Memorial Sloan Kettering, one of the nation’s top cancer treatment and research institutions, is expanding its reach on Long Island with a new 114,000-square-foot freestanding cancer treatment center in Nassau County. Once complete, MSK Nassau will house the area’s most comprehensive cancer care program, centrally located and staffed by the most forward-thinking and compassionate healthcare teams whose sole focus is caring for people with cancer.
Today at an on-site beam-signing celebration marking the construction progress, MSK’s leadership and staff welcomed county officials, community leaders, and other special guests.
“It’s incredibly exciting to see these buildings take the next step in their transformation from vision to reality,” said Craig B. Thompson, MD, MSK President and Chief Executive Officer. “They will provide MSK with the ability to serve more Long Island residents who are touched by cancer. We’re also deeply appreciative of the support and efforts made on MSK’s behalf by the state, Nassau County, and Uniondale and Hempstead town officials, and we look forward to welcoming patients in 2019.”
Construction of the new state-of-the-art facility is well underway. The building and adjacent five-story parking garage will neighbor NYCB Live, home of the new Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, which recently underwent a significant transformation of its own. When MSK Nassau opens in late 2019, MSK will close its current Rockville Centre facility and move its staff and services into the new Nassau facility. Like other outpatient MSK locations on Long Island and in New Jersey and Westchester County, New York, patients will benefit from comprehensive cancer services and amenities in a single location at MSK Nassau. More than 20 cancer doctors covering multiple disciplines — such as medical and radiation oncology, radiology, and surgery — will provide the latest in cancer diagnosis and treatment at MSK Nassau.
MSK’s Commitment to Long Island and Eastern Queens Continues
For more than 20 years, MSK has been part of the fabric of the Long Island healthcare landscape, delivering compassionate care to cancer patients and families. With three ever-evolving MSK locations in communities across the island — Rockville Centre, Commack, and Hauppauge — people with cancer in eastern Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk counties have been able to receive that care in a location much more convenient for them and their caregivers.
“We strive to offer our patients the most-advanced treatments and clinical expertise, regardless of the location where they receive their care,” said José Baselga, MD, PhD, MSK’s Physician-in-Chief and Chief Medical Officer.
Today, nearly 22 percent of current MSK patients reside in Nassau, Suffolk, and eastern Queens counties, with many opting to receive care locally. As cancer care has shifted to the outpatient setting, the demand for outpatient services has exploded, resulting in a need to develop larger freestanding facilities where patients can receive care and then return home later in the day.
“The demand for services grew rather rapidly at Rockville Centre, and it quickly became evident that our ability to deliver care optimally was only limited by space,” said Richard Barakat, MD, FACS, Director of MSK’s Regional Care Network. “With this much larger facility, we’ll be able to do this more seamlessly.”
The Patient and Caregiver Experience
MSK Nassau will offer services addressing almost every aspect of cancer care, including medical oncology and chemotherapy, surgical consultation, radiation oncology and therapy, and radiology imaging services, including screening services, such as mammography. Personalized medicine through clinical genetics and access to clinical trials will be available. MSK Nassau will offer diagnosis and treatment plans for most types of cancer, including rare cancers that are often difficult to accurately diagnose outside of a major academic institution such as MSK.
“The strength and experience of our clinical teams is a hallmark of MSK,” said Dr. Barakat. “With a team approach to patient care, we combine the skills and experience of multiple oncology experts, who are all uniquely trained to care for people with cancer. MSK patients have always benefitted from our deep expertise, and this patient-centric model has proven successful in managing cancer care, which is often full of complexities.”
MSK Nassau will feature the most cutting-edge technologies for diagnosing and treating many types of cancer. These include highly sensitive imaging tests (such as PET, CT, MRI, and ultrasound), precise radiation tools (including stereotactic body radiation therapy and image-guided radiation therapy), and advanced pathology testing that is not widely available (including the latest molecular diagnostics for personalized medicine).
Advancing Care: Access to New Treatments Not Available Elsewhere
For the past century, MSK has been a worldwide leader in ground-breaking research. Many treatments used today were born in MSK research labs and became part of practice-changing clinical trials.
Today, MSK’s robust clinical trial portfolio, including early-stage studies of novel targeted anticancer drugs, is more widely available than ever before. At MSK Nassau, patients will be able to enroll in early clinical trials, providing access to treatments typically not available elsewhere.
“We’ve designed this facility with clinical trials in mind so that all of the necessary staff, technology, and laboratory services are in one location. Because a therapy being tested in a trial may be the most-effective therapy available, offering patients the opportunity to participate is hugely significant,” said Dr. Barakat.
Sense of Community
Many MSK staff working in MSK facilities on Long Island reside in nearby communities and are already entrenched in local organizations, committing hours upon hours every year to outreach and education initiatives. MSK has been and will continue to be involved in community outreach, education, and health advocacy activities in and around the island, and staff will continue to partner with local organizations, businesses, and community groups who sponsor efforts to help raise awareness and build knowledge.
In addition to raising awareness, MSK will continue to support and host professional development courses and to maintain its long-standing relationship with educational institutions, such as Molloy College’s Barbara H. Hagan School of Nursing, which, in conjunction with staff from MSK Rockville Centre, hosts yearly networking and educational opportunities for its students interested in oncology.
MSK Nassau will also be able to host outside organizations on-site in its large community room, which will be equipped with the latest technology.
“Collaboration in and outside of MSK is what creates stronger communities,” said Dr. Barakat. “As someone who has lived and raised his children on Long Island for the past 23 years, it gives me great pride to see how far MSK has come in providing nothing short of the best cancer care available for so many of my friends and neighbors, and that commitment to excellence will be extended even further with this new facility. I couldn’t be more delighted to be involved in these efforts that will benefit numerous of my fellow Long Islanders for years to come.”
The architect for MSK Nassau is Ewing Cole; the construction firm is Hunter Roberts.