Montgomery County: Aquilino Cancer Center Receives $1.5M to Support Pioneering Cancer-Care Programs

by MCS Staff

The Aquilino Cancer Center, part of Adventist HealthCare’s Shady Grove Medical Center, is the first free-standing community cancer center in Montgomery County, MD that houses all patient services under one roof. Within Aquilino, is the Bill Richards Center for Healing, named for William (Bill) Richards, PhD, a world-renowned pioneer in the treatment of the depression and anxiety that frequently accompanies a cancer diagnosis.

On February 2nd, the center announced it received two significant donations totaling $1.5MM to continue its pioneering research and innovative therapies. Long-time supporters of Shady Grove Medical Center, Mike and Amy Aquilino are among the healing center’s most ardent supporters and the force behind naming the center to honor Dr. Richards.

Working together, Adventist HealthCare and Sunstone Therapies, a startup launched to treat both the physiological and psychological manifestations of cancer in the same location, are leading the way toward a new paradigm for how cancer is treated. They are propelling forward the revolutionary idea that a patient’s mental and physical health are intertwined and should be treated holistically.

The Bill Richards Center for Healing is a purpose-built space designed to help patients and their families cope with the psychological effects of cancer, even as the patient follows state-of-the-art clinical treatment protocols. In keeping with its whole-person, integrative approach, the center offers wellness programs, nutrition counseling, expressive arts therapy, exercise and mindfulness.

The Center also was the first community health center to receive FDA approval for clinical trials for the efficacy of group administration of psilocybin for the treatment of depression. During the trials, psilocybin was administered by clinicians to patients who are supported during treatment sessions by specially trained therapists.

To date, results are impressive. Dr. Mannish Agrawal, lead researcher, reports that 50% of participants in the study were in complete remission from their depression 8 weeks after their treatment. Fully 80% of participants saw at least a 50% drop in their depression scores.

“The groundbreaking research undertaken at the Aquilino Cancer Center, combined with state-of-the art clinical techniques and programs that reinforce the importance of self-care through proper nutrition, exercise, music, art, and meditation is part of our mission in motion,” shared Mary Greenberg, Vice President, Service Lines & Business Development with Adventist HealthCare. “Also of note, the center was made possible by the generous donations of people passionate about ensuring cancer patients have access to the best possible care,” adds Ms. Greenberg.

For more information about services and trials at the Aquilino Cancer Center visit


Adventist HealthCare, based in Gaithersburg, MD, is one of the longest serving health systems in the Washington, D.C., region. It includes Shady Grove Medical Center, Aquilino Cancer Center, White Oak Medical Center, Fort Washington Medical Center, Adventist HealthCare Rehabilitation, Home Care Services, Adventist Medical Group, Imaging and Urgent Care. Our mission is to extend God’s care through the ministry of physical, mental and spiritual healing.


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