Grady’s Ponce Cen­ter cel­e­brates 25th an­niver­sary

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On Nov. 30, gov­ern­ment, business and med­i­cal lead­ers came to­gether to cel­e­brate 25 years of treat­ing pa­tients and con­duct­ing re­search at Grady Health Sys­tem’s Ponce de Leon Cen­ter.

Known as the Ponce Cen­ter, the fa­cil­ity houses one of the nation’s largest and most com­pre­hen­sive pro­grams for the treat­ment of ad­vanced HIV and AIDS and is part of the Emory Cen­ter for AIDS Re­search. Thurs­day’s event also rec­og­nized the Fulton County Com­mis­sion, DeKalb County Com­mis­sion and oth­ers who have re­cently com­mit­ted fund­ing to­wards a planned $23 mil­lion ren­o­va­tion and ex­pan­sion.

“When this fa­cil­ity opened nearly 25 years ago, no one knew what the fu­ture would hold. What was clear was that there were peo­ple who needed com­pas­sion­ate med­i­cal care and a com­mit­ment to iden­ti­fy­ing ways for them to live with what was then a new dis­ease,” said John Hau­pert, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the Grady Health Sys­tem, in a press re­lease. “While we should all be proud of the progress we have made, AIDS re­mains a grow­ing epi­demic, es­pe­cially here in At­lanta, which makes the mod­ern­iza­tion of this fa­cil­ity even more im­por­tant.”

Grady an­nounced its ren­o­va­tion plans for the Ponce Cen­ter ear­lier this year as part of a cap­i­tal cam­paign that will also fund the con­struc­tion of a new Cen­ter for Ad­vanced Sur­gi­cal Ser­vices. Since that time, both the Fulton County Com­mis­sion and DeKalb County Com­mis­sion voted unan­i­mously to pro­vide half of the fund­ing needed to com­plete both projects. Gilead Sciences, Inc., a long­time part­ner of Grady with re­gard to HIV and AIDS, made the lead cor­po­rate gift to­wards the Ponce Cen­ter project.

“Our com­pany is com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions to help those liv­ing with HIV and AIDS and to ul­ti­mately find­ing a cure,” said Dr. Trevor Hawkins, se­nior di­rec­tor of med­i­cal af­fairs, Gilead Sciences. “The work be­ing done at fa­cil­i­ties like the Ponce Cen­ter is crit­i­cal not only to the treat­ment of cur­rent pa­tients but also to stem­ming the epi­demic. We look for­ward to see­ing what we can achieve through our con­tin­ued part­ner­ship.”

The pro­gram closed with an an­nounce­ment by Dr. Car­los del Rio, co-di­rec­tor of the Emory Cen­ter for AIDS Re­search, that the Emory Med­i­cal Care Foun­da­tion would

Gov­ern­ment, business and med­i­cal lead­ers cel­e­brated the 25th an­niver­sary of Grady Health Sys­tem’s Ponce de Leon Cen­ter on Nov. 30. (Cour­tesy photo)

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