January 29, 1999

Heart institute opens doors

Heart institute opens doors

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Dr. F. Andrew Gaffney (left) chatted with Dr. Harry Page Jr. (center) and Dr. Andre Churchwell at last week's opening of the Vanderbilt Page-Campbell Heart Institute. (Photo by Donna Jones Bailey)

It was a pep rally of sorts.

More than 150 members of the Cardiovascular Patient Care Center gathered in Light Hall last week for an overview of the VUMC Cardiovascular program, dubbed "It¹s Time for a Heart to Heart."

As part of the one-hour presentation, faculty and staff heard the division¹s strategy to move the heart program into the Top 10 in the nation.

The commitment to creating a superior program lies in partnering research and clinical outcomes to effectively treat patients as well as focusing on a new train of thought ‹ no two hearts are the same.

It is this approach to patient care that the newly appointed chief of the division, Dr. Douglas E. Vaughan, C. Sidney Burwell Professor of Medicine, says will propel the VUMC program to a new level in its mission to fight heart disease at its earliest stages.

"Whatever is going on in this state, something is not working. We have been doing a lot for end-stage heart disease," Vaughan said during the seminar. "But we need to help the citizens of Tennessee overcome this disease. Vanderbilt has a responsibility to impact on lives. We want to create a Œno two hearts are the same¹ mentality. We will tailor and individualize our care for patients."

The new direction comes after the release of the American Heart Association¹s ranking of deaths from heart disease and stroke. Tennessee was named the second worst in the nation. Neighboring states Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia and Alabama were not far behind.

With the opening of the Vanderbilt Page-Campbell Heart Institute on Monday, Jan. 25, leaders in the division say the region is prime for a more patient-centered approach to care.

The institute is a state-of-the-art facility designed for the prevention and treatment of heart disease. The 45,000 square-foot facility, located at the corner of Capers Avenue and 24th Avenue South, will offer a full range of cardiac services as well as access to subspecialty services like surgery, transplant and pacemakers on the VUMC campus.

The new collaboration will also offer patients multiple points of entry into the system with sites throughout the Midstate. It will create the state¹s largest regional cardiac care network, anchored by a partnership between VUMC and the Page Campbell Cardiology Group.

"If we want to maintain our programs, we have to get bigger," said Dr. F. Andrew Gaffney, former interim director of the division of Cardiovascular Medicine and newly appointed senior vice-chair for Clinical Services. "We want to create a superior practice with the strength of an academic setting. To do that, we must create a partnership between physicians, staff and the hospital to streamline decision making and align our goals and performance measures."

Gaffney urged the group to focus treatment patterns based on the continuum of care, which includes prevention and management.

Robin Steaban, administrator for the Cardiovascular Patient Care Center, echoed Gaffney¹s call.

"One of the most valuable things we offer is the continuum of care. We must be mindful of the whole continuum."

Steaban said the mission of the new facility is to serve others in the community by enhancing the quality of life of the patients utilizing the services.

"We must integrate the clinical, research and educational activities to develop and deliver innovative, high-quality care."

The commitment to continuing the research-based excellence VUMC is nationally recognized for, coupled with the strength of a community-based treatment program, equates to better patient care.

"What we are doing will not be remote research, it will be put to clinical use," Vaughan said. "We will evolve to the next level and contribute our energy and compassion to this disease. Together we can make this happen."