A “Future-Proof” Hospital Breaks Ground in the Sky
Penn Medicine’s $1.5 billion new inpatient facility will be Penn’s largest capital project ever, and a model of modern health-care building design.
$1.5 billion project—largest in Penn’s history
1.5 million square feet
2021 expected completion date
"Future Proof" Features
500 private patient rooms
Flexible setup based on changing caregiving needs
Equipped with telemedicine and patient/family connectivity technology
Enough room for 8 people + patient for family/caregiver team communication
47 operating rooms
Part of a seamless flow of operations from emergency through recovery and discharge
Hybrid rooms for multiple types of procedures
Anyone who has spent much time at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) has probably noticed a few things: One is that it’s a world-class health-care facility, providing advanced care and pioneering new treatments for patients with some of the most complex and severe illnesses seen anywhere. Equally apparent is that the hospital building itself is a maze. HUP is in fact a warren of multiple interconnected buildings that were added over changing eras. Though the original 1874 University Gothic-style building (similar to Penn’s College Hall) was demolished in the 1940s, today’s structure includes add-ons from the longstanding Gibson building (built 1883), through Maloney (1929), Gates (1954), Ravdin (1962), Founders (1987), and many more. Modern, cutting-edge health care is delivered remarkably well in these retrofitted and multiply-modernized spaces.
For HUP’s next chapter, Penn Medicine’s leaders are planning ahead to meet the changing needs of the future of health care—by building an ambitious new facility with space flexible and adaptable to accommodate new technologies and models of care that haven’t been imagined yet.
The Pavilion, HUP’s new inpatient facility, was formally announced in May at a ceremony held in the Henry A. Jordan M’62 Medical Education Center overlooking the building site—an occasion described by Penn President Amy Gutmann as a “groundbreaking in the sky.” It will be Philadelphia’s most sophisticated and ambitious health-care building project. Located on the former site of Penn Tower across the street from HUP and adjacent to the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, the 17-story building will house inpatient care for the Abramson Cancer Center, heart and vascular medicine and surgery, neurology and neurosurgery, and a new emergency department.
“Medicine and technology will continue to move at breakneck speed,” said J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD, dean of the Perelman School of Medicine and executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System. “The Pavilion has been designed to adapt to advancements that have yet to be invented. I am confident that within this new building, 20, 50, or 70 years from now, Penn Medicine's physicians will still have the technology and adaptability to tend to their patients with the devotion and humanity that for centuries have distinguished medical care at Penn.”
“As the nation’s oldest teaching hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania is rooted in a history of firsts going back nearly 150 years,” said Ralph W. Muller, CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System. “Now, with the Pavilion, we’re poised for the next hundred years of advances in patient care.”
See more images, infographics, and more about the Pavilion.
Milestones for Penn Medicine
Putting Money on a Commitment to Preventing Readmissions
Ralph W. Muller (center) with Independence's Daniel J. Hilferty and Anthony V. Coletta, MD
Penn Medicine and Independence Blue Cross, the largest private health insurer in the Philadelphia region, signed a new five-year contract this spring that extends beyond the terms of most insurance agreements to include a commitment to collaboratively improving care for patients while stemming the tide of rising costs. “It’s more than a business agreement; it’s a unified promise to the patients we serve across the region,” wrote Ralph W. Muller, CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, in a joint op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer
with Daniel J. Hilferty, CEO of Independence Blue Cross, the largest private insurer in the Philadelphia region. The contract includes a plan to collaborate by forming joint care teams and exchanging real-time data to develop a more holistic view of patient data and help identify and address gaps in care. Penn Medicine is so committed to success that the agreement includes a 30-day readmission guarantee on inpatient services and surgeries.
The leaders described the collaboration as “an important ‘first,’ which we hope offers a model locally and nationwide—for how health systems and insurers can collaborate to provide better quality and coordination of care and combat rising health-care costs for patients and members. Five years from now, we hope that this first is a model that will have been implemented across our region and one that will be seen as critical to transforming health care for all Americans.”
“I realized that if I didn’t dedicate the rest of my life to trying to cure this disease, that no one else was going to do it. I didn’t have many more shots.”
– David Fajgenbaum, MD’13, MBA’15, an assistant professor in Translational Medicine & Human Genetics and recipient of the Perelman School’s 2017 Young Alumni Award, in a Huffington Post profile of his effort to coordinate global research on Castleman disease after his own near-death experience during medical school.
