Drexel University College of Medicine said Thursday that it will launch the Drexel Neurosciences Institute next month.
The move intensifies competition with the Jefferson Neuroscience Network. Leading the new institute will be Erol Veznedaroglu, who was a top neurosurgeon at Jefferson before leaving in 2008 to build a large neurosciences program at Capital Health, which has hospitals in Trenton and Hopewell, N.J.
The Drexel Neurosciences Institute is part of an effort by Veznedaroglu to establish what he called a different kind of network that benefits from university research, but is not shackled to a university hospital.
It's not that Veznedaroglu and his colleagues in Global Neurosciences Institute L.L.C., a physicians group, have been unable to engage in research, but he said he needs what he called a "real university" like Drexel.
"I need to sit down with pharmacotherapists; I need to sit down the biomechanical engineers; I need to sit down with people who understand drug interactions," he said.
Even though Drexel's College of Medicine has a clinical affiliation with Hahnemann University Hospital, the Center City institution owned by Tenet Healthcare Corp. will get some patients, but will not be a "hub" in the academic-medical center sense, which traditionally means that the most complex patients are funneled there.
Instead, even while at Capital, Veznedaroglu pursued plans to provide services at Aria, Lourdes, and Virtua health systems while maintaining a presence at Capital.
Mark Nessel, chief operating officer of Lourdes Health Network, said Lourdes was investing $4 million to $5 million in a Camden facility, including special equipment that can also be used for cardiology patients, to establish a regional center for certain kinds of neurosurgery similar to the one at Capital.
'We're going to provide this service in South Jersey, so patients won't have to go to Pennsylvania," Nessel said.