New Neuroscience Developments at the University of Cincinnati and UC Health

Building demolition

Piedmont Mews Apartment Complex undergoing demolition to make way for the new University of Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute.

Patients seeking the best in neurological treatment options at the University of Cincinnati and UC Health will soon find a new home. For decades, faculty and physicians at the UC College of Medicine have led in treatment, research and teaching for complex neurologic and psychiatric conditions – and patients receive the benefit of this academic medicine locally at UC Health facilities. Today, the collaborative work between the university’s College of Medicine and UC Health takes place as part of the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute.

A New Home for Transformational, Patient-Centered Care
Demolition began in early February of the Piedmont Mews apartment complex on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive East between Eden and Bellevue avenues, and ground will be broken later this spring for a new patient-centered facility. When completed in 2019, the $60.5 million, four-story building will bring together more than 100 faculty doctors and researchers with specialized staff. All outpatient neurological care and patient education activities will be provided there while also providing patients better access to advanced clinical trials.

“Soon, neurologic and psychiatric patients will have a new home in Cincinnati. The UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute building will be tailored to our patients’ unique needs. Functionality and innovation will align, giving our patients the best care possible,” says Joseph Broderick, MD, director of the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute and professor of neurology and rehabilitation medicine.

The global design and architectural firm of Perkins+Will will design this 114,000-square-foot building. The Chicago-based firm, which is also the architect for the Health Sciences Building on UC’s medical campus, is already engaging with patient committees to design a structure with ease and accessibility in mind. The building will have thoughtful and convenient amenities, including underground parking, a café, patient lounge, auditorium and an outdoor rehabilitation space.

“Perkins+Will brings expertise in designing functional spaces that facilitate emotional interactions,” explains Richard Lofgren, MD, president and CEO of UC Health. “This building will be an inclusive home for our patients and will allow our teams to better coordinate their care. This is another chapter in our long history of continually transforming care for those with neurologic and psychiatric conditions both in the region and beyond.”

Community Support for Programs and Facilities
The new UC Gardner Institute building is made possible by the generosity of members of the Cincinnati community. In 2015, the UC Foundation launched a $54.5 million fundraising campaign to contribute to the creation of the new world-class outpatient facility and to expand programming at the institute. More than $40 million has already been raised, including a $14 million dollar gift from the James J. and Joan A. Gardner Family Foundation. The Farmer Family Foundation also contributed a lead gift.

Most recently, three donors have given a combined $4.5 million to benefit numerous areas within the UC Gardner Institute, including brain health, post-traumatic stress disorder research and neurorecovery.

  • A $3 million contribution from Dorothy “Bunny” (Wood) Whitaker and her daughter D. Elizabeth Price established a new endowed chair within the Institute’s Memory Disorders Center: The Dorothy Wood Whitaker and D. Elizabeth Price Chair in Brain Health. Funds will be used to recruit an expert in brain health and expand programming to serve more patients with Alzheimer’s and other brain-related health areas. The gift also will support comprehensive clinical care, research and clinical trials within the Memory Disorders Center.
  • A $1 million gift from the Chris T. Sullivan Foundation established the Chris T. Sullivan Foundation PTSD Fund and will support post-traumatic stress disorder research. Specifically, the fund will support a study examining the effectiveness of Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) compared to Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) for PTSD treatment. ART is a form of psychotherapy that aims to produce results more rapidly than traditional approaches to psychotherapy.
  • A $500,000 commitment from the Oliver Family Foundation established the Oliver Family Neurorecovery Fund to support research and care for patients with spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, stroke and other neurological disorders. The fund will cover gaps in funding between projects, facilitate research and provide for new, leading-edge equipment for the Laboratory for Neurorecovery.

“These gifts not only provide support to continually advance care and treatments for our patients, but they also allow us to recruit and retain the best researchers and practitioners in our field. Their generosity makes a lasting impact for our patients and our community,” says William Ball, MD, Christian R. Holmes Professor and Dean of the UC College of Medicine and senior vice president for health affairs.

Integration and Investment in Neurosurgery
As care delivery becomes more closely integrated, the need to seamlessly connect physicians and staff involved in research, teaching and clinical care becomes critical. As a result, the Department of Neurosurgery will fully integrate within the UC College of Medicine and UC Health. Since 1984, the department’s chair and clinical faculty have also been members of the Mayfield Clinic, an independent practice of neurosurgeons providing care at almost all area hospitals. Beginning Feb. 16, 2017, the formal affiliation between Mayfield Clinic and the UC College of Medicine ends; however, the excellent and dedicated Mayfield Clinic physicians currently practicing as College of Medicine physicians in UC Health facilities will be welcomed to continue to practice at UC Health and participate in the UC College of Medicine Department of Neurosurgery.

“We have a long history of advancing neurosurgical care in Cincinnati,” explains Lofgren. “Our enhanced partnership with the UC College of Medicine allows us to bring together the best minds in research and clinical care to help teach the next generation and take our progress to the next level. This is the power of academic medicine.”

“Bringing the Department of Neurosurgery fully in-house allows us to integrate systems, processes and create and execute upon a shared vision that best serves patients,” Ball added. “We look forward to continuing our progressive work in everything from mood and memory disorders to epilepsy and the world-renowned stroke center.”

A new chair for the Department of Neurosurgery is expected to be announced in the spring. Assistant Professor Laura Ngwenya, MD, PhD, who joined the College of Medicine and UC Health in July 2016 as the director of neurotrauma, is the first of a number of full-time neurosurgeons who will support key areas, including the region’s only Level I Trauma Center.

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