PennChart Electronic Health Record Goes System-Wide
In March 2017, Penn Medicine became the first university-owned health system in the nation to have the same electronic medical record across all care settings, including inpatient, outpatient, and home care. The PennChart system ensures continuity of care, from the time a patient enters care at a Penn Medicine facility through discharge, according to William Hanson, MD’83, chief medical information officer at Penn Medicine. “And it increases efficiency—patients’ data is captured once and then it follows them throughout their care.”
Instead of recapitulating old workflows in a digital system, PennChart was designed with a lean, modular architecture that is prepared for future redesign. The system incorporates fewer and more standardized steps for clinicians, helping to reduce variation in care. For patients, it also replaces the multiple statements they might have received in the past from different doctors and hospitals with a single integrated bill. PennChart also opens up new possibilities for integrating research with clinical care, including better data integration, streamlined identification of potential study volunteers, and efficient billing of research costs to studies.
The system can also provide data to algorithmically predict preventable complications or readmissions. For example, based on a patient’s lab results and vital signs, the system’s algorithms could suggest she might be at high risk for sepsis. “We’d get the information in real time, analyze it, and then put signals out to the care providers to do the right thing earlier,” Hanson said.
The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania received a top-five ranking among the nation’s “Best Graduate Schools” for 2017 by U.S. News & World Report —an honor bestowed for the 20th consecutive year. The school also ranked among the nation's top medical schools in several areas of specialty training.
PSOM’s 2017 U.S. News Rankings
Primary Care: 8
Highly Ranked for Specialty Training:
- Pediatrics (# 1)
- Women’s Health
- Internal Medicine
- Drug/Alcohol Abuse
The Perelman School of Medicine is an internationally recognized leader in the discoveries that advance science and pave the way for new therapies and procedures to improve human health. The school is consistently among the nation's top three recipients of federal funding from the National Institutes of Health.
Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, has been appointed director of the Abramson Cancer Center (ACC), effective July 1, 2017. Vonderheide previously served as the ACC’s associate director for Translational Research and executive director of its Translational Centers of Excellence program. Vonderheide is also the Hanna Wise Professor in Cancer Research, vice chair for research in Hematology-Oncology, co-director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Penn, and co-leader of the Stand Up to Cancer-Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Convergence Dream Team.
“Dr. Vonderheide’s career at Penn has been marked by continuous innovation in areas that were scarcely a possibility in the field when he arrived here in 2001,” said J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD, dean of the Perelman School of Medicine and executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System.
Vonderheide succeeds Chi Van Dang, MD, PhD, who served as the ACC’s director since 2011 and will become scientific director of the Ludwig Institute. Over the last five years under Dang’s direction, the ACC has enhanced its stature as a world leader in modern cancer research and clinical care. It has the largest portfolio of cancer clinical trials in the Philadelphia region and is home to the largest group in the world dedicated to cancer immunotherapy. Milestones include an “exceptional” rating (the highest possible) from the National Cancer Institute in 2015; the launch of a series of Translational Centers of Excellence to propel teams of scientists, nurses, and clinicians to improve collaboration in reaching for the cure for various cancers; and the establishment of the Center for Personalized Diagnostics with the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and the Basser Center for BRCA.
Daniel P. Kelly, MD, has been named director of the Penn Cardiovascular Institute, a multi-disciplinary group of researchers and physicians dedicated to scientific discoveries and medical breakthroughs in heart and vascular care.
“We are thrilled to recruit a leader of Dr. Kelly’s caliber to Penn, and we are confident that under his leadership, Penn will become recognized as the nation’s leading cardiovascular research center,” said Michael S. Parmacek, MD, the Frank Wister Thomas Chair of Medicine.
As a physician-scientist, Kelly has spent the majority of his career focusing on the metabolic origins of heart muscle diseases. The Kelly laboratory has used genomic, proteomic, lipidomic, and metabolomic profiling to examine the pathways that regulate heart and skeletal muscle energy metabolism in search of new therapeutic targets.
Kelly joins Penn Medicine in August 2017 from Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute at Lake Nona near Orlando, where he began as the Institute’s founding scientific director in 2008.
Several Penn Medicine executives were appointed to new roles this spring to coincide with Garry Scheib stepping down this spring as chief operating officer of the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) and chief executive officer of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) after more than 17 years with Penn Medicine.
