Skip to Content

Unveiling the UPMC Mercy Pavilion: Home to UPMC Vision Institute and UPMC Rehabilitation Institute

For Journalists

Sheila Davis

Gloria Kreps
Vice President

Want to Make an Appointment or Need Patient Information?
Contact UPMC at


Go to Find a Doctor to search for a UPMC doctor.


PITTSBURGH — UPMC today unveiled the UPMC Mercy Pavilion, home to the UPMC Vision Institute and UPMC Rehabilitation Institute. Through patient-focused design and innovative technologies, the pavilion is one of the first-of-its-kind in the nation — a place of life-changing care for people with routine and advanced vision and physical rehabilitation needs.

“As we celebrate the opening of our new building, we also demonstrate our commitment to the city, this community and all the communities we serve,” said Leslie C. Davis, president and CEO of UPMC. “We are excited about the economic potential this facility brings, helping us to care for patients from this region and patients who will travel here from all over the world.”

UPMC Mercy Pavilion was designed with significant input from José-Alain Sahel, M.D., director of the UPMC Vision Institute, and Gwendolyn Sowa, M.D., Ph.D., director of the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute, in close collaboration with firm HOK.

Mercy Pavilion releaseThe UPMC Vision Institute harnesses the clinical and research expertise of UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh Department of Ophthalmology to deliver comprehensive clinical care and conduct research to better understand, treat and prevent vision impairment and blindness. It offers ophthalmology services including specialized services for the cornea, retina, optic nerve, glaucoma, neuro-ophthalmology and orbital disorders.

Additionally, the UPMC Vision Institute will house the UPMC Urgent Eye Care Clinic, an optical shop, and street lab — a state-of-the-art space for clinicians, researchers and patients to interact and model real-life situations where vision loss is a factor in a fully monitored and controlled environment. It’s features focus on accessibility, reflecting the needs of patients receiving care at the pavilion.

Jose Alain Sahel release“I have always believed that we need to view patients as people first,” said Sahel. “Taking this view, we have a more holistic approach to caring. We will work with human sciences at the University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University to better understand and meet patients’ expectations, while developing novel approaches to restorative therapies and access to care.”

The UPMC Rehabilitation Institute is one of the largest rehabilitation networks in the United States. UPMC’s physiatrists and rehabilitation professionals offer tailored treatment programs to restore function and improve quality of life for patients, including specialized clinical services for brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke and musculoskeletal pain.

Gwendolyn Sowa release rs“This pavilion is designed to address each person’s unique needs and conditions,” said Sowa. “We have gone beyond simply creating an accessible space — we’re creating a sense of community. Our spaces were designed with input from people with lived experience to inform how visitors will navigate this new environment. We have used lighting, materials, and textures in unique ways, robust concierge services welcoming and guiding people in this new space, and an innovative and captivating art program to ensure that people receiving care will flourish here.”

The UPMC Mercy Pavilion also offers collaborative spaces for community education, a rooftop garden, and a life skills apartment for patients to improve their mobility in a setting similar to home. The new Uptown Café will provide dining options to patients, visitors and members of the surrounding community, and a retail pharmacy will be available to supply needed medications.

The pavilion will be open for patients on May 1.

To learn more about the services and features of UPMC Mercy Pavilion, visit

PHOTO DETAILS: (click images for high-res versions)

First photo:
CAPTION: Exterior of UPMC Mercy Pavilion

Second photo:
CAPTION: José-Alain Sahel, M.D.

Third photo:
CAPTION: Gwendolyn Sowa, M.D., Ph.D.