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VOL. 8 | NO. 46 | Saturday, November 7, 2015

St. Jude to Invest $9B in Hospital, Fundraising Arm in Major Expansion

By Andy Meek

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St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and its affiliated fundraising arm ALSAC are on the precipice of a major expansion in Memphis that represents almost $9 billion in investment between the two entities.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and its ALSAC fundraising arm will launch a major expansion that would pump more than $9 billion into its Memphis campus.

(Courtesy of St. Jude)

That’s according to St. Jude CEO Dr. James Downing, who told The Daily News Friday the expansion would include staff additions of about 1,000 at both St. Jude and ALSAC, for a total addition of about 2,000 to the organizations’ workforce.

The anticipated $9 billion investment would pump about $7 billion into the hospital with the rest going to ALSAC to pay for the increase in staff and facilities to house them, Downing said.

Of that $9 billion investment, he added, about $1 billion would reflect new construction as part of the expansion, which is connected to the hospital’s new six-year strategic plan that includes an ambitious agenda.

One of its many pieces includes expanding the hospital’s International Outreach Program, now in 17 countries. A new leader of that program, Dr. Carlos Rodriguez-Galindo, starts on Monday.

As far as the new construction, “we’re going to be expanding the number of patients we see on campus,” Downing told The Daily News. “Right now, we’re building new in-patient units for our patients. That will be completed in June of next year … we’ll also be building new outpatient facilities, a clinical office building and a new data center. Breaking ground on that in January is our current plan. And we’ll build a research building and new housing for our patients.

“We also have a campus plan we’re initiating to look carefully at our entire campus, both what is fenced and what’s outside, to make sure we’re using that space optimally.”

Other features of the strategic plan:

St. Jude plans to double the number of children in St. Jude-led clinical trials. Another key initiative is the creation of a St. Jude-funded Clinical Research Consortium, a global consortium of institutions that will develop clinical trials for rare, aggressive diseases.

About a dozen top institutions will be invited to collaborate on developing and running complex clinical trials.

Fundraising is a prerequisite for St. Jude making progress toward its goals. To that end, Downing said about 75 percent of the funding for the expansion would need to be raised through fundraising.

“This is our roadmap for moving forward,” Downing said. “But it’s all contingent on being able to raise the funding to be able to hire these individuals and be able to create the infrastructure to house them. As part of that, ALSAC will grow to meet those needs. Each year we’ll look at this plan and decide on moving forward.”

Downing said the motivation to get started now on this work is that St. Jude’s mission of treating and fighting childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases is more critical today than ever.

The hospital has been successful on that front over its 53-year history, but he said there are still, for example, particular childhood cancers where the survival rates are less than 5 percent.

“We think the world needs an organization to stand up and lead the agenda on pediatric cancer and make advances on pediatric cancer and bring together people from around the world together to talk about this problem,” Downing said. “So our push is to meet that need. It’s what other organizations and governments can’t do. If not for, St Jude, who? This is what we think is our role.”

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