Steadman Clinic, Vail Valley Medical Center unveil $68M expansion
VAIL — When medical scientist Dr. Johnny Huard transferred to the Steadman Philippon Research Institute last year, his big question was, “Can I build a lab here?”
That question was answered on Wednesday when The Steadman Clinic and Steadman Philippon Research Institute cut the ribbon on an expanded, 26,056-square-foot facility at the Vail Valley Medical Center.
“They told me last year ‘we’re going to build you a lab,’ and I said ‘Oh, yeah right,’” Huard said with a laugh on Wednesday. “Well the lab is ready now.”
The enhanced facility is the result of a $68 million investment by Vail Valley Medical Center and includes the new Steadman Clinic as well as the Steadman Philippon Research Institute’s surgical skills lab, robotics lab, regenerative medicine lab, biomotion lab and new administrative offices. The expanded clinic and surgical skills and robotics labs officially came online in January, and the biomotion lab and center for regenerative sports medicine opened this week.
The enhanced space is more than one-third larger than the research institute and the Steadman Clinic’s previous footprint at Vail Valley Medical Center.
Dr. Marc Philippon, after whom the research institute is named, said he was also surprised by the final product.
“It’s amazing to have a world-class clinic, a world-class research institute and a world-class hospital come together and have this available to all of us,” Philippon said. “There’s no way I would have ever dreamed about this.”
Philippon said a lot of people had to come together to make the new facility possible, but specifically thanked Dr. Huard, Vail Valley Medical Center CEO Doris Kirchner, Steadman Clinic and Steadman Philippon Research Institute CEO Dan Drawbaugh, and Vail Valley Medical Center board chairman Mike Shannon.
Shannon said as a local who moved to Vail in the ’80s and raised his children here, he’s excited such a facility exists in the community.
“For all of us who live here full time, we’re just super blessed,” Shannon said. “I just feel proud as a local to be able to have great care here, the healthcare is just as world class as the sporting activities.
‘FOR THE COMMUNITY’
Drawbaugh said the Steadman Clinic now employs 140 team members and the research institute has a staff of about 50 people.
“It’s just a tremendous time right now,” Drawbaugh said. “Just a great group of individuals.”
Kirchner said when she rejoined the medical center in 2008, she was taken aback by the renowned group of surgeons who had joined the Steadman Clinic.
“All of the surgeons believe 100 percent in evidence based medicine, meaning they have years and years of research they put into play to make our lives better, along with pro athletes and anyone else who wants to come and visit these doctors.”
The new fourth-floor facility is lined with signed memorabilia from the many professional athletes who have had surgery at the Steadman Clinic. Tom Brady has a signed jersey thanking the clinic, as well as Pele, Yao Ming, Jacoby Ellsbury and even ballet star Wendy Whelan. Marian Gaborik has a signed jersey on the wall from before his Stanley Cup win, in which he thanks Dr. Philippon for “saving both my hips.”
The Steadman Clinic and the Steadman Philippon Research Institute was founded in Vail in 1988 by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Steadman as the Steadman Sports Medicine Foundation, and went on to influence the practice of orthopedics throughout the world. Dr. Steadman could not attend on Wednesday but was thanked repeatedly by the Steadman Clinic staff for all that he has done to get the clinic and research institute to where it is today.
“We all recognize that this facility is here because of Dr. Steadman’s work,” said Dr. Tom Clanton, a foot and ankle specialist who has been with the clinic since 2009. “This is really his legacy, and it will be here forever, and we can really see the marriage of research with clinical medicine and not only the provision of great care for destination patients who come here, but great care for everyone in the community. This is really for the community.”
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