Not long ago, the “Golden Heart City” wasn’t quite as golden. Prior to 2007, Fairbanks residents with heart related problems had to leave town for treatments, which meant leaving their homes and emotional support structures behind. In 2007, Fairbanks Memorial Hospital opened the Cardiac Clinic, providing the first care of its kind in the interior. Later that same year, the Catheterization Lab opened allowing patients to receive lifesaving procedures without being sent to Anchorage or the Lower 48.
The Harry & Sally Porter Heart Center opened its doors in May 2010, bringing all cardiology services (cardiology clinic, heart catheterization lab and cardiac rehabilitation) under one roof. The new facility has three cardiologists, a conference room where doctors can discuss cases with colleagues anywhere in the world, a rehab center and state-of-the-art technology. Almost 8,500 patients have been seen since the beginning of the program. In addition to the hundreds of construction jobs developed to build the Heart Center, 43 permanent Fairbanks jobs were created.
The new Harry & Sally Porter Hear t Center was truly a team effort. Local doctors, the Greater Fairbanks Community Hospital Foundation, hospital administration and the Fairbanks community collaborated to make the Heart Center a reality. The Heart Center is named after longtime Fairbanks residents Harry and Sally Porter. Harry Porter helped found the Hospital Foundation and raise the money needed to build the Hospital in 1972. He has since served as a volunteer board member and is now a trustee emeritus of the Hospital Foundation Board.
In addition to the strong community support, the Porter Heart Center would like to thank AIDEA for their partnership on this project. AIDEA issued more than $12 million in tax-exempt bonds on the Heart Center’s behalf, an important part of the project’s financing package.
The Porter Heart Center saves lives virtually every day. Patients still have to travel for a limited number of heart related treatments, such as coronary bypass surgery, but thanks to the Porter Heart Center, 90 percent of the care heart patients need is now available in Fairbanks.