It has taken a long time to get here, but Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center is open for patients. Just as the inauguration 53 years ago of the original Center for Health Sciences launched UCLA on a trajectory that would establish it among the finest medical centers in the world – ranked No. 3 in the country by U.S.News & World Report and No. 1 for 19 straight years in the western United States – the opening of this hospital for the 21st century will carry us forward and elevate us to even greater heights.
But a building is more than just what we see when we look at it from the outside. It is built upon a strong foundation and has a hidden internal framework that supports and gives strength to the edifice. That framework is more than steel and cement; it is the vision of the people who invested so much of themselves to bring it to fruition. It takes a human touch to successfully carry off something like this, to build an enduring structure that will serve Los Angeles, the state and, in fact, the nation and world well into this new century. For our patients, this medical center, our new home, will be a haven where each one of them, rich or poor, will receive the absolute best care, delivered by the absolute best people, in an environment that emphasizes healing, compassion, respect and family-centeredness. For our physicians, researchers and staff, it will be a milieu where they will have the resources to practice their skills to the very best of the their abilities. For our students, it will be a classroom where they will learn both the science and the art of caring for their fellow human beings.
While all that has been accomplished – and all that we imagine will be accomplished in the years to come – makes us feel both proud and humble, our work is not done, and the coming years will see even more changes. Many people ask what will become of our “old” hospital. It will be seismically updated and converted to space for the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. In addition, we plan to build beautiful new spaces and expanded resources for our researchers and teachers and healthcare partners on campus.
These new facilities, with Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center as the cornerstone, will have a powerful impact on patient care, research and education. More than it is already, UCLA will be a magnet for the best talent – the top practitioners, the most-brilliant researchers and the brightest students. People are going to want to be a part of this. They will want to practice here, to learn here, to refer patients here.
With the opening of Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, we usher in a new and exciting future for UCLA and for medicine.
Gerald S. Levey, M.D.
Vice Chancellor, UCLAMedical Sciences
Dean, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA