12/18/2009 - Editor's note — Over the last 10 years, Vanderbilt University Medical Center has experienced tremendous growth, registered numerous achievements and solidified its status as a leader in ushering in transformative advances in research, education and patient care.
The following is a year-by-year roundup of the news that made headlines at VUMC during the past decade.
Transplant surgery first
VUMC surgeons performed the institution's first-ever triple organ transplant. The rare procedure — at the time, only about a dozen triple organ transplants had been reported worldwide — involved removing the patient's heart, lungs and liver and replacing them with organs recovered from a donor who had died in a motor vehicle accident.
The 11-hour operation was a team effort involving nearly 100 people, including transplant surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, technicians and residents.
Department of Cancer Biology formed
The School of Medicine created a new Department of Cancer Biology, the first new basic science department since the establishment of Microbiology and Immunology in 1955.
FEL used to remove tumor
In a neurosurgical first, surgeons at VUMC used a powerful laser originally developed for the “Star Wars” missile defense program to help remove a golf ball-sized tumor from the surface of a patient's brain.
The successful procedure marked the first-ever use of a free-electron laser (FEL) in a clinical operation. At the time, the W.M. Keck Foundation Free Electron Laser Center was one of only five FEL centers in the country, and was the only equipped to perform human operations.
Prepared for attack
When the magnitude of Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon became evident, VUMC officials were ready to aid victims if called upon.
The Medical Center opened its emergency operation center to coordinate efforts and assess institutional readiness to assist victims of the plane crashes and building destructions in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.
The institution was officially on Yellow Alert, indicating a state of preparedness for mass casualty, from shortly after the attacks on Sept. 11 until about 10 a.m. on Sept. 12, when the Office of Emergency Management notified VUMC that it was unlikely any casualties would be airlifted to the hospital.
Diabetes Center announced
The Vanderbilt Diabetes Center marked more than a quarter century of discovery, training and patient care with a daylong scientific symposium and the announcement of a bold new initiative — the planned creation of the Vanderbilt Comprehensive Diabetes Care Center.
Brain Institute launched
The Vanderbilt Brain Institute was officially launched in October at a lecture by Steven Hyman, director of the National Insitute of Mental Health.
Wilkerson Center approved
The Executive Committee of the Board of Trust approved the $61 million Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center for Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences and Musculoskeletal Institute, located atop the Vanderbilt University Hospital parking garage between the Oxford House and Medical Center East.
Patient information Web site debuts
The groudbreaking Web site MyHealthAtVanderbilt was launched to give patients password-protected access to their scheduling and account information. The site includes display of test results and other highlights of the patient record, submission of medical history, bill payment, prescription renewal and other features.
A paperless clinic
During 2002, Vanderbilt Medical Group staff and physicians, supported by the Informatics Center, undertook to improve quality and efficiency by using computers in place of paper-based clinical processes. The project, called E3 (as in electronic by 2003), was begun in 2001 and was completed in February.
E3's eventual impact on patient care quality can't be overstated, as the project sets the stage for automated clinical decision support, automated outcomes tracking, and greater standardization of practice.
The driver for E3 is StarPanel, a Web-based electronic medical record system linked with clinic scheduling and hospital admission systems to support management of individual patients and patient groups.
Medical Research Building III, an addition onto the Learned Lab section of Medical Center North, was completed. The joint project of the Medical Center and the College of Arts and Science houses 64 research laboratories, four teaching laboratories, and an 8,650-square-foot greenhouse.
More women than men at VUSM
For the first time in the history of VUSM, there were more women than men in the first year's class, and the increase was substantial — 58 percent of the 104-member class, or 60, were women.
First robotic surgery
Vanderbilt's first robotic surgical procedure was performed by Joseph Smith Jr., M.D., chair of Urologic Surgery.
Introducing a new degree of freedom and control for the surgeon, and eliminating the awkwardness of endoscopic technique, robotic systems help to extend the important benefits of minimally invasive surgery to new groups of patients. Vanderbilt surgeons worked with experts in the School of Engineering to create new instrumentation and to integrate radiological images alongside the robot's view into the operating field.
Third 'SPORE' grant
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center investigators were awarded a Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in breast cancer, making VICC one of only seven centers in the country with three or more of these highly competitive grants from the National Cancer Institute.
The grant provided $2.5 million in the first year, with total recommended funding over the five-year period of more than $13 million.
Children's Hospital opens
In February the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt made its patient-friendly debut, becoming the area's first free-standing, full-service children's hospital.
Approximately 150 children staying at the Vanderbilt Children's Hospital inside VUMC were moved through a connector bridge, 400 yards from their original rooms on floors four, five and six, to the new facility. In December, the Children's Hospital opened the first three floors of the Doctors' Office Tower, the new centralized home to many of the pediatric outpatient clinics.
Elevate program launched
Aimed at renewing and sharpening its commitment to service, quality and operational excellence, VUMC launched the elevate initiative.
Elevate centers on the adoption by VUMC leaders and managers of certain principles and practices: commit to excellence; measure the important
Drug discovery research institute
Drug discovery research got a boost with the launch of the John A. Oates Institute for Experimental Therapeutics.
Experimental therapeutics is “the very broad area of understanding how drugs work in the body, why not everyone responds to drugs the same way, and how we can use that information to make better use of the drugs we have and to develop new drugs,” said Dan M. Roden, M.D., director of the Oates Institute.
The Medical Center East South Tower, including the Bill Wilkerson Center for Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences, the Orthopaedic Institute, the Eskind Diabetes Center, and the Vanderbilt Heart & Vascular Institute, was completed.
Stem cell center launched
Vanderbilt formalized its commitment to one of the hottest areas of science — stem cell research — with the creation of the Vanderbilt Center for Stem Cell Biology (VCSCB). The new center, under the direction of Mark A. Magnuson, M.D., was designed to harness existing research strengths on campus and to stimulate growth in this promising scientific area.
To help investigators uncover the links between genes and disease and between genes and drug response, VUMC announced plans to build an anonymous database of genetic and clinical information.
The database resource will use blood that would otherwise be discarded to obtain anonymous genetic samples. These “banked” samples will be associated with clinical data extracted from medical records without information that identifies those records. Investigators will be able to use the resource to look for patterns and parallels between patients with similar diseases or who have taken similar medications.
VUMC became the first hospital in the region to offer a novel approach to cardiac surgery which doctors believe will change the standard of care for cardiovascular patients.
Called the Hybrid OR/Cath Lab, the state-of-the-art operating suite houses all the equipment and monitoring devices necessary to perform open-heart surgeries, like coronary bypass, as well as percutaneous coronary interventions and procedures, including angioplasty and stenting.
Cancer Campaign ends
The Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center celebrated the official end of the “Imagine a World Without Cancer” Campaign, having raised nearly $180 million for the fight against cancer in Middle Tennessee.
New facilities opened
VUMC debuted its sparkling new, state-of-the-art Emergency Department in the spring. The new facility provides more patient and family privacy and almost doubles the space.
Diabetes care at VUMC entered a new era in July with the opening of the Vanderbilt-Eskind Diabetes Clinic on the eighth floor of Medical Center East. The clinic offers comprehensive outpatient care for both adults and children with diabetes, including subspecialty visits, social work, nutrition and allied health services.
In April, the new Vanderbilt Orthopaedic Institute (VOI) opened its doors in its new Medical Center East South Tower location. The move brought together all of the Orthopaedic clinics.
VUSN celebrated the grand opening of its new state-of-the-art Frist Nursing Informatics Center in January. The new center is home to an electronic classroom and testing lab, computer rooms, and classrooms housing some of the latest in instructional technology.
In November, VUMC was designated as a Magnet hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
Magnet Recognition is a much sought-after distinction for health care institutions, which must satisfy a demanding set of criteria measuring the strength and quality of nursing. Magnet hospitals are known as places where nurses deliver excellent patient care and have a high level of job satisfaction.
In July, VUMC and the Page-Campbell Cardiology Group at Saint Thomas officially joined forces to provide the most comprehensive services in the Midstate when the Page-Campbell practice, along with its staff, moved to the Vanderbilt Heart & Vascular Institute.
In September, VUMC launched a new lecture series to bring some of the top scientific minds in the country to campus.
Nancy Andreasen, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Iowa, was selected as the recipient of the first “Vanderbilt Prize in Biomedical Science,” an award established by VUSM to honor women who have made significant advances in the biological and biomedical sciences and have contributed positively to the mentorship of other women in science.
The VU Institute of Imaging Science was dedicated in November. The four-floor, $19.7 million institute, located at the corner of Garland Avenue and 21st Avenue South, contains one of the world's most powerful magnet resonance imaging (MRI) scanners.
