MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Eastern Panhandle-based regional cancer center received an official rebranding as the West Virginia University Institute Wednesday morning.
WVU Medicine University Healthcare representatives spoke during a ceremony before the sign in front of the Dorothy A. McCormack Center at Berkeley Medical Center was unveiled. The center is located on Foundation Way next to Berkeley Medical Center.
Anthony Zelenka, president and CEO of WVU Medicine University Healthcare, said the integration with University Healthcare has been a crucial relationship for moving forward.
“It’s incredibly important for us to work with them so we are providing the best of the best care that’s out there,” Zelenka said after the rebranding ceremony. “We, for the last 15 years, have offered cancer services, but we can become more global and more sophisticated and offer the degree of specialists that a place like Morgantown can offer, so it’s critically important for us to integrate with the Morgantown group.”
Several speakers shared comments during the Wednesday morning ceremony including Richard Pill, chairman of the WVU Medicine University Healthcare Board of Directors; Clay Marsh, vice president and executive dean of WVU Health Science; Christopher Colenda, president and CEO of WVU Medicine; Hannah Hazard, surgeon in chief and director of clinical services for WVU Cancer Institute and West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee.
Pill said the rebranding of the center is just another way to increase the interconnectedness of the entire state.
“Many people in the Eastern Panhandle feel isolated from the rest of the state, but over the last few years, for various reasons, we are much more connected to the state of West Virginia,” Pill said. “A major reason (for that) is WVU and, in particular, WVU Medicine.”
Marsh also emphasized that the rebranding of the center in Martinsburg is more about West Virginia as a whole.
“Our most important opportunity, together, is to prevent cancer from ever occurring,” Marsh said during the ceremony.
Colenda said the relationship across the board of WVU Medicine and its facilities throughout the state makes the WVU Cancer Institute more competitive for national recognition, and he added that it’s important that there is a standardization of care.
“Pulling together all of our assets to stack hands, so to speak, to become one under the WVU Institute is very important for the future of care in the state of West Virginia,” Colenda said after the sign was revealed. “This has been a long journey, and we’re finally fulfilling the vision and message that the West Virginia University health system has been able to accomplish.”
Hazard said the rebranding of the center in Martinsburg strengthens the relationship it already has with the medical center in Morgantown.
“Having a cancer center we are now affiliated with in the region is really imperative for patients here,” Hazard said. “We’re very proud of this partnership, we’re proud of what happens here, we’re proud of what happens in Morgantown, and now the partnership just makes it that much stronger.”
Gee said the connection between practices in Morgantown and practices here in the Eastern Panhandle shows the ability of the state to tackle issues like cancer.
“We are a very small state with a big heart,” Gee said. “We are a state that is large enough to have every problem in urban and rural America, but we are small enough to have solutions, and that’s the wonderful thing about what we’re doing today. Our problems are big, but our opportunities are even bigger.”
The University Healthcare cancer program has been accredited since 2008 by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons, and the program was established at City Hospital, now known as Berkeley Medical Center, in 1991.
The regional cancer center, which features four oncology specialists, offers services through an oncology inpatient unit, radiation therapy and the cancer institute infusion center.
Staff writer Emily Daniels can be reached at 304-263-8931, ext. 132, or twitter.com/emilykdaniels.