Transforming Cancer Care:
Planning for the Next Phases of the Brian D. Jellison Cancer Institute
Sarasota Memorial’s vision to transform cancer care in our community is to ensure that no cancer patient should have to leave home to receive comprehensive cancer care.
Building a comprehensive cancer center from the ground up is an enormous undertaking. In addition to state-of-the-art facilities, Sarasota Memorial Health Care System’s vision includes offering services, programs, technologies and compassionate patient- centered care found at other leading cancer centers. The Healthcare Foundation’s Leading with Care campaign has helped make the vision a reality. To date, the campaign has raised over $56 million towards our $75 million goal which will support the four phases currently planned for the Brian D. Jellison Cancer Institute.
Phases One and Two. Done.
Phase one of the plan, the Radiation Oncology Center at University Parkway opened to patients in August 2020. The second phase, a 170,000-square-foot, eight-story inpatient and surgical oncology tower on the Sarasota campus, is nearing completion and scheduled to open in November 2021.
“It’s going to be state-of-the-art in terms of the technology we put in it, the patient experience, and the ability of providers to care for their patients,” Dr. Richard Brown, Medical Director, says.
The Future is Here
Initial planning has already begun for the next two phases which will include an outpatient Cancer Pavilion at the SMH-Sarasota campus. This pavilion will bring the full continuum of outpatient cancer services under one roof, from screenings and diagnostics through various treatment modalities.
“Most oncologic care is delivered in the outpatient setting,” Brown says. “A patient coming to the Jellison Cancer Institute will be able to have all of their needs met under one roof.”
The next phase of development under review also includes an outpatient center at the SMH-Venice campus. Once built, this location will bring additional comprehensive cancer services to patients in south Sarasota County.
While the facilities themselves are undeniably valuable to the community, also critical are the providers and programs the additional space enables SMH to accommodate. “One of those services would be our Oncology Nurse Navigation Program, where we have nurses who specialize in particular tumor sites working with providers alongside the patients, advocating for their needs, communicating, and coordinating their care,” Kelly Batista, Executive Director, says.
The state-of-the art facility and commitment to patient-centered care has enabled the team to recruit physicians who have trained or worked at the nation’s top medical centers, including the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins and Harvard.
Community Support is Key
Long before the first shovel broke ground at the Radiation Oncology Center, the community has been supporting the project through the Healthcare Foundation’s campaign. They understood that everyone deserves the best cancer care and no one in our community should have to leave home to get it. “The Healthcare Foundation has been an amazing partner throughout the entire project,” Lorrie Liang, President, SMH-Sarasota Campus, stresses. “The support they have received from the community has been instrumental in bringing this vision to life.”
In 2020, the Brian and Sheila Jellison Family Foundation made a transformational $25 million gift to the Healthcare Foundation helping make this project a reality. The Jellison family lost their patriarch, Brian, to cancer in 2018. They, like many of the Healthcare Foundation’s donors, know what it’s like to watch a loved one undergo cancer treatment, or to go through it themselves. The Jellisons also recognized that having to travel far from home for cancer treatment puts additional strain on patients and families.
“From day one, the Jellison family really understood and embraced the vision that we had and what we were working to accomplish,” Batista says. “What their gift allows us to do is deliver on the vision that we set out on years ago, to bring high-quality physicians, high-quality care, and high-quality facilities together.”
“Their gift, along with the gifts from many other generous donors, will allow the residents of Sarasota County to feel that they can get the best quality cancer care, without having to leave home,” Dr. Brown adds.
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