As the new COO for the Philadelphia region of UPHS, Phil Okala is responsible for program integration across the system’s three Philadelphia hospitals. He was previously senior vice president for business development, providing executive leadership for integration of other regional health systems into Penn Medicine, among other strategic initiatives.
The new CEO of HUP is Regina Cunningham, PhD, RN, previously chief nursing executive for Penn Medicine. Cunningham has served Penn Medicine since 2011, initially as associate chief nursing officer in the Abramson Cancer Center, and has a deep understanding of hospital operations and ability to lead across many clinical and administrative areas.
Remaining in a part-time role with Penn Medicine, Scheib continues teaching and mentoring. Scheib is credited with transformative, collaborative leadership which has led the health system’s hospitals to post industry-leading outcomes and record patient satisfaction scores. “I am most proud of how we work together to provide the best patient care,” Scheib said a few weeks before making this transition. “HUP, like Philadelphia, is a city of neighborhoods, and its community members are what make HUP great.”
Ronald P. DeMatteo, MD, FACS, will take the helm of the department of Surgery in the Perelman School of Medicine, leading a department which includes 130 faculty across 11 divisions who provide advanced patient care, conduct a robust portfolio of basic science and clinical research, and educate trainees. DeMatteo is a surgical oncologist who is nationally recognized for treating liver, gallbladder and bile duct and pancreatic diseases, and abdominal sarcomas, as well as for research to help prevent tumors from returning after surgery. He joins Penn, where he completed his surgical residency and postdoctoral fellowship, after 20 years at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, most recently serving as the vice chair of Surgery and head of General Surgical Oncology. He was also a professor of Surgery and an associate dean at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. He joins Penn July 1, 2017.
Kristen W. Lynch, PhD, has been appointed chair of Biochemistry and Biophysics in the Perelman School of Medicine, following eight years as a tenured faculty member in the department.
Lynch has expertise in RNA biology and immunology and also holds a secondary appointment in Genetics. Her laboratory focuses on understanding the biochemical mechanisms and regulatory networks that control alternative gene splicing in response to antigens. Alternative splicing is a process in which a single gene codes for different—but related—forms of a given protein, each of which has similar functions. The Lynch laboratory specializes in understanding how alternative splicing is regulated in T cells during an immune response. Lynch and her team have identified more than 500 genes that undergo alternative splicing in response to T cell stimulation and have discovered some of the molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways that lead to this immune regulation.
Key words from recent Penn Medicine basic science and translational research
cTfh, or circulating T follicular helper cells, are critical to helping the body develop antibodies in response to vaccination or infection—but they are scarce. A Penn team reported in Science Immunology that it has found a way to identify and track these rare cells in the blood over time to monitor their contribution to antibody strength after an annual flu vaccine. This real-time monitoring could help optimize vaccine development for other hard-to-treat diseases including HIV.
CYCLOPS, an acronym for CYCLic Ordering by Periodic Structure, is an algorithm Penn Medicine researchers developed as a tool to detect and characterize molecular rhythms within cells, described in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The tool could have many new medical applications, such as more accurate dosing for existing medications. Instead of requiring tissue samples taken from patients around the clock, CYCLOPS uses existing data on gene activity in different human tissues and cells. With an enormous sample size from cells obtained from people at biopsies and autopsies, in scientific as well as medical settings, CYCLOPS can detect any strong 24-hour pattern in activity even if the time of day each sample was taken is unknown.
Exosomes are tiny, capsule-like structures secreted from most types of cells. Like their mother cells, exosomes have protein markers on their surfaces that identify them to the immune system as part of the body. Penn researchers discovered that a dramatic drop in exosomes from transplanted cells could be a biomarker predicting transplant rejection. Their new method, detailed in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, could offer earlier detection and better potential for reversal of organ transplant rejection, and requires only a blood test.
PD-1, or programmed cell death 1, is a receptor protein that has been targeted by drugs to unleash T cells to attack melanoma—successfully shrinking the tumors in about half of patients who receive this treatment. Among the half of patients who don’t respond, most nevertheless have a T cell response to the drug. In Nature, in the first major publication to come out of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy research collaborative, Penn Medicine and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center researchers reported that the size of patients’ tumors determined how strong of a T cell response was needed to shrink that tumor. This clue could help pinpoint which patients are not responding to cancer immunotherapy and tailor the drug regimen quickly to boost the chances of successful treatment.
