Residents of Omaha and those who live near the city benefit from being in the center of a regional hub for medical services.
They have access to excellent care, and numerous options abound. We are blessed.
The $370 million project that’s about to rise over Saddle Creek Road will bring a new level of patient care and status to the community.
Most major cancer centers are clustered on the coasts, in big cities. The arrival of our own center hints that it might be time to reassess Omaha and how residents view their city. It is a growing force.
Thanks to the public investment of $90 million and an abundance of civic-minded and generous donors, the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center at the University of Nebraska Medical Center will add much to the city over time, including:
>> A facility that will help integrate the science of cancer with the treatment of cancer by placing all the cancer doctors, researchers and their labs, and inpatient beds for cancer patients, in connected buildings. Such consolidation is key, UNMC officials say, as they work to build the facility into a comprehensive cancer center. That’s a higher-level designation by the National Cancer Institute, one enjoyed by 41 national stalwarts, such as the Mayo Clinic, M.D. Anderson and Sloan Kettering.
>> More than 1,200 long-term jobs that will pay well above the Midlands’ norm, plus more than 3,000 additional jobs that will be needed to serve the needs of researchers, doctors and staff, many of them newcomers. That is a vital infusion of talent, taxpayers and paychecks.
>> An estimated annual economic impact of more than $530 million. Think in terms of adding a major employer with significant purchasing power, and consider the fact that this impact is perpetual and likely to grow over time with additional investment.
>> The research heft of 98 new labs devoted to fighting cancer of the lung, breast, prostate, brain, intestinal tract, pancreas and more.
>> A 108-bed inpatient hospital, plus a multidisciplinary outpatient area that will include clinics, radiation therapy and collaborative treatment and diagnostics.
When completed, the Buffett Cancer Center will be the largest public-private partnership ever undertaken in Nebraska, a state with a proud tradition of doing good work together. The scale of the project is a credit to key fundraisers Mike and Gail Yanney and to UNMC Chancellor Harold Maurer.
Even as UNMC and the University of Nebraska Foundation set new goals to raise money to stock those buildings with world-class faculty, equipment and research, it is important to recognize the generosity and civic-mindedness of donors, including Pamela Bartling Buffett, the widow of Fred. C. “Fritz” Buffett; C.L. Werner, and Suzanne and Walter Scott. A total of 17 donors have given more than $1 million each.
Their hard work and contributions made this center possible. But the most important number to consider has no dollar sign beside it: 440-plus.
That’s how many Nebraskans per 100,000 residents are diagnosed with cancer each year, according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. That’s the pool of Nebraskans who might one day need the services of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center.
Think of the thousands of lives those patients touch. It’s a mom who runs marathons but felt a lump in her breast. It’s a dad who’s never late to work but found himself with a cough that wouldn’t go away. It’s a child who would rather play doctor than deal with brain cancer.
They are the people who can celebrate the most today, because more help is coming.