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The World’s Kindest Cancer Center. Really?

That’s right – on the cover of Duke Medicine’s Connect magazine the institution proclaims that its new cancer institute is the “world’s kindest.” Interesting. Duke has always owned the high tech/advanced medicine position in the region, hands down. They are a national and international powerhouse. But through its marketing Duke has continually worked to be perceived as a high touch institution. I understand that the high touch position feels good and appears to represent an opportunity to capture a greater share of the market from competitors in the region, but does it work for Duke Medicine? Does it work in this case because this is a cancer hospital (rather than a neurosciences hospital or heart hospital)? What do you think of the “world’s kindest cancer center” brand positioning, particularly given this is Duke we’re talking about? Does the positioning resonate with you? I have trouble believing that they are kinder at Duke than they are the North Carolina Cancer Hospital or the Rex Cancer Center. What I do expect to find at Duke is an amazing array of clinical trials that promise access to novel therapies, greater experience with more obscure forms of cancer, and a broader range of expertise. And now, they have an incredible new home for the Duke cancer program that should improve the patient experience.

I’m extremely fortunate to live in Durham, North Carolina, where I fall directly in the service areas of both Duke Medicine and UNC Health Care, both offering extraordinary healthcare including leading cancer programs. It was just a few years ago that UNC opened its new North Carolina Cancer Hospital. Now Duke, not to be outdone by its neighbor down the street (12 miles apart), has launched its own seven story, 267,000 square foot cancer hospital. (See my earlier post titled Duke Health System Announces Major Expansion.) The original budget for the project was $235 million. The facility includes 123 clinical exam rooms, 73 infusion stations, and 3 new linear accelerators.

Among the many things I love about this new cancer hospital is that it was designed to achieve LEED Silver status. It has a green roof, was built with sustainable materials, and energy-efficient mechanical systems. There’s also an amazing Quiet Room offering a calm environment for personal reflection and meditation. The Quiet Room is also home to daily journaling, yoga and mind-body workshops. As a fan of the healing power of the labyrinth, I’m intrigued by the cancer center’s Healing Path – designed to promote quiet contemplation. Embedded in the floor of the ground floor of the center, it features inspired quotes suggested by patients, families, faculty and staff. This is the kind of healing environment that all patients (and their families) deserve.

To download the latest edition of Duke Medicine Connect, go to

2 comments on “The World’s Kindest Cancer Center. Really?

  1. Pingback: Digital Airport Ads for Competing Cancer Centers « The Healthcare Marketer

  2. Pingback: Duke Cancer Center’s New Brand Advertising « Health Care and Branding

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