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UCI Health receives key donation for new advanced care center

A $20 million donation will support a new outpatient care facility for the community next to UC Irvine’s main campus.

Joe C. Wen, founder and president of Cypress-based Sakura Paper, has made the largest contribution by a donor under age 50 in UCI Health’s history – a financial boost for the already under construction, five-story, 168,000-square-foot advanced care center.

The facility will be named the Joe C. Wen & Family Center for Advanced Care at UCI Health–Irvine. It is described as a “one-stop shop” for adult and pediatric specialty care, urgent care and other lab services.

Expected to open in the summer of 2023, the advanced care center is the first of three new medical facilities that will form the $1.3 billion UCI Health-Irvine complex approved by UC Regents in 2021. A dual comprehensive cancer center and ambulatory care center will follow in late 2023, then an acute-care hospital with an emergency room in 2025.

“UCI Health transforms lives everyday thanks to its leading-edge academic research, advanced medical facilities, and – most importantly – passionate and top-notch medical professionals,” Wen said in a statement. “There’s no doubt that the new medical center in Irvine will have a tremendously positive impact on the community. My family members and I are honored and humbled to be able to help.”

UCI Health CEO Chad Lefteris says the new health complex in Irvine is not replacing the UCI Medical Center in Orange, but is extending the university’s health offerings to more of Orange County.

“(Orange) will always be our hub,” Lefteris said of the 417-bed regional trauma center. “I like to say we’re coming back to our roots here.”

The advanced care center will save coastal and south county residents a drive up the 5 Freeway, while more broadly improving the quality and accessibility of their care, he said.

“You have enough to be worried about when you or a loved one has complex needs, (so) we’re bringing our experts to you,” Lefteris said.

Leveraging its assets as the only academic health system in the county, UCI Health looks forward to bringing its medical services in closer proximity to its cutting-edge research labs, Lefteris said. This way, patients will receive the latest and greatest treatments possible.

Responding to recent data on community needs, the Wen Center for Advanced Care will specialize in treatment for children’s chronic conditions and neurodevelopmental disorders. In particular, it will feature an autism center accessible by its own entrance and parking structure reserved for its clients.

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