ASHLAND, Wis. — Nineteen project leaders and hospital officials gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony on July 20 to mark the construction start for the new Northwest Wisconsin Cancer Center on the Memorial Medical Center (MMC) campus in Ashland.
The project is a collaboration between Memorial Medical Center and Essentia Health, a health care provider based in Duluth, Minn. Essentia Health has been providing cancer care services on the MMC campus since 2002. For the past several years, the two health care organizations have been in ongoing discussions about how they could collaborate to bring expanded cancer care services to residents of Ashland and the surrounding area.
“We have done extensive research, and the need for additional services, especially radiation oncology, is significant,” said Jason Douglas, chief executive officer of MMC, in a statement. “We’ve talked with local physicians and everyone agrees that this investment will greatly benefit cancer patients from our region who will no longer have to drive hundreds of miles to get the services they need.”
Boldt Construction of St. Louis has been chosen as contractor for the project with Kahler Slater of Milwaukee serving as architect.
The new cancer center will offer many of the same services provided at Essentia’s Cancer Center in Duluth, Minn., including infusion therapy, radiation therapy and clinical trials as well as the STAR Cancer Rehabilitation Program, a survivorship program and educational resource center.
The new facility will be housed in a brand new building that will be located adjacent to MMC and Essentia Health-Ashland Clinic. Oncologist Dr. Mihailo Lalich told the Ashland Daily Press that when the idea was first conceived to create an advanced cancer treatment center, the idea was to create a place that would eliminate the disruption caused by sometimes-daily trips to Duluth.
Dr. Mihailo Lalich, who moved to the region last year and has been providing cancer care in Ashland, Hayward and Spooner, will serve as the medical director.
“This is a highly specialized project because the building will house linear accelerators, but we hope to take full advantage of our local workforce,” Douglas said in a statement.