Adventist-Health Sonora will host a ribbon-cutting celebration and open house at 2 p.m., Monday at the Health Pavilion and Diana J. White Cancer Institute, 900 Mono Way, Sonora.

On Monday afternoon, the public will get a first look at the $36 million Adventist Health - Sonora Health Pavilion and Diana J. White Cancer Institute for, which a ceremonial groundbreaking was held in July 2015.

Adventist Health officials said they can’t set a date for opening the facility until the state public health agency licenses the building.

Located at 900 Mono Way in Sonora, across the street on Greenley Road from the Adventist Health - Sonora campus, the 64,000 square-foot, three-floor building, is illuminated by sunlight through wide glass windows and furnished with vibrant nature photography.

Communications Manager Karen O’Brien said the design was to intended to promote a therapeutic environment for the well-being of patients.

“There has been a great deal of thought that has gone into this building. Not only just the color but the design and the layout as well,” she said. “The design is not just about what’s pretty, it is very functional and centered on the patient.”

On the third floor, 12 private chemotherapy and immunotherapy infusion bays line a glass window overlooking the Sierra foothills and an outdoor patio terrace lined with river rocks and yellow sunflowers.

Throughout, long hallways, lit by motion-sensing bulbs, are lined with doors leading into patient suites and medical offices.

On the bottom floor, a player piano welcomes in patients and guests. At the entrance, a donor and scripture atrium, composed of layered glass panels in teal, amethyst and aquamarine, catches sunlight.

“The bay windows help you find your way. Bringing in the natural light just gives you a natural sense of well-being,” O’Brien said.

The flagship instrument is a state-of-the-art $2.1 million dollar stereotactic body radiation therapy device, the linear accelerator.

Locked behind a massive vault door, and surrounded on all sides by a six-foot thick buffer of concrete, the linear accelerator is illuminated by an iridescent glow of cycling colors. An elevator in a rear room on the third floor allows patients to access the linear accelerator privately.

The “Elekta Infinity” linear accelerator, bordered by leminscate signs, will be the most state-of-the-art cancer treatment device in Tuolumne, Calaveras and Mariposa counties, O’Brien said.

A linear accelerator pinpoints the exact location of a three-dimensional tumor and delivers precise doses of radiation to protect healthy surrounding tissue.

Elsewhere on the first floor are the diagnostic imaging services, utilizing a 3-D tomosynthesis mammography machine, a 64-slice CT scanner to provide more-detailed images of the body, and a PET/CT scanner, which illuminates cancer cells.

The only hurdle that remains for the actual opening of the Health Pavilion and Cancer Center is a pending assessment and licensing by the California Department of Public Health.

As of Friday, an assessment had not yet been scheduled.

“We're ready to open, we're excited that we are ready to open and we are just waiting for the license,” O’Brien said. “We are just waiting for that process but we are just so excited that we are ready to go as soon as they do that.”

O’Brien said Adventist Health officials are not concerned and know the approval is part of the the necessary process.

“Obviously the sooner we can open, the sooner we can be helping patients with that new equipment,” she said.

She said many hospitals in California are waiting for similar visits.

Once the health pavilion and cancer center is open, all four of the services provided in building — medical oncology, hematology and infusion center on the third floor, outpatient rehabilitation and primary care on the second floor, and diagnostic imaging and radiation therapy on the first floor — will assist around 500 patients a day, O’Brien said.

Employees of Adventist Health - Sonora working in those capacities on the current campus will transition to the new site, she said. There will be a “few new hires that are being recruited” from local and professional sources both in the area and regionally, she said.

About 100 employees will staff the health pavilion each day, O’Brien said.

The new facility will remain under the auspices of the Adventist Health - Sonora system, which is headed by the recently appointed president, Michelle Fuentes.
“The structure remains the same. They are just moving into the new space,” O’Brien said.

The cancer center will be staffed by oncology and hematology specialists Mussa Banisadre, M.D.; Yousef Khelfa. M.D.; Abdol Mojab, M.D.; and radiation oncology specialist Mihoko Fujita, M.D.

The director of the cancer center will be Shane Tipton, a family nurse practitioner and physician assistant with a masters degree in science.

Contact Giuseppe Ricapito at (209) 588-4526 or gricapito@uniondemocrat.com . Follow him on Twitter @gsepinsonora.



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