The Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center is the NIH’s remarkable new hospital for
clinical research. The Hatfield Center is a physical extension of the original red-brick hospital,
now known as the Magnuson Center. Together, the Hatfield and Magnuson Centers make up
the NIH Clinical Center.
The recently expanded Children’s Inn is right across the street and the new Edmond J. Safra
Family Lodge at NIH is a short walk further down Center Drive.
To make it easier for patients when they arrive at NIH, a new gate for patients and visitors is
being built at Cedar Lane and West Drive, approaching the main hospital entrance from the
north. CC Hospitality staff will greet patients as they pass through routine security checks.
Ample space and natural light
One benefit of the building’s long, low silhouette is that all of the rooms are larger, more
comfortable, and more open, with plenty of natural light. At the heart of the building a
spacious seven-story atrium, the Science Court, serves as a central gathering area, connecting
the patient care units that run east and west. Patient wings are separated by and overlook two
large, internal courtyards entered through the Science Court.
The patients who toured the hospital the day of the ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony
all agree that the new hospital seems physically brighter, warmer, more cheerful, and more
spacious than the old hospital, with courtyards and other gathering places to facilitate getting
together between tests and appointments with medical staff.
Being able to meet and socialize with patients with different illnesses, from different walks
of life and parts of the country, feels like part of the therapy to many of the patients. Being
able to meet each other at the end of a day of being poked, prodded, or treated — being able to
sit outside in good weather and to talk about each other’s diseases and families, even, in a
strange way, to laugh and joke about what’s going on — is part of healing. And it feels to most
of the patients as if the new hospital will encourage that.