News » GW Hospital Celebrates Launch of Helipad

GW Hospital Celebrates Launch of Helipad

A historic milestone for the George Washington University (GW), GW Hospital, and the Washington, D.C., community was achieved on Nov. 8 with the opening of a helipad on the hospital’s roof, expanding access to lifesaving care in the region.

“As a designated Level 1 Trauma Center and a designated Comprehensive Stroke Center, we are proud to offer care for some of the most critically ill and severely injured,” Kim Russo, MBA, CEO of the GW Hospital, said while standing atop the GW Hospital on the chilly fall morning. “This helipad will allow us to provide our patients with access to this critical level of care, which will help prevent unnecessary deaths in our region. In an emergent situation, we all know that every minute matters. As our region continues to grow, this new development at GW Hospital will help us meet the needs of individuals throughout the region.”

Russo thanked all the people and organizations who helped to make the helipad possible, including patients and former patients’ loved ones, the local Foggy Bottom neighborhood commission, government officials, clinical partners at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) and the GW Medical Faculty Associates (GW MFA), and many more.

Jeffrey Akman, MD ’81, RESD ’85, vice president of health affairs, Walter A. Bloedorn Professor of Administrative Medicine, and dean of SMHS, also spoke to the small crowd on the helipad overlooking Ross Hall and the Foggy Bottom community.

“It was under GW Hospital CEO Kim Russo’s determined leadership that this project truly took flight, so Kim to you and to your entire leadership team, congratulations for your unwavering commitment and resolve in leading the George Washington University Hospital to a new level of clinical excellence,” he said. 

Akman added that SMHS, as the oldest medical school in Washington, D.C., has been generating the physician and health care workforce for the city and region for almost 200 years, and the addition of the helipad will “enhance the education and training of all of our learners, including our residents and fellows, under the guidance and mentorship of our world-class faculty.”

In addition to Akman and Russo, Robert Kelly, MD, CEO of the GW MFA, also offered words of praise and thanks to all who were involved in the creation of the helipad. 

“On behalf of all the physicians and, quite frankly, all the patients in the DMV, this is a huge breakthrough,” he said.

Jonathan Reiner, MD, director of the cardiac catheterization laboratories and professor of medicine at SMHS, and Babak Sarani, MD, chief of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery at GW Hospital and associate professor of surgery at SMHS, also spoke during the event, both emphasizing the need and importance of the helipad.

At the end of the ceremony, a ribbon was cut by Russo with the help of LaQuandra S. Nesbitt, MD, MPH, director of the District of Columbia Department of Health, and Ward 7 Councilmember Vincent Gay, and others to applause, a helicopter waited in the wings behind them, ready for its first critical flight.