Strong's Wilmot Cancer Center Opens New Facility

Rochester, NY – Nurse-Manager Michelle Haller is happy to show off the infusion center at the new Wilmot Cancer Center -- where 46 patients at a time will be able to get chemotherapy or related treatments beginning Monday.

Doctors, technicians and nurses are already setting up for business in the newest part of Strong Memorial Hospital getting ready for the patients who will arrive next week.

Strong and the University of Rochester cut the ribbon Thursday on the new Wilmot Cancer Center wing. It's phase one of a planned 65-million-dollar, five-year expansion plan for the Wilmot Center which treats more than 10-thousand cancer patients a year.

Doctor Richard Fisher is the center's director. He says those patients no longer have to go to facilities scattered around the hospital. Formerly the Wilmot Center facilities were fitted into different parts of Strong Memorial Hospital, from radiation oncology facilities in the basement, to medical facilities on the third floor and the opposite side of the hospital.

Now patients have "one stop shopping." And Doctor Fisher says doctors, nurses and technicians no longer have to page each other or chase each other between facilities on opposite ends of the hospital to consult about patients.

Former cancer center patients Mary Beth Pelkey and Mark Kokanovich both say that's an improvement. So are the natural light and open space in the patient treatment areas. Former patients and oncology staff were consulted in the design of those spaces.

Funding for much of the new Wilmot Center wing at Strong came from a 42-and-a-half million dollar fundraising campaign, started by the Wilmot family with gifts totaling eight-million dollars.