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Saturday, July 13, 2024

UNC Health names team to oversee $2 billion children’s hospital project

UNC Health has named three leaders who will help oversee the opening of a planned $2 billion children’s hospital.

Andy Willis will lead the work as executive planning and development officer. He’ll be joined by Ian Buchanan as chief project officer and Erin Edwards as vice president of project management.

“There is significant work required to develop, site, and open this hospital by around 2030,” says Dr. Wesley Burks, CEO of UNC Health, in a release. “Initial work will include site selection, working with potential partners, establishment of a governance structure, design scope, service line development and philanthropy.” 

Andy Willis

Burks says the three named will collaborate with him and Dr. Stephanie Davis, physician-and-chief of NC Children’s, as well as others “on this project that is so important for the children and families of North Carolina for generations to come.”

Willis is currently chief external affairs officer for UNC Health Care and UNC School of Medicine. He previously served as the state budget officer under former Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue, who was in office from 2009 to 2013, and as chief operating officer for the Office of State Budget and Management under former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who held the office from 2013 to 2017.

Buchanan has worked for UNC Health for more than 15 years and most recently served as chief care innovation officer responsible for executive leadership of system-wide patient centered care transformation. Edwards, who earned a law degree at UNC Chapel Hill in 2011, has worked for UNC Health more than four years. She previously served as executive director of operations.

UNC Health announced plans for the new hospital in September 2023. North Carolina’s budget has included $320 million toward the project.

UNC Health says this hospital will be the first of its kind in North Carolina, providing the care needed for children without having to leave the state. It will be a facility comparable in clinical and academic scale to any of the top children’s hospitals in the country, according to UNC Health.

A child and adolescent psychiatric hospital, including at least 100 beds, would be in the children’s hospital. The size and scope of the hospital is still to be determined, but UNC Health expects it to have hundreds of beds.

Eventually, the hospital would employ more than 3,000 people, according to UNC Health.

UNC Health reports it needs a site of between 50 and 75 acres to build the hospital in the Triangle region. UNC Health also says it will need to raise $1 billion through corporate philanthropy, foundations and individual donors for the project in addition to some of its own capital reserves.

UNC Health has been looking at building a new children’s hospital for several years and those discussions intensified with state leaders during last year’s budget negotiations.

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