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Health Notes: Novartis unveils global data center in Fort Worth

🕐 7 min read

Swiss health care company Novartis opened its newest global data center Sept. 29 at its Alcon eye care division headquarters in Fort Worth.

One of four Novartis data centers – two are in Switzerland and one in New Jersey – the new 37,000-square-foot facility is the main data host location for the Americas. The environmentally sustainable building exceeds LEED Silver and American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers standards.

Construction on the $53 million facility began July 1, 2014, and the center opened on time and within budget, according to Rob James, Novartis chief information officer.

“Data is the lifeblood of Novartis,” James said. “After a thorough evaluation of several global sites, Fort Worth, Texas, offered Novartis the most ideal location for this new center. We thank the city of Fort Worth for their collaboration in helping this center come to fruition and are pleased to establish the center in the community where Alcon is headquartered.”

Acquired by Novartis in 2011, Alcon employs about 4,400 employees in Fort Worth and 25,000 worldwide.

“Fort Worth is becoming quite a center for data,” said Mayor Betsy Price. “Novartis and Alcon continue to be strong partners with Fort Worth and will continue to be leaders.”



Weatherford’s first free-standing inpatient rehabilitation hospital officially opened Sept. 22 with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The new 27,000-square-foot Weatherford Rehabilitation Hospital, — 2 photos — owned and operated by Maxim Management Group of Texas, adds 26 beds to the Maxim network and is accredited by the Joint Commission. It offers comprehensive medical rehabilitation services including physical, occupational, respiratory and speech therapy. Patients also can receive care for strokes, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and amputations. The facility is located less than half a mile from Weatherford Regional Medical Center and 29 miles from Fort Worth.

“We have helped to expand the continuum of care available to seniors in Weatherford, and we are pleased to help seniors stay local,” said Mark J. Harris, CEO of Maxim Management Group. “With the growing population of seniors who are retired or on the verge of retirement, building a facility like this was critical to ensuring that these seniors’ needs are met.”

Maxim worked with architects at Corgan Associates and lenders at Green Bank.



Obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Sara Northrop recently performed the first single-site robotic hysterectomy at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center.

The da Vinci Surgical System, as the robotic surgery is known, uses a minimally invasive approach resulting in less pain, almost no scars and a shorter hospital stay.

“Two things that are typically important to patients are pain and scarring,” Northrop said. “The single-site robotic surgery minimizes these concerns as much as possible and helps to ease patient anxiety that accompanies surgery.”

In addition to gynecological procedures, surgeons at Methodist Mansfield are using the da Vinci system to perform other complex surgeries, including gallbladder removal and colon and urological procedures.



Katherine Sanchez, — photo — assistant professor in the University of Texas at Arlington School of Social Work, won a nearly $400,000, three-year research grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities Academic Research Enhancement Awards program.

Sanchez hopes to reduce mental health disparities among various Hispanic populations through integrated health care and culturally adapted depression education. She is taking a fotonovela, a popular comic-book style education tool that uses culturally sensitive images, to overcome the barriers to treatment and encourage Hispanic patients to seek care.

In addition, a National Science Found grant went to Dan Popa, – photo – a UT Arlington associate professor in the Electrical Engineering Department, to work with the College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Texas Health Resources and the UT Arlington Research Institute (UTARI) to build a robotic nurse.

Popa won a $999,946 NSF Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity grant to create a robotic nurse that will help nurses and other health care providers perform the more routine daily duties, such as sitting with a patient who is trying to get out of bed and walking a patient.

The design process will take a year and will involve collaboration with two robotics companies – RE2 Inc. in Pittsburgh, Pa., and Qinetic-North American in Waltham, Mass. The testing phase of the three-year project will take place at UTARI and UT Arlington’s Smart Hospital. The robot eventually will be tested in THR’s hospitals.

“We believe there is a big market for this kind of robot to assist nurses,” Popa said. “The robot isn’t designed to replace nurses, just to help make them more productive.”



After serving Baylor All Saints Medical Center Fort Worth in a variety of leadership roles from 1989 to 2012, Janice Whitmire has returned to the hospital as its new chief operating officer.

In her new role, Whitmire will oversee ancillary, support services and strategic service line growth in addition to handling other responsibilities.

For the past three years, she was corporate vice president of transplant services at the Baylor Annette C. & Harold C. Simmons Transplant Institute. This is the integration of transplants services at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas and Baylor All Saints Fort Worth.

Whitmire led the planning team for the construction and 2008 opening of the Paul and Judy Andrews Women’s Hospital at Baylor All Saints. From 2002-2007 she was vice president of support services for Baylor Health Care System and prior to that she was vice president of human resources for All Saints Health Care System.


Marketing executive Charlotte “Carrie” Walsh – photo — has been named senior vice president of marketing at Dallas-based Susan G. Komen, the world’s largest breast cancer organization.

Walsh will lead Komen’s marketing, brand, digital, events and communications organizations.

She most recently was chief marketing officer, U.S., of YUM! Brands/Pizza Hut, which she joined in 2012 as vice president of national marketing. Walsh started her career in 2003 as a marketing intern at PepsiCo/Frito-Lay, where she advanced through the ranks to senior director in 2012.


The 2015 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of North Texas 5k walk is slated to begin at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 24 on the campus of the University of Texas at Arlington.

The walk is open to the public, and teams can register for free online at MakingStridesWalk.org/North Texas.

The American Cancer Society created Making Strides Against Breast Cancer community walks in 1993 to build awareness and generate funds to fight the disease. Since then, some 10 million walkers have collected more than $594 million.

Last year, nearly 4,000 walkers in North Texas raised more than $315,000.

For information about the North Texas walk, contact Casey Miller at 817-821-7745 or casey.miller@cancer.org.



ER Centers of America Inc. (ERCA), a privately held business operating emergency and urgent care centers in Dallas and Lubbock, has agreed to be acquired by ER Holdings, also a privately owned operator of emergency and urgent care centers.

ERCA would become a wholly owned subsidiary of ER Holdings and continue to operate under its current management when the transaction is complete, which is expected in October.

ER Holdings is controlled by the same investment group as Family ER + Urgent Care and is in the business of acquiring both freestanding emergency centers and urgent care centers.

Family ER + Urgent Care has two locations, one in Frisco and one in Irving, and offers 24-hour emergency care.

“This industry is poised for tremendous growth, and we are positioned to grow with it,” said Scott Pickett, CEO of Family ER + Urgent Care. “Through the acquisition of ERCA, we would be able to broaden our capacity to provide unscheduled medical care, emergency and urgent care services to all patients in the D-FW and Lubbock communities.”

ER Centers of America was founded in 2008 by Dr. Michael Kutsen and John McGee, COO of ERCA.

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