Schar Cancer Institute Opens to Patients May 13

Schar Cancer Institute Opens to Patients May 13

Institute becomes a landmark for health care and research in Fairfax County.

Schar Cancer Institute rendering.

Schar Cancer Institute rendering. Image contributed

The Inova Health System will usher in a new level of medical treatment and patient care when the Inova Schar Cancer Institute opens to patients May 13 on its Merrifield campus.

"The Schar Cancer Center raises the already-high level of health-care facilities in Fairfax County,” said Catherine W. Riley, interim president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. “As part of the Inova Center for Personalized Health it can make Fairfax County a destination for world-class research and clinical work.”

Dedication ceremonies took place Wednesday, April 24, for the $150 million center for care and research that is anchoring the 117-acre Inova campus, fulfilling a vision that began with the acquisition of the former Exxon Mobil site. The institute was made possible, in part, by a $50 million contribution from Dwight Schar and wife Martha, whose legacy will extend beyond Fairfax County-based NVR home builders.

MEMBERS OF THE SCHAR FAMILY were joined by others, including U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy and wife Marcelle, political commentator Cokie Roberts, and Lara Hopewell, a local hockey mom-turned-crusader for cancer research – all cancer survivors. Also participating in the ceremonies were U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova and Inova CEO Dr. Stephen Jones.

Additionally, the ceremonies featured more than 100 cancer patients and their family members, who became the first to walk through the front door of the newly-dedicated facility.

“We are so fortunate in Fairfax County to have access to such world class medical care and treatment,” said Bulova, who presented a proclamation from the Board of Supervisors congratulating Inova. “We have amazing facilities, doctors and cutting-edge technologies that are right here, literally in our own backyard, and that is so incredibly valuable."

Riley echoed the importance of having a first-class cancer facility in the county, offering residents the highest quality care without requiring them to travel, often hundreds of miles for treatment. She also emphasized the importance of the research that will take place at the facility, creating a new horizon in the diversification of Fairfax County’s workforce.

“We’re very excited about the research and development aspect of the Schar Institute and the ways in which it will help diversify our local economy,” Riley said. “It will attract new doctors and scientists. In partnership with facilities like the University of Virginia Medical School, those researchers will be applying for new grants and developing the kinds of programs that will make Fairfax County known as a medical research and development center.”

DURING THE DEDICATION, Jones announced that Dr. John Deeken, who had been serving as acting president of the Inova Schar Cancer Institute, had been named permanently to the president's role. Deeken said the institute would continue stress its “patient-first” philosophy, building on its ability to provide one-stop care through teams of doctors, nurses, therapists, researchers and specialized counselors.

“The vision and the spirit is that the patient is at the center of everything we do,” said Deeken, who previously served as COO of the Inova Translational Medicine Institute. "Fundamentally, that’s the difference in the model of care at Inova.

“This is the culmination of years of effort in planning and design and recruiting – to make real what we’d hoped to have for all the patients in Northern Virginia, which is expert care close to home. Nobody in Northern Virginia should think they need to go to Houston, New York or Baltimore to get world-class cancer care. We have it right here."