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Center for hope
Clinical cancer center's design evokes calm state of mind, body and soul



Patients may choose to have their chemotherapy in a private room.

The patient comes first" was the mantra of the team who conceptualized the Froedtert & the Medical College Clinical Cancer Center, which opened in May 2008.

Forget the typical medical building atmosphere when you walk into the facility; instead, you will find a serene experience, stemming from the use of organic materials and plenty of natural light.

"The building was essentially designed out of glass to bring the outside in," says Sue Derus, executive director of Cancer Services at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin.

"The atmosphere is calming — to reduce the stress level that we believe affects the patient’s ability to recover."

To exemplify that experience, tucked away behind the main lobby is a mediation room for patients where New Age music, plants and soft chairs are the perfect place to relax.

"The attention focuses around the patient rather than convenience for the doctors," explains Derus. "In the past, the different cancer services were spread out around the entire Froedtert and Medical College campus. We set out to build something that focused on the patient."

Froedtert and the Medical College spent two years researching before hiring an architect to design the building. They formed patient focus groups, followed by meetings with staff and physicians.

The clinics are laid out by disease type, such as, the breast area, melanoma area, etc. Derus said patients wanted a one-stop care facility and their physicians to be in touch with one another during their treatment. There are 13 disease-specific teams of physicians who work together at the center.

There is also a cafeteria for patients, The 87th Street Bistro, where healthy foods are served, and a gift shop, Small Stones Wellness Center, located next door. At Small Stones there are special items for cancer patients — as well as a hair stylist who can help those undergoing treatment with wigs, and offer advice on how to wrap scarves and wear hats.

The Small Stones Wellness Center on the second floor provides cancer patients with wig, hair and makeup services, as well as a certified mastectomy fitter for women who have undergone full or partial breast removal.


SEMI-PRIVATE CHEMO ROOM: Scott Garrett of Wauwatosa is undergoing chemotherapy treatment while his wife, Terry, sits by his side.