When Vanderbilt Medical Center administrators told Diane Harris they wanted to
move The Vanderbilt Breast Center to Nashville’s 1960s-era 100 Oaks Mall, the longtime manager was horrified.
“I said, ‘Oh no, please no.’ I absolutely was disheartened because I have seen breast centers try to make it
in a mall and I pictured in my mind going into a run-down mall in some dark
But, as we now know, VMC leaders had a much larger vision. They wanted to take
over the entire second floor of the aging Nashville shopping mall and turn it
into a second Medical Center campus with multiple patient clinics, a radiology
and imaging center, primary care facilities and a wellness center. More than a
year later, the interior of the mall has been gutted and instead of
storefronts, the space is being transformed into a series of spacious health
care clinics, along an open concourse complete with skylights and artwork.
The Vanderbilt Breast Center will be one of the premier patient centers located
on that concourse and Diane Harris and her staff of 22 have changed their minds
about the move.
“It didn’t take long after we saw the design plans to get excited. We were ready to start
packing our boxes,” Harris said.
Much of the excitement has to do with all of the extra space at the newly named
Vanderbilt Health at One Hundred Oaks campus. Right now the Breast Center and
all of its screening equipment is jammed into a 7,000-square-foot space in the
Villages at Vanderbilt.
“We are at the limit of our capacity here and we can’t handle more patients even though we know there are more women who would like
to get their mammography screening here,” Harris explained.
The new Vanderbilt Breast Center at One Hundred Oaks will be housed in an
18,000-square-foot facility, with space for 15 exam rooms, several consultation
rooms and a large central waiting area, all designed to be patient-friendly.
Harris smiles when she talks about the big new patient dressing room area which
replaces the current cramped dressing room she compares to a closet with
curtains. The new dressing rooms have doors and there are lockers so patients
can secure their belongings.
“Mammography is one of the specialties that doesn’t make a lot of money so it usually is last on the list of things that get
bought or fixed,” Harris explained. “I’ve been doing this for twenty years and for a mammographer, designing and moving
to this gorgeous new facility is a once-in-a-lifetime chance.”
That chance to design a breast center from scratch was one of the perks that
helped VUMC officials recruit John Huff, M.D., to be the new chief, Section of
Breast Imaging and Imaging Director for the Vanderbilt Breast Center.
“That was a major factor in my decision—the opportunity to move into renovated space, expand our program and take our
breast center to the next level,” Huff said. “Right now all of our diagnostic work is in one small room with inadequate
numbers of review workstations to accommodate both the clinical and diagnostic
throughput. When we move into the new clinic we will have additional
workstations and the capacity to maintain our diagnostic workflow while also
providing consultative services for clinicians as we discuss an individual