Methodist Hospital Expansion

Groundbreaking for Methodist Hospital Expansion
The Methodist Hospital is expanding its space and funding for clinical research. As Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson reports, the hospital will add an entire wing devoted to the research institute.

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With space in the Texas Medical Center at a premium, the Methodist Hospital has managed to find a way to add 420,000 square feet of research space onto their existing site. The Methodist Hospital Research Institute just broke ground and will be two years in the making. Institute Director Dr. Michael Lieberman says the facility will be devoted to research around diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, infectious and neurological diseases.

"I think what this does is allow us to directly translate research done in a research institute into the patient care arena. If you think about it, if you want to do translational and clinical research you need to do it in a hospital environment because simply put, that's where the patients are. And having a research institute that abutts a hospital couldn't be better."

The Hospital's Board of Directors approved funding for the facility along with $100 million dedicated to research. Hospital President and CEO Ron Girotto says the building will house five floors of lab space along with special operating rooms designed just for research which will provide a space to train new surgeons in the latest techniques.

"We have made a commitment to our board of directors that, five years after this building is open, we will be in the top ten in the United States of any academic medical center conducting research."

The Institute will be built on the existing grounds of Methodist Hospital. What is now a valet parking entrance on the east side of the hospital off of Bertner Street will soon become the foundation for the facility. Lieberman says they wanted a seamless connection between the institute and the hospital.

"The external east face will be a wonderful glass space which will allow a transparency between the environment inside and the environment outside. The back space will be concrete block, highly functional, designed by a wonderful lab planner to utilize every square foot of space as effectively as possible."

The institute will also allow Methodist to expand the number of personnel dedicated to research. Lieberman says they hope to house 90 principal investigators in the building, each working on a different aspect of disease. Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Radio News.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...