For many years, the cancer team at Southeastern Med has earned national recognition for bringing advanced, world class care to patients here in rural Southeastern Ohio. Today, that dedicated effort has reached a major milestone with the opening of the Wm L. Baker Family Medical Building and the John W. and Edna McManus Shepard Cancer Center—a state-of-the-art expansion to SEORMC’s Cambridge facility.
“We are fortunate to have this facility in our community, stated Wendy Elliott, Southeastern Med President and CEO. Having the ability to treat our patients close to home surrounded by their support system will help with their healing process. We are fortunate to be able to open on schedule despite all the challenges 2020 brought us. This truly is a testament to the dedication, compassion, and commitment of the Southeastern Med organization,” Elliott concluded.
“This day is the fruition of an idea, and indeed a dream, initiated many years ago,” says Dr. Michael Sarap, director of Southeastern Med’s Breast Care and Colorectal Cancer Teams, “with the ultimate goal of delivering the highest quality cancer care within the most supportive surroundings for our local patients. This event and this beautiful structure are a testament to the leadership of the administration, hospital board, and staff of Southeastern Med, and to the incredible and generous support of innumerable groups and individuals in Cambridge and our surrounding communities. This building will now serve as the showpiece of a cancer program that has consistently provided the highest quality of care for rural cancer patients for over 30 years.”
Turning the dream of a new cancer center into a reality would not have been an easy task under normal circumstances, but the unforeseen challenges of the past year have made this long-awaited day all the more significant.
“The board has been proud of the team’s ability to provide efficient, effective care for our community during an unprecedented international pandemic,” stated Shawn Ray, chairman of the Guernsey Health System Board. “Their ability to complete a major construction project at the same time is truly spectacular.”
While the completed 12,000 square foot facility offers plenty in terms of new technological capabilities (including the latest radiation oncology equipment), much of the building’s design was also based on the goal of providing a more comfortable and comforting setting for anyone passing through the doors. This includes a welcoming, open-design plan, private infusion and examination rooms, and an education room.
“We have always been committed to offering the highest-quality, nationally accredited cancer care to this region,” said Dominic Crock, Cancer Services Director. This new facility gives our team, our patients, and caregivers more space and the most up-to-date technology possible.”
Having a truly modern cancer center like this one, available to patients living well outside of a major metropolitan area, can have enormous benefits, and Dr. Sarap is truly passionate about what the Wm L. Baker Family Medical Building and John W. and Edna McManus Shepard Cancer Center will mean for the community in the years and decades ahead.
“Smaller centers clearly have multiple advantages [over larger urban centers],” Sarap says, “in terms of navigating cancer patients through their cancer journey, from the initial diagnosis through their treatment, patients will receive very close post-treatment surveillance. Smaller cancer treatment teams are also able to be much more efficient and timely in diagnosing cancers and getting patients to be seen by experts. Our time from diagnosis to initial treatment is much shorter than larger centers for most common cancer types, often measured in days rather than weeks.”
Along with the vision and drive of people like Dr. Sarap, it took the support—both financially and logistically—of dozens of people to reach this goal.
“This project required $12 million of funding,” explains Brian Shanahan, chairman of the SEORMC board, “and we certainly wouldn’t have been able to get where we are today without these generous donors. Everyone at Southeastern Med is extremely grateful and thankful for this wonderful opportunity with our new facility.”