LEXINGTON, KY. (Feb. 17, 2022) — UK HealthCare announced a historic $10 million gift from Central Bank to support expanded patient care at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center. The gift, announced at the UK Board of Trustees Health Care Committee meeting on Feb. 17, is the largest in UK HealthCare history and launches an initiative to raise $90 million to improve cancer care in Kentucky.
In December, the UK Board of Trustees approved a purchase agreement for $6.9 million to acquire residential parcels across from UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital on South Limestone for the construction of a new outpatient cancer treatment center and advanced ambulatory complex. The new $10 million gift will be used toward the development and building of this new complex.
“Cancer represents an area where our ingenuity and innovation are most needed. Kentucky leads the nation in cancer incidence and mortality. As such, we are determined to meet this moment—to channel our fierce resolve and address this stubborn and heartbreaking challenge,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “For those people and those families, this new facility will provide compassionate, world-class care, as close to home as possible. No Kentuckian should have to leave the state to receive the highest quality care. Luther Deaton, Joan Kincaid and the whole team at Central Bank recognize what it means to serve Kentucky. We are deeply grateful for this generous gift that will help us build a better tomorrow.”
Ms. Joan Kincaid, owner of Central Bank, first gave to the UK Markey Cancer Center – then known as the McDowell Cancer Network – in 1979, and cumulative Kincaid/Central Bank giving to UK exceeds $20 million.
“For 75 years, our commitment to community service has supported our 500 employees, their families, and our customers from all 120 Kentucky counties,” said Luther Deaton, chairman/president and CEO of Central Bank. “Too many Kentucky families have been devastated by cancer, and it is our hope that this gift will help future generations of Kentuckians avoid this terrible diagnosis.”
As the only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated center in Kentucky, the UK Markey Cancer Center is able to offer leading-edge and early phase therapies not available to patients being treated anywhere else in the state.
Since becoming an NCI-designated center in 2013, the Markey Cancer Center outpatient clinic visits have increased by 57%, including more than 120,000 patient visits in fiscal year 2021. Additionally, cancer-related research funding has increased by 109% since 2012; as of June 30, Markey researchers hold grants in excess of $59.3 million in total costs.
“Markey is the go-to cancer center in the state and that is evident by the growth we have seen on all fronts, including patient volume, basic research, population science research and clinical trials,” said Mark Newman, M.D., UK executive vice president for health affairs. “While this growth is tremendous, we need to increase our physical footprint to continue expanding our potential, and most importantly, to further enhance the experience and care for our patients.”
The proposed complex – with an estimated 260,000 square feet for cancer services – includes space for other advanced ambulatory (outpatient) clinics and structured parking as well as space for services such as outpatient operating rooms, procedures rooms, diagnostics and imaging services, pharmacy and lab services and room for meetings and support services.
“This building is a dream come true and will be hugely transformative for our state,” said Mark Evers, M.D., director of Markey Cancer Center. “Currently, our facilities are spread out and our patients oftentimes have to go to multiple buildings to see their physician and obtain laboratory studies and treatments, which can be quite stressful. This new building will allow our patients to be dropped off at the front door, see their physician and obtain their lab work, X-rays and treatments, all in one place. It will be a tremendous help and asset for our Markey patients.”
A new cancer care/clinical research facility is part of a larger strategy to elevate Markey’s national reputation by achieving NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center status. The NCI has awarded this designation – its highest – to only about 50 cancer centers in the U.S., and none within a 200-mile radius from Lexington.
Because NCI-designated Comprehensive Center Centers have expanded access to Phase I and II clinical trials, Markey patients will be able to receive best-in-class care as close to home as possible. Given that Markey and its partners treat half of all the cancer patients in the Commonwealth, the impact of NCI Comprehensive status is significant, especially since Kentucky has the highest rate of cancer incidence and death in the nation.
This historic gift from Central Bank marks a major contribution within the greater Kentucky Can Campaign, the largest fundraising campaign in the history of the Commonwealth, announced by UK in 2018. The $2.1 billion campaign – Kentucky Can: The 21st Century Campaign – will create thousands of scholarships to expand access to education at UK and will dramatically accelerate UK’s efforts to solve the Commonwealth’s most challenging health and economic issues.
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers." We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.