Inova Health’s Schar Cancer Institute becomes an instant landmark for health care and research in Fairfax County

Fairfax County, Virginia – The Inova Health System will usher in a new level of medical treatment and patient care when the Inova Schar Cancer Institute opens to patients May 13 on its Merrifield campus.

“The Schar Cancer Center raises the already-high level of health-care facilities in Fairfax County,” said Catherine W. Riley, interim president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA). “As part of the Inova Center for Personalized Health it can make Fairfax County a destination for world-class research and clinical work.”

Dedication ceremonies took place Wednesday for the $150 million state-of-the-art center for care and research that is anchoring the 117-acre Inova campus, fulfilling a vision that began with the acquisition of the former Exxon Mobil site. The institute was made possible, in part, by a $50 million contribution from Dwight Schar and wife Martha, whose legacy will extend beyond Fairfax County-based NVR home builders.

Members of the Schar family were joined by dignitaries, including U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy and wife Marcelle, political commentator Cokie Roberts, and Lara Hopewell, a local hockey mom-turned-crusader for cancer research — all cancer survivors. Also participating in the ceremonies were U.S. Congressman Jerry Connolly, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova and Inova CEO Dr. Stephen Jones.

Additionally, the ceremonies featured more than 100 cancer patients and their family members, who became the first to walk through the front door of the newly-dedicated facility.

“We are so lucky in Fairfax County to have so many wonderful assets that make the county the most fantastic place to live, to work and to play – and to be able to be treated when we have some type of illness or something that happens in our family,” said Bulova, who presented a proclamation from the Board of Supervisors congratulating Inova.

“We are so fortunate in Fairfax County to have access to such world class medical care and treatment. We have amazing facilities, doctors and cutting-edge technologies that are right here, literally in our own backyard, and that is so incredibly valuable.”

Riley echoed the importance of having a first-class cancer facility in the county, offering residents the highest quality care without requiring them to travel, often hundreds of miles for treatment. She also emphasized the importance of the research that will take place at the facility, creating a new horizon in the diversification of Fairfax County’s workforce.

“We’re very excited about the research and development aspect of the Schar Institute and the ways in which it will help diversify our local economy,” Riley said. “It will attract new doctors and scientists. In partnership with facilities like the University of Virginia Medical School, those researchers will be applying for new grants and developing the kinds of programs that will make Fairfax County known as a medical research and development center.”

During Wednesday’s dedication, Jones announced that Dr. John Deeken, who had been serving as acting president of the Inova Schar Cancer Institute, had been named permanently to the president’s role. Deeken said the institute would continue stress its “patient-first” philosophy, building on its ability to provide one-stop care through teams of doctors, nurses, therapists, researchers and specialized counselors.

“The vision and the spirit is that the patient is at the center of everything we do,” said Deeken, who previously served as COO of the Inova Translational Medicine Institute. “Fundamentally, that’s the difference in the model of care at Inova.

“This is the culmination of years of effort in planning and design and recruiting – to make real what we’d hoped to have for all the patients in Northern Virginia, which is expert care close to home. Nobody in Northern Virginia should think they need to go to Houston, New York or Baltimore to get world-class cancer care. We have it right here.”

Time magazine called Fairfax County “one of the great economic success stories of our time.” Business growth and innovation help Fairfax County fund the nation’s top-rated school system and other public services that contribute to the quality of life of residents. Fairfax County offers businesses a state-of-the-art telecommunications infrastructure, access to global markets through Washington Dulles International Airport, a vibrant investment capital community and a highly skilled, well-educated workforce.

The award-winning Fairfax County Economic Development Authority promotes Fairfax County as a business and technology center. The FCEDA offers site location and business development assistance, and connections with county and state government agencies, to help companies locate and expand in Fairfax County. In addition to its headquarters in Tysons, Fairfax County’s largest business district, the FCEDA maintains marketing offices in six important global business centers: Bangalore, Berlin, London, Los Angeles, Seoul and Tel Aviv. Follow the FCEDA on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.