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Rising, at a Pivotal Moment

Hospital News

Rising, at a Pivotal Moment

How Mass General philanthropists Phillip and Susan Ragon are shaping the future of health care.

by
Paul Goldsmith
March 31, 2023

For more than 200 years, as the needs of our patients and community have grown, Massachusetts General Hospital has grown. Whether that growth comes in the form of a new facility, such as the Lunder Building, which opened in 2011, or through long-term improvements to an existing one, such as the recent renovations of the Carol and James Herscot Building, transformational capital projects are only possible because of the steadfast support of our donors.

Now, on the precipice of a new era of personalized medicine, Mass General is growing again. Years in the planning, a revolutionary new clinical building now under construction on Cambridge Street is designed to meet the ever-growing demand for our unparalleled care and services while facilitating collaborative breakthroughs in research. And, once again, our donors are making it possible.

Today, Mass General is thrilled to share that we have named our new building: The Phillip and Susan Ragon Building.

“It is an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to help those who have dedicated their lives to helping others … This building will house an enormously brilliant group of clinicians and researchers who are dedicated to ending disease and transforming human health.”

Phillip Ragon

Putting a Name to the Space

Two steadfast and visionary Mass General supporters — Phillip and Susan Ragon — have made a monumental contribution toward the construction of our new facility on Cambridge Street, which will now be named the Phillip and Susan Ragon Building.

The Ragons’ gift to the building continues their philanthropic commitment to addressing challenging health problems of global importance. Signers of the Giving Pledge — a movement of philanthropists who commit to giving the majority of their wealth to charitable causes, either during their lifetimes or in their wills — the Ragons previously funded the creation of the collaborative Ragon Institute of Mass General, MIT and Harvard. They have made several other large gifts to underwrite the Institute’s work, through which a highly promising global HIV/AIDS vaccine efficacy trial is now underway as well as projects in other areas that harness the human immune system to prevent and cure disease. The Ragons’ philanthropy has already transformed the landscape of translational research into human disease, and their new gift will now transform the way that Mass General cares for patients.

“This building will offer 482 single-bed rooms. The privacy, dignity and focus on wellness that this facility will provide will be immensely helpful to patient recovery.”

Susan Ragon

“It is an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to help those who have dedicated their lives to helping others,” says Phillip Ragon. “For more than 200 years, people in desperate situations have been saying to Mass General, ‘Please help me.’ I feel it is now our turn to help the doctors, nurses and staff at Mass General — who are creating the future of health care and advancing the health of the communities they serve — by supporting this new state-of-the-art facility. This building will house an enormously brilliant group of clinicians and researchers who are dedicated to ending disease and transforming human health.”

Adds Susan Ragon, “Having recently received medical care at Mass General myself and having been a volunteer leader and supporter of the hospital, I can say that I am extremely grateful that so many talented caregivers will have a critical new tool as they help their patients. This building will offer 482 single-bed rooms. The privacy, dignity and focus on wellness that this facility will provide will be immensely helpful to patient recovery. The very best in clinical care, paired with a facility that is bright, warm and technologically sophisticated will transform the healing process to a new level for all of Mass General’s patients.”

It Takes One Extraordinary Village

In addition to the Ragons’ support, three other recent major gifts have bolstered progress on the historic building — which, upon completion in 2027, will become the hospital’s largest and most visible facility and which will serve as Mass General’s new front door to the local and global community.

  • The name “Blum” is familiar to many Mass General patients and families, thanks to sisters Betty Ann Blum and Marjorie Blum, who have made gifts in memory of their parents to name spaces throughout campus: the Maxwell & Eleanor Blum Patient and Family Learning Center, Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Room and the Maxwell and Eleanor Blum Floors in the Lunder and Yawkey Buildings. Continuing that family tradition, the Blums recently made a gift to support multiple hospital priorities, including the new building, naming the prominent Maxwell and Eleanor Blum Grand Stair in the ground-floor arcade, which will serve as the foyer to the new front door of Mass General’s campus.
  • Visionary philanthropists Arthur, Sandra and Sarah Irving have been steadfast supporters of Mass General for nearly 30 years. Strong proponents of cancer research, education and improving the lives of patients and families, the Arthur and Sandra Irving Foundation recently made a gift to support the creation of a specialized 24-hour, cancer-specific urgent care center for Cancer Center patients. The Sandra Irving Center for Urgent Cancer Care — which will be part of the Mass General Cancer Center and located within the Cancer Center’s new home in the Phillip and Susan Ragon Building — will provide a convenient and cancer-specific alternative to the hospital’s Emergency Department for complications and urgent care needs that arise during cancer care. The Sandra Irving Center for Urgent Cancer Care will provide a seamless patient experience, keeping all care within the Mass General Cancer Center and within a patient’s own familiar care team.
  • Longtime donors Elizabeth and Michael Ruane made a gift to name the West Lobby in the new Cancer Center tower. In addition to their naming gift, Mr. and Mrs. Ruane — who previously established the Elizabeth and Michael Ruane Center for Endocrine Tumors at Mass General Cancer Center — also made a second gift to establish the Elizabeth and Michael Ruane Fund for Neuroendocrine Tumors, which supports neuroendocrine tumor research at the Cancer Center.

“Our donors have strengthened our infrastructure in the past and will continue to serve as the engine behind our evolution, behind our ability to improve the health of our patients now — and for the next 200 years.”

David F. M. Brown, MD

Laying the Groundwork

“This building is central to our ability to remain the Mass General we are today for many decades to come. After our first facility, the Bulfinch Building, this will be the most important building we construct in our history,” says Mass General President David F. M. Brown, MD. “Our donors have strengthened our infrastructure in the past and will continue to serve as the engine behind our evolution, behind our ability to improve the health of our patients now — and for the next 200 years.”

Capital gifts of this kind have an important impact on the hospital at large, the construction of the historic Phillip and Susan Ragon Building and on the care Mass General provides.

But the impact made possible by this kind of visionary generosity is about more than just a clinical building. With the help of these donors, and donors at all levels, from all of our communities, Mass General is rising at this pivotal moment in medicine and laying the groundwork for the next chapter — of discoveries, treatments and caregivers that will shape health care around the world today, tomorrow and for decades to come.

To make a gift to support the new building or to learn more, please contact us.