Heart Institute Moves One Step Closer
By Doug Boyd
The East Carolina Heart
Institute took a giant step March 31 when officials broke ground for
the new $60 million cardiac research and treatment center at East
The East Carolina Heart
Institute will be another jewel in the crown of this world-renowned
medical community, said Sen. Elizabeth Dole, who joined ECU Chancellor
Steve Ballard; Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood Jr., who will serve as director
of the new center; Dave McRae, chief executive of University Health
Systems of Eastern Carolina, the parent of Pitt County Memorial
Hospital; Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue and others on a sunny, windy and
festive spring afternoon.
The institute is designed
to be a world-class cardiovascular center offering state-of-the-art
medical technology, education and research.
The institute will be part of the ECU Division of Health Sciences.
In addition to ECUs
research and treatment facility that will be located across from the
Brody Out-patient Center, PCMH is building a $150 million, 120-bed
cardiovascular center on the east side of the hospital. The facilities
should open in 2008.
We have no greater
partner than Pitt County Memorial Hospital, Ballard said. Our
students train there, our residents spend most of their waking hours
there. Today, we break ground on the latest and most forward-looking
component of that partnership the East Carolina Heart Institute.
Planning for the institute
began in early 2003. The N.C. General Assembly appropriated $60 million
in 2004 for ECU to build a new center for cardiovascular research,
outpatient programs and education. In January 2005, the N.C. Division
of Facility Services approved PCMHs request to begin building the new
cardiovascular tower that will be the inpatient part of the institute.
ECUs facility will house
clinical, research and educational components where faculty and staff
will work together in outpatient care, research, training and
educational activities. The four-story, 206,000-square-foot facility
will house science and clinical research, robotic-surgery training,
future space for simulation laboratories, a clinical outpatient
facility for cardiovascular diseases, a database center, offices and an
Chitwood, senior associate
vice chancellor for health sciences at ECU and chief of cardiothoracic
and vascular surgery in the department of surgery, will direct the
The beginning of our
collective vision has come to fruition, and we owe this to all of you,
Chitwood said to the crowd of hospital and university officials,
lawmakers and others who helped bring the institute to Greenville. You
have worked tirelessly gaining grassroots support to make possible what
will soon be on this medical campus.