, individualized treatment plans.

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Left to Right: Ralph Muller, CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System; Penn President Amy Gutmann; and Raymond and Ruth Perelman cut the ribbon to mark the official opening of the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine at Penn while Dr. Arthur Rubenstein, Executive Vice President of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System and Dean of the School of Medicine looks on.

The $302 million, 500,000-square-foot outpatient facility is the new home to 12 clinical specialties whose staff will work together in multi-disciplinary teams aided by state-of-the-art medical technology. This seamless integration of services creates a real-time medicine model that helps ensure each patient receives the right diagnosis and the right therapy at the right time.

“The Ruth and Raymond Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine exemplifies Penn’s commitment to move from excellence to eminence in the care of patients and the creation of innovative treatments,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “The new facility is not only a fitting home for superb Penn doctors, scientists, nurses and students who are the heart and soul of Penn Medicine, but also a powerful symbol of hope to patients and their families. It is a fitting tribute to the compassion and generosity of Ruth and Ray Perelman and their loyal and steadfast support for Penn.”

The Perelman Center is the largest capital project undertaken in the history of the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS). The new building includes 225 exam rooms, 84 private chemotherapy infusion bays and an outpatient surgical pavilion with eight 600-square-foot, state-of-the-art operating rooms. The Perelman Center will unify all services of the Abramson Cancer Center, and in 2009 the 75,000-square-foot Roberts Proton Therapy Center, the only center in the nation combining both proton treatment and research, will open its doors to patients seeking the latest treatments for cancers of the prostate, head, neck, spinal cord and other areas.

“In the life of a great academic medical center, there are certain defining moments that move it to the next level of excellence. For Penn Medicine, the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine is one of those moments,” said Dr. Arthur H. Rubenstein, Executive Vice President of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System and Dean of the School of Medicine. “This facility is a world-class center for the most exciting and promising clinical care, which will set a new standard for patient care.”

The economic impact of the Perelman Center in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is expected to be $348 million, and $212 million in the City of Philadelphia. When it is fully operational, the building will create more than 400 new jobs within Penn Medicine and support 2,772 jobs directly and indirectly throughout Pennsylvania.

A New Model In Clinical Care

Perelman Center
Designed by Perkins Eastman/Rafael Viñoly Architects, a Joint Venture, the Perelman Center was built to create a comfortable and easy-to-navigate environment for patients and their families. The soaring glass atrium creates a central welcome space adjacent to a café and retail space. Exam rooms are a spacious 110 square feet, providing ample room for family members and friends. Special consultation rooms throughout the facility bring doctors, nurses and other medical professionals directly to patients and their families, eliminating the need for visits to different offices around the medical campus.

Outpatients with heart, lung, vascular and digestive diseases will all receive treatment in the new building, and co-located practices—reconstructive surgeons near physicians who treat breast cancer, for instance—make it easy for patients to plan for and receive all the care they need in a single location. Specialists in endocrinology, rheumatology, dermatology, plastic surgery and executive health will also practice in the Perelman Center. When all of the Perelman Center’s practices open, there will be an expected 300,000 patient visits each year.

 “The future of medicine is here,” said Ralph W. Muller, chief executive officer of UPHS. “The advanced medical expertise for the finest in outpatient care is thoroughly integrated throughout the building. The Perelman Center sets a new standard for accurate and timely patient care, based on collaboration, consultation, and cutting-edge research.”

 The Abramson Cancer Center’s new location provides easy access to both screening and oncologists specializing in drug, radiation and surgical treatment in one tower. A cancer boutique offering special, hard-to-find products cancer patients need is also on the premises.

 The Perelman Center brings together physicians in new ways that will lead to closer collaboration between specialists. Patients, in turn, can expect quicker diagnosis and treatment. In the Lung Center, for example, a thoracic surgeon can upload a patient’s high-resolution CT scans to an imaging center 10 feet away from the exam room. There, the doctor can confer about the images with an expert chest radiologist, and together the two will help craft a personalized treatment plan for the patient. The care team will relay the plans to the patient right away, paving the way for quick access to a team of other specialists—nutritionists and social workers, for instance—without leaving the department. If the patient requires further studies, they’re just a short escalator ride away from the appropriate testing areas. Similar outpatient services will be available for patients with cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and other complex conditions.

The Perelman Center also serves as the first step in a broader mission for Penn Medicine’s efforts to revolutionize translational research and pioneer innovative clinical trials. Under construction next door, the Anne and Jerome Fisher Translational Research Center (Almanac July 15, 2008) will unite basic scientists and clinicians to drive clinical trials of treatments and cures patients can’t find anywhere else.

History Plays Important Role in New Building

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Perelman Center architect Rafael Viñoly looks out over the lobby in the soaring, five-story atrium of the new building during the dedication event on October 2.

To honor the history of the Civic Center site, where the Perelman Center now stands, architects have incorporated artifacts throughout the building, including a 40-foot limestone frieze, original stained glass, a decorative ticket booth and terracotta tiles consistent with the Art Deco and Beaux Arts styles of the Civic Center building. On the first floor atrium, additional Civic Center artifacts and artifacts from the history of Penn Medicine will be on display, along with a museum-quality interactive program about its history and medical advances.

 In future phases of development, the Perelman Center will incorporate more Civic Center artifacts. In addition, 5,000 artifacts from the Civic Center Museum are now part of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology. Visit www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/perelman.

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Philanthropic Efforts Expand Vision of Advanced Medicine

Raymond G. Perelman and his wife Ruth pledged $25 million to create the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine. Mr. Perelman, a Penn Medicine Trustee, is a 1940 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. Since 1992, he has served as president and chairman of the board of RGP Holdings, Inc., a privately held holding company comprised of various manufacturing, mining and financial interests. Mr. and Mrs. Perelman are Trustees of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman Education Foundation, Inc., which supports Jewish cultural and welfare organizations, as well as art and history museums and other cultural institutions.

 In addition to the Perelmans, numerous faculty members, trustees, patients and School of Medicine alumni contributed generously to make the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine possible.

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Almanac - October 7, 2008, Volume 55, No. 7