UCP1, or uncoupling protein 1, mediates the process of burning energy and generating heat in brown fat tissue. Penn Medicine researchers publishing in the Journal of Clinical Investigation found Ucp1 gene expression was naturally high in fat tissue of obesity-resistant mice—but they could use drugs to induce epigenetic changes to promote fat-burning, or “browning” of white fat, in obesity-prone mice.
VRC01 is an unusual antibody against HIV in that it neutralizes 90 percent of viral strains. A pre-clinical study at Penn published in Nature Communications was the first proof-of-principle demonstration that injecting modified messenger RNA (mRNA) coding for VRC01 has potential to make the body work as a factory to produce its own therapeutic antibodies that fight HIV.
YAP and TAZ, signaling molecules in a cascade of protein-to-protein interactions known as the Hippo signaling pathway, are important in the heart’s epicardium for a healthy repair process that protects people who have heart attacks from going on to develop heart failure. Publishing in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Penn researchers found evidence of how these proteins trigger an immune-calming response in mice, offering hope to harness the immune system to promote healthy recovery from many injuries, heart attacks and beyond.
Honors & Awards
Gil Binenbaum, MD’02, MSCE’09, GME’06
Associate Professor, Ophthalmology; Director of Research, Ophthalmology, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
2017 American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus Young Investigator Award
Binenbaum encourages clinicians to harness the power of data in patients’ electronic medical records to efficiently answer clinically relevant questions in managing common eye diseases in children.
Paris Butler, MD, MPH, GME’16
Kevin Jenkins, PhD
Butler: Assistant Professor, Plastic Surgery; Jenkins: Vice Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics
National Minority Quality Forum 40 Under 40 Leaders in Minority Health Award
Butler is nationally recognized for his dedication to reducing healthcare disparities along ethnic lines. Jenkins investigates the intersection of race, law, and health.
Anna Doubeni, MD, MPH
Associate Professor, Family Medicine and Community Health
Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians Family Physician of the Year
Doubeni dedicates much of her work to addressing needs of medically and socially disadvantaged patients, as well as tackling access to care and global health issues.
Chyke Doubeni, MD, MPH
Chair and Presidential Professor, Family Medicine and Community Health
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Member
Doubeni brings an extensive research and clinical background in epidemiology, health disparities, primary care and community-focused medicine to the task force focused on evidence-based prevention recommendations.
Scott Halpern, MD’03, PhD’02, MSCE’01, MBE’02
Peter J. Snyder, MD
Halpern: Associate Professor, Pulmonary Medicine, Epidemiology, and Medical Ethics and Health Policy; Snyder: Professor, Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism
2017 Association for Clinical and Translational Science Distinguished Investigator Awards
Snyder and Halpern were recognized for translation from early clinical use to widespread clinical practice and from clinical use into public benefit and policy, respectively. Halpern also received the 2017 American Federation for Medical Research Outstanding Investigator Award.
Carl June, MD
Richard W. Vague Professor, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; Director, Center for Cellular Immunotherapy, Abramson Cancer Center; Director, Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy
2017 Fellow of the American Association for Cancer Research Academy
June was recognized for designing chimeric antigen receptor T cell immunotherapy for the treatment of refractory and relapsed leukemia.
Frederick S. Kaplan, MD, GME’81
Isaac & Rose Nassau Professor and Chief, Molecular Orthopaedic Medicine
2017 Rare Impact Award from the National Organization of Rare Disorders
Kaplan has dedicated himself to understanding fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP), in which the body’s skeletal muscles turn into bone, forming an internal “second skeleton.”
Daniel J. Rader, MD
Seymour Gray Professor of Molecular Medicine and Chair, Genetics
Award for Outstanding Work in Science as Related to Medicine from the American College of Physicians
Rader’s internationally recognized research focuses on the genetics and physiology of lipoprotein metabolism and atherosclerosis.
Joseph Serletti, MD
Henry Royster-William Maul Measey Professor and Chief, Plastic Surgery
Robert Goldwyn American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons Mentor of the Year from the American Association of Plastic Surgeons
Serletti, internationally recognized for his work in reconstructive microsurgery, was honored for the highly personalized attention he provides as a mentor to the next generation of surgeons.
David A. Spiegel, MD
Associate Professor, Orthopaedic Surgery; Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
2017 Humanitarian Award from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
The award honors Spiegel’s more than 20 years of humanitarian work in Nepal, Iraq and other underserved regions.
