BJC Institute of Health at Washington University School of Medicine to be dedicated June 16

The BJC Institute of Health at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis will be formally dedicated at a Collaboration Celebration June 16.

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius will make remarks prior to the dinner, and Francis Collins, MD, PhD, director of the National Institutes of Health will be the featured speaker at the dinner.

In addition, Maya Lin, designer of the Ellen S. Clark Hope Plaza surrounding the building, will attend.

The 680,000 square-foot BJC Institute of Health at Washington University School of Medicine, located at Euclid Avenue and Children’s Place, is an 11-story research building housing laboratories and support facilities for BioMed 21, Washington University’s research initiative to rapidly translate basic research findings into advances in medical treatment. The $235 million building, supported by a $30 million naming gift from BJC HealthCare, opened in December 2009. It is Washington University’s largest building.

“The School of Medicine’s researchers are constantly seeking to identify and understand the underlying causes of disease,” says Larry J. Shapiro, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. “Our goal is that these endeavors will form the foundation of new treatments and cures. This building will help us reach that goal as quickly as possible, and we thank BJC HealthCare for its support.”

The gift, the largest donation ever received for building construction at the School of Medicine, was integral to the construction of the 11-story research building that houses the laboratories and support facilities for BioMed 21.

BJC HealthCare, a Missouri non-profit corporation and one of the largest non-profit health-care provider organizations in the United States, supports interdisciplinary, collaborative research that tackles major health problems. BioMed 21 exemplifies this type of research and brings together researchers and physician-scientists from specialties that span the breadth of medical and basic science disciplines.

As the country’s highest-ranking health official, Sebelius played a key role in the passage of the Affordable Care Act and is leading its implementation. During her first year in office, she coordinated the response to the 2009 H1N1 flu virus and coordinated the provision of health and social services during the country’s economic crisis.

Previously, Sebelius was governor of Kansas from 2003-09, and was recognized by Time magazine in 2005 as one of America’s top five governors.

Collins is most noted for his landmark discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the Human Genome Project. Previously, he was director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, which coordinated the Human Genome Project, to which the Washington University Genome Center contributed.

Lin owns and operates the Maya Lin Studio in New York City. At age 21, Lin designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial as a class project while an architecture student at Yale University. In 1981, her design was chosen out of a field of more than 1,400 submissions open to all Americans. The V-shaped wall of black granite and etched with the names of 58,000 dead or missing soldiers has since become the most visited memorial in Washington, D.C.

Washington University’s BioMed 21 initiative was begun in 2003, establishing a set of research goals to tackle key medical challenges and creating an administrative structure that enables scientists from different specialties, or disciplines, to cooperate more effectively.

The BJC Institute of Health at Washington University provides laboratory space for newly created Interdisciplinary Research Centers of BioMed 21, which are:

• The BRIGHT Institute (Bridging Research with Imaging, Genomics and High-Throughput)
• Hope Center Program on Protein Aggregation and Neurodegeneration
• Center for the Investigation of Membrane Excitability Disorders – The EXCITE Center
• Center for Women’s Infectious Disease Research
• Diabetic Cardiovascular Disease Center

In addition, the School of Medicine’s Center for Women’s Reproductive Sciences, Division of Pediatric Surgery and Department of Pathology and Immunology will occupy the building, which includes shell space for future development.

The building also eventually will house Barnes-Jewish Hospital support functions, including dietary offices, laboratories and clinical pharmacies.

Designed and built to be environmentally sustainable, the building is seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold designation. Sustainable construction processes and building features include a pollution prevention plan, water-efficient landscaping, an optimized energy performance plan, use of recycled and local building materials, use of low-emitting materials, increased ventilation and outdoor air delivery monitoring.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked fourth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.