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Children's National Health System Accepts Walter Reed Property

Creates landmark expansion of groundbreaking research programs

WASHINGTON, DC – Children’s National Health System today signed an agreement with the U.S. Army to accept the transfer of nearly 12 acres from the Walter Reed property in Northwest Washington, D.C.

“We are grateful for the generosity and support of the U.S. Army that made this possible,” says Kurt Newman, MD, president and CEO, Children’s National. “Just like us, Walter Reed is steeped in D.C. history and has a long legacy of research that’s benefited the region, the nation and the world. We want to uphold that legacy.”

The transfer represents a milestone in the 146-year history of Children’s National as it will allow meaningful expansion of its life-saving pediatric research in such areas as neuroscience, genetics, clinical and translational science, and cancer and immunology. The Army is transferring the parcel, which includes the former Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, because of the Children’s National pediatric public health mission and non-profit status.

“The transfer to Children’s National Health System is a four-way win.  It’s a win for the Army, which completes the BRAC action and saves us money on caretaker expenses.  It’s a win for Children’s National and its patients. It’s a win for the District of Columbia, which will facilitate the job-creating expansion of an important high tech activity that is compatible with its own planned redevelopment activities at Walter Reed. And it is even a win for the State Department, which allows it to concentrate its limited resources on the most easily developable portions of Walter Reed which the Army transferred to them last year,” notes Paul D. Cramer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Housing and Partnerships.

“We are proud to offer world-class health care that is befitting of our world-class city,” Dr. Newman says. “This facility will allow us to significantly expand the reach of our care, the scope of our research and our opportunities to help children grow up stronger.”

Already among the top seven pediatric institutions in funding from the National Institutes of Health, Children’s National is well positioned for continued growth and expanded research collaboration with the region’s major universities. 

“We are excited to join the historic ranks of occupants at Walter Reed’s campus – and to build on their legacy with the very best of our research and innovation enterprise.  This new space will support our continuing pursuit of breakthroughs and discoveries that expand the frontiers of pediatric medicine,” notes Michael Williams, Chairman of the Board, Children’s National.

The next step will be for the health system to put together a team of architects, engineers, researchers and other experts to create a vision for the development of the facilities and programs. With its proximity to NIH, the FDA, leading universities and others, this site represents an outstanding location to pursue innovative work and create a world-class research hub.

“Washington is emerging as a singular place where research and innovation can happen right at the doorstep of national regulation and policy,” says Mark Batshaw, MD, executive vice president and director of Children’s Research Institute. “With this acquisition, we’re seizing an incredible opportunity to make sure that advances in children’s health are at the center of our city’s transformation into a hub for nationally relevant science and technology.”

The signing ceremony, which took place in the atrium of Children’s National, was attended by Paul Cramer, Eleanor Holmes Norton, U.S. Congresswoman for the District of Columbia, and Brandon Todd, District of Columbia Ward 4 Councilmember, among others.

At the event Dr. Newman cited the “storied legacy” of the former Walter Reed campus, where great discoveries were made and where several generations of soldiers received medical treatment and hospital care. The former military facility, founded in 1909, was named for Major Walter Reed, the lead researcher who discovered that yellow fever is transmitted by mosquitoes. During World Wars I and II and the Korean and Vietnam Wars, tens of thousands of active duty and retired soldiers were treated on its campus. President Dwight Eisenhower dedicated one of the buildings on the Children’s National acreage. The campus closed in 2011 under the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission process.

The 11.85-acre parcel, which nearly doubles the footprint of Children’s National in Washington, includes:

  • The former Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, a major research facility that is about 348,000 square feet. In operation as recently as about 5 years ago, it was dedicated by President Eisenhower.
  • A conference center and auditorium that can support the health system’s educational mission.
  • A 31,000 square feet facility most recently used as a clinic to treat Army soldiers on an outpatient basis.
  • An above ground parking garage. 

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