Work begins on Laguna Hills Women’s Health Pavilion – Orange County Register

With much applause and aplomb, MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center broke ground on a new women’s health facility just a stone’s throw from Laguna Woods’ Gate 2 last week.

The 40,000-square-foot Women’s Health Pavilion is under construction at the Laguna Hills Medical Center and is scheduled for completion in 2023.

“Our vision for the Women’s Health Pavilion is to provide a truly innovative and holistic approach to women’s healthcare,” said Marcia Manker, CEO of MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center. “The groundbreaking will bring that vision to life and celebrate the lives and well-being of women of all ages and walks of life.”

The new facility “not only provides medical care to treat a condition or disease; It will take care of the entire woman, including general well-being and mental health, from birth through adulthood,” Manker said.

The pavilion will house the already established MemorialCare Breast Center, which will be transformed into Orange County’s first comprehensive breast care center, with breast oncologists, reconstructive surgeons and state-of-the-art technology, all on the first floor of the new three-story building. story construction.

The facility will also provide maternity services, sexual health and mental health medical staff in partnership with Saddleback Women’s Hospital. Cardiovascular health services are planned.

For elderly patients, the pavilion will have an osteoporosis clinic and a pelvic floor rehabilitation clinic with specialized physiotherapists. Pelvic floor problems affect more than 40% of women ages 60 to 79 and 50% of women age 80 and older, Manker said.

With services under one roof, women will have shorter wait times, officials said, even same-day appointments and expedited screening results to facilitate early detection and treatment plans for breast cancer. In addition, the center will have a retail store focused on the needs of cancer patients, with wigs and other items to help them get a sense of who they were before cancer.

(In total, MemorialCare has nine breast centers between Long Beach and Rancho Mission Viejo, all under the medical direction of Dr. Gary Levine, a breast cancer specialist with more than 25 years of experience who has helped plan the new center for the past seven years.)

The new facility is focused on the future and the growing population of older women, Levine said.

“By 2040, more than 20% of the population is projected to be over 65, and the majority of older people will be women,” he said. “Preventive care is of paramount importance and should include activities of daily living, physical exercise and community involvement. The recent increase in retirement communities that allow older women to stay engaged and active is leading to better health and longer lives.”

Also planned is a community education center that will include hosting support groups, nutrition counseling and wellness classes like yoga and Pilates for women of all ages. A green garden to soothe the senses is also part of the master plan.

Joining Manker on the groundbreaking September 20th were Levine; Assemblyman Laurie Davies; Orange County Superintendent Lisa Bartlett; Christy Ward, President of the Saddleback Medical Center Foundation; and dr Catherine Han, Chair of the Foundation Board, along with young philanthropists Taylor and Sarah Nederlander and cancer survivor Heather Chu.

Chu, 42, an Irvine resident, spoke about her experience at MemorialCare Breast Center when she was diagnosed with DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) breast cancer in January 2021. She ended up having a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.

“It’s difficult to speak publicly about my experiences, but I want to share them to empower other women,” Chu said. “Cancer patients are faced with the question of who to ask and where to go. It struck me how friendly, knowledgeable and compassionate the entire staff was here.”

Her treatment included genetic counseling and physical therapy, with Levine overseeing radiology and ultrasound. She was later diagnosed with uterine cancer and had a hysterectomy.

“MemorialCare has helped me through this journey. Every single person I met was warm and welcoming,” Chu recalled, quoting her nurse navigator as saying, “You’ll be fine; you can do it; We will be there for you. I will hold you and not let you go and I will help you with that.”

Chu added, “There is a tremendous need for such a facility. As a wife and mother, I was a horrible experience. I love my cancer free body. The cancer took my body but not my confidence.”

The new building was designed by c/a Architects, a Long Beach office specializing in healthcare facilities.

The cost of construction, along with the land, is approximately $80 million, Manker said.

Philanthropic contributions, including $2.5 million from sisters Sarah and Taylor Nederlander of the Harry J. Nederlander Foundation, help fund the project. Therefore, the pavilion’s breast center will be called the Sarah & Taylor Nederlander Breast Center. The sisters, granddaughters of theater mogul Harry J. Nederlander and stepdaughters of Levine, said their family was affected by breast cancer.

“Our grandfather wanted to give us the opportunity to make a difference in the world. With our gift, we hope to ensure that more women in our local community have better access to advanced screening, treatment and care,” they said.

Manker takes the center’s proximity to the village for granted, since in 1969 the Golden Rain Foundation contributed the first $100 for what would become Saddleback Community Hospital (now MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center) and 9 acres of land that sold for $1 . The hospital opened in 1974. Work begins on Laguna Hills Women’s Health Pavilion – Orange County Register

Dais Johnston

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