Douglas C. Wallace, PhD
Professor, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; Director, Center for Mitochondrial and Epigenomic Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
2017 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science
Wallace was honored for his work as a pioneer of mitochondrial medicine, demonstrating the role of these organelles in multiple diseases and using mitochondrial DNA to trace human evolution and migration.
Kristy Weber, MD
Professor, Orthopaedic Surgery; Chief, Orthopaedic Oncology; Director, Sarcoma Program, Abramson Cancer Center
2019 President, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)
Weber, who specializes in bone of soft tissue tumors and in complex limb salvage techniques, will be the first woman president of AAOS.
Linton Whitaker, MD
Professor and Chief Emeritus, Plastic Surgery
Clinician of the Year from the American Association of Plastic Surgeons
Whitaker is internationally recognized for his innovations and expertise in craniofacial reconstruction and cosmetic surgery of the face in adults and children.
Penn alumni Mindy and Jon Gray have pledged a new $21 million gift to the Basser Center for BRCA at the Abramson Cancer Center, the world’s first center devoted to the study of cancers related to BRCA gene mutations. The gift brings the couple’s total commitment to $55 million, including the initial $25 million to establish the center in 2012 and subsequent gifts.
The new gift will support multidisciplinary research at Penn and beyond in areas such as biomarkers for early detection of ovarian cancer, cellular immune therapies and vaccines for BRCA-associated cancers, combination drug therapies, and extending the reach of preventive care and educational programs.
In February, 10 professors from the University of Pennsylvania were named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAS), including six from the Perelman School of Medicine. They are among a class of 391 members honored for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. Penn Medicine’s new AAS fellows are:
Peter F. Davies, PhD, ScD, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, for discoveries in the role of mechanical forces in atherogenesis and for contributions in vascular biology and vascular pathology.
Ruben C. Gur, PhD, Psychiatry, for contributions using neuroimaging as an experimental probe to document sex differences, aging effects, and abnormalities in brain function in a variety of disorders.
Jon Martin Lindstrom, PhD, Trustee Professor in Neuroscience, for contributions to the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors field, discovering that receptor autoimmune response causes myasthenia gravis and elucidating pathology and possible therapies.
Michael S. Marks, PhD, Physiology and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Penn and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, for dissection of mechanisms by which lysosome-related organelles form within cells.
Mary C. Mullins, PhD
“This is something I do as a physician. I try to keep people from dying, and people are dying because of firearm injuries.”
– Shelby Resnick, MD, a fellow in Trauma and Surgical Critical Care, in a Salon article highlighting the re-emergence of trauma surgeons advocating for research on the interplay of gun violence and racism as a public health issue.
, Cell and Developmental Biology, for cell and developmental biology contributions that include pioneering zebrafish as a model genetic system to study signaling and polarity in vertebrate development.
Amita Sehgal, PhD, John Herr Musser Professor in Neuroscience, for contributions to neuroscience and physiology, particularly in elucidating molecular mechanisms and cellular circuits underlying circadian rhythms and sleep.
In May, four members of the Penn faculty including three from the Perelman School were elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors a scientist can receive. The new Penn Medicine NAS members are:
Yale Goldman, MD’75, PhD’75, Physiology, for studies of molecular motors and protein synthesis.
Mitchell Lazar, MD, PhD, Willard and Rhoda Ware Professor in Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases, chief of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, and director of the Institute for Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism, for research on the epigenomic regulation of gene expression and metabolism.
Sarah Tishkoff, PhD, a Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor and David and Lyn Silfen University Professor in Genetics and Biology, for studies of genomic and phenotypic variation in ethnically diverse Africans that have shed new light on human differences in disease susceptibility and drug metabolism.
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Penn Celebrates Innovators
The University of Pennsylvania and invention have a long history together—dating back to the kite-and-key inventor who began it all, Benjamin Franklin. Last year, Penn’s inventors were awarded 108 patents—the most in a single year ever before. And 68 of those patents had inventors from the Perelman School of Medicine. At the celebration of that milestone in May hosted by the Penn Center for Innovation, several Perelman School innovators received high honors.
Biomedical Device of the Year
Joseph Gorman III, MD (Surgery)
Robert Gorman, MD (Surgery)
Matthew Gillespie, MD (Pediatrics)
Deal of the Year
2016 Penn-Biogen R&D Alliance
Jean Bennett, MD, PhD (Ophthalmology)
James Wilson, MD, PhD (Medicine)
Inventor of the Year
John Lambris, PhD (Pathology and Laboratory Medicine)
Penn Medicine magazine.