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GMC holds grand opening for new breast center

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman A large crowd gathers at the 6th Annual Cancer Survivor Celebration at the Grand Opening of the Gwinnett Breast Center on Tuesday evening in Lawrenceville.

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman A large crowd gathers at the 6th Annual Cancer Survivor Celebration at the Grand Opening of the Gwinnett Breast Center on Tuesday evening in Lawrenceville.

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Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Michelle Salvemini-Proby, manager of imaging services at the Gwinnett Breast Center, gives a tour during the grand opening celebration on Tuesday evening.

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Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Kimberly Hutcherson, a doctor at the Gwinnett Medical Center and also a cancer survivor, gives her own testimonial on Tuesday evening during the 6th Annual Cancer Survivor Celebration.

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Serene greens and cool blues color the walls in spacious waiting rooms and lobbies, a warm robe and warmer cappuccino awaiting patients. Soothing music welcomes them in as they await any number of screening, diagnostic or procedural appointments.

Gwinnett Medical Center's brand new breast center opened its doors to patients more than a month ago, but hospital officials held its formal grand opening Tuesday evening in unison with a celebration of breast cancer survivors.

"I think that if any of you have been associated with anybody with cancer, you know why we're doing this," hospital CEO Phil Wolfe said to a crowd gathered for the event. "We want to transform health care so that we can detect it earlier, and so that we can save more lives and we can have more survivors."

Tuesday offered the public its first real glimpse at GMC's new comprehensive center, one it envisioned as having a spa-like atmosphere. It was a vision achieved through separate screening, diagnostic and procedural wings (and accompanying waiting rooms), improved and more plentiful technology and an overall more personalized experience for patients.

Along with multiple doctors, it's all under one roof but connected to the main hospital for patient convenience and privacy.

"I came here in 1999 and we were nowhere near where we are today," said Dr. Kimberly Hutcherson, a radiologist at GMC and breast cancer survivor herself.

"Having this in this beautiful, state-of-the-art, technologically advanced center is just absolutely fabulous. And we are just absolutely thrilled to have it all encompassed under one roof."

The goal is also to provide better, faster care at the center certified by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers.

"I can manage it better, budget it better, the flow is better," said Michelle Salvemini-Proby, the manager of the Gwinnett Breast Center. "The teamwork has totally changed ... The scheduling is so much better because we're all here together. And we have so much more room."

Women that have come through in the past several weeks have raved about the facility, Salvemini-Proby said.

"It's such a patient pleaser," she said.