Integrative Health Center
The newly created Vanderbilt Center for Integrative Health, which combines traditional Western medicine with complementary therapies, opened in November. The center, located in the 3401 West End Building, offers massage therapy, physical therapy, acupuncture, health coaching, nutrition counseling, as well as integrative health consultations with a physician and a health psychologist and classes in mindfulness/stress reduction, yoga, tai chi and qigong. Roy Elam, M.D., associate professor of Medicine, is medical director.
Public health institute
May saw the creation of the Institute for Medicine and Public Health at VUMC. The mission of the institute, directed by Robert Dittus, M.D., M.P.H., is to improve personal and public health through discovery, training and service programs designed to protect against threats to health, promote healthier living, improve the quality of health services and prepare leaders to advance health and health care.
Milestone research award
In September, Vanderbilt received a $40 million Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) — its largest single government research grant — to expedite the translation of laboratory discoveries to patients in the community.
The grant from the National Center for Research Resources of the National Institutes of Health will help create a new Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research.
Vine Hill gains status
The School of Nursing-operated Vine Hill Community Clinic and its four satellite sites achieved status as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The clinic is the flagship of the University Community Health Services (UCHS), a network of eight area health clinics, and the $650,000-a-year, three-year grant will go toward expanding services at Vine Hill and funding other health outreach efforts.
VICC joins alliance
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center was named a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), an alliance of the world's leading cancer centers, becoming the organization's 21st member.
The NCCN includes centers dedicated to improving the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of oncology practice so patients can live better lives.
One Hundred Oaks
VUMC debuted its much-anticipated second campus when the first outpatient clinics began moving into Vanderbilt Health at One Hundred Oaks. The 440,000-square-foot facility occupies more than half of 100
Campus smoking ban
VUMC banned smoking on campus by staff, patients, visitors and contract employees, effective Sept. 1.
The ban is the result of a strong statement by Medical Center administration that smoking, linked to the development of cancer, heart disease and stroke, should not occur on a hospital campus.
The School of Nursing turned 100 during the 2008-2009 academic year, and held a series of activities to celebrate its rich history. The school developed a yearlong calendar of special events designed to highlight both the past and future of nursing.
Debuting in style
A day of celebration and scientific presentations was held during the summer to mark the dedication of the new $110 million Medical Research Building IV and the renovation of Langford Auditorium.
Eye Institute opens
The Vanderbilt Eye Institute made its debut in March.
The new facility — located in the South Garage Office Building — houses the Tennessee Lion's Eye Center for Children, a refractive laser suite, diagnostics area, an optical retail shop, departmental offices and designated exam and waiting room areas for all sub-specialty care.
In a major policy shift announced in January, VUMC no longer allows faculty, staff, residents and students to accept personal gifts from the health care industry, regardless of the nature or value of the gift.
The new conflict of interest policy was approved by the School of Medicine's Executive Faculty and applies to all of VUMC's affiliated entities.
Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the School of Medicine, was named vice chancellor for Health Affairs, succeeding Harry Jacobson, M.D., who retired after 12 years.
Balser, 47, has held several clinical and research leadership roles at Vanderbilt.
“It is a tremendous honor to follow Harry Jacobson in this leadership role,” Balser said. “His many accomplishments have provided a phenomenal platform for Vanderbilt to lead the nation and the world as we experience the next decade of transformational changes in science and health care.”
One of the best places to work
For the first time, Vanderbilt was named one of the top 100 best places to work in the United States in Fortune magazine's annual survey. Vanderbilt also became the first educational institution to ever be named to the list.
Critical Care Tower makes debut
The Critical Care Tower, a 329,000-square-foot addition to Vanderbilt University Hospital, opened in November after three years of construction.
The 11-story, $169 million expansion houses 12 new operating rooms and 102 patient beds in the medical, surgical and neurological intensive care units.
The H1N1 influenza virus dominated attention and impacted VUMC for much of the year.
Preparations included a multi-level pandemic plan that folds into VUMC's overall emergency preparedness plans and collaborates with University officials; stockpiling essential supplies, equipment and pharmaceuticals; warning people to wash their hands frequently and to cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing; and conducting regular planning exercises. VUMC also served as one of the clinical trial sites for the H1N1 vaccine.
BioVU expands to pediatrics
Now that the BioVU “DNA databank” has been in place for almost three years for Vanderbilt's adult patients, program leaders broadened the sample collection group to include children.