Ruttenberg Center Moves During Hurricane

During record storm surge, the need to provide continuous care to cancer patients remained a top priority. In the aftermath of the storm, The Mount Sinai Medical Center officially opened the doors at its new and greatly expanded Derald H. Ruttenberg Treatment Center of The Tisch Cancer Institute on Wednesday, October 31.

 – November 5, 2012 /Press Release/  –– 

Even as the record storm surge of Hurricane Sandy pummeled New York City, the need to provide continuous care to cancer patients remained a top priority. In the aftermath of the storm, The Mount Sinai Medical Center officially opened the doors at its new and greatly expanded Derald H. Ruttenberg Treatment Center of The Tisch Cancer Institute on Wednesday, October 31.  The facility, located in the new Leon and Norma Hess Center for Science and Medicine at 1470 Madison Avenue, began treating patients immediately.

Meanwhile, Ruttenberg’s former space in the Guggenheim Pavillion on Mount Sinai’s main campus, was turned from an ambulatory center into an inpatient unit in a matter of hours in order to provide care for patients emergently transferred from other hospitals in New York City. Teams of experts from facilities, nursing, IT, medicine, food service, social work, the pharmacy, and pathology coordinated this transformation.

"Nothing may be more traumatic than having to cope with cancer, especially when surrounded by the physical wreckage wrought by wind and water," said Randall F. Holcombe, MD, Medical Director of the Derald H. Ruttenberg Treatment Center. "Even though our patients had difficulties getting here – some waiting hours for gas – they were determined not to miss their chemotherapy treatments. We were able to accommodate them all.  Many of our staff slept for days at the hospital to ensure that all patients got the care they needed."

Cancer patients’ chemotherapy appointments impacted by the storm were re-scheduled, some on Sunday, October 28 and even Monday, October 29 as Sandy approached.  All others were rescheduled during the week after the storm, so no life-saving treatments were significantly delayed.

Encompassing 50,000 square-feet, the Ruttenberg Treatment Center has doubled in size over its former space to include 48 exam rooms on the third floor of the Hess Center, 54 state-of-the-art chemotherapy infusion suites on the fourth floor and a new patient resource center. The additional space will allow surgical oncology practices to relocate into the new building adjacent to medical oncology practices.  Radiology, a comprehensive imaging center and radiation oncology will also be moving to a lower level in the Hess Center in 2013.
All patients who are diagnosed with cancer and blood disorders – except for breast cancer  – will be cared for at the new facility. Breast cancer patients will continue to be treated at the outstanding facilities of the Dubin Breast Center at 1176 Fifth Avenue, right around the corner.
The Hess building was designed to improve our services for cancer patients and provide seamless access to multidisciplinary care. Clinical trial enrollment will be streamlined and patients will also have access to the most advanced technologies available to enhance quality of life for cancer patients.

"In this new space, patients will be cared for and assisted by the same medical team they already know and trust. Physicians, nurses, and support staff will be waiting for patients when they arrive," said Dr. Holcombe. "The unique setting will allow for translational research to be conducted in the same building where patients are being treated, and we are hopeful that this will quickly lead to the development of breakthrough treatments."

The new Hess Center will also house the research facilities of The Tisch Cancer Institute on the building’s fifth and sixth floors. A magnificent circular stairway has been fashioned to join all six laboratory floors – including those for genomics, neuroscience, and cardiovascular science – in order to foster collaboration. Scientists will work more effectively as a team to better understand and treat diseases using high-tech genomics and immunotherapy approaches. The proximity of basic science laboratories to the clinical floors will give patients easy access to clinical trials, embodying Mount Sinai’s commitment to translational research.

"Cancer is no longer a death sentence, as scientists are discovering new ways to think about and treat the disease," said Steven J. Burakoff, Director of The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Mount Sinai Medical Center. "The new Hess Center will facilitate the coming together of physicians and researchers to translate medical discoveries in the lab and bring them to patients as quickly as possible. It will be the ultimate in translational medicine in New York City."

In addition to housing both clinical and research facilities of The Tisch Cancer Institute, the new building will be home to cutting-edge laboratories for The Friedman Brain Institute, the Cardiovascular Research Institute, the Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology, and the Translational and Molecular Imaging Institute. By expanding Mount Sinai’s research footprint, the Hess Center is expected to draw more than $350 million in National Institutes of Health funding over its first five years.

For more information, visit: http://www.mountsinai.org/ruttenberg