Families are the focus of the new Children’s Pavilion, the $200 million one-stop, out-patient treatment and diagnostic facility for the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. It’s evident in the design, in the services and convenience on site, and in the attitude of the staff. It’s also evident in talking with its executive director, Leslie Wyatt, as she proudly, and nervously, awaits the facility’s opening later this month.
“I just think the experience should be very positive for folks,” she said Wednesday in a telephone interview.
A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. March 9 with Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Most of the pavilion is set to open for business on March 21, with later openings for its childhood cancer and operating room facilities.
The 640,000-square-foot pavilion at 1000 E. Broad St. consolidates a host of services for children from across the VCU Health System’s sprawling campus into one dedicated children’s hospital setting.
Children's Pavilion exterior rendering
An artist's rendering of the Children's Pavilion exterior.
That can be a big boost to a parent from out of the area with a child with a chronic, complex condition that requires the services of multiple experts. With the new facility, it will be easier for a child to be seen by multiple doctors in one day in one place; or even group visits with three different doctors simultaneously, says Wyatt.
“That group work is going to be fabulous,” she says.
Wyatt notes that the building is designed for collaboration, not just clinical care, but around research and education and training, too.
The pavilion also offers an area for the siblings of children who are undergoing treatment. While their brother or sister is being seen by doctors, they will have a place to play that’s supervised by trained staff and volunteers. It’s a great distraction that will keep them entertained, comfortable and safe while their sibling is in treatment.
Wyatt is especially pleased that the sibling area was incorporated into the pavilion, and noted that such areas are uncommon in children’s hospitals.
The first floor is called the Sky Lobby. It’s four floors up, over the parking, and is an open and airy entry to the facility. It’s also a clinical area with the cancer clinic, laboratory and pharmacy.
Outside is the Sky Terrace, an open area that stretches the length of the building. It’s the new home of “Circle of Peace,” a sculpture of playing children hand-in-hand that was a familiar site at the top of Carytown in front of Chasen Galleries. The artwork was donated to the pavilion by the MCV Hospitals Auxillary.
Sky Pavilion Wait
The Children's Pavilion's Sky Lobby is four floors up, above the parking deck, and is an open and airy entry to the facility.
The heart of the facility is the examination area on the third and fourth floors. It’s set up in a novel pod system, with exam rooms around a core where the staff works. Patients and their parents enter exam rooms off a hall.
The layout is novel, and is “very contemporary,” says Wyatt. “I hope it’s a much more welcoming feeling to the child and to the family,” she says.
clinic waiting area
A waiting room in the new Children's Pavilion.
It’s also logical and efficient, with complementary specialists working in the same pod. That way, for example, neurologists and neurosurgeons are grouped in the same pod, as are nephrologists and urologists.
The facility also brings together child and adolescent specialists who previously were working in areas that also served adults, including ENT, otolaryngology, and orthopedics and neurosurgery. Most of the common radiology services also will now be offered for children in the pavilion.
One feature that will appeal to anyone who’s ever been left, forgotten in an exam room is a patient tracking system. There’s a big board in the central core that will enable staff to track where a child is, when a lab is completed, and when a discharge is about to occur.
Out-patient surgeries also will be done in the pavilion, but other services will remain in the main medical center, including in-patient surgeries and higher level or unusual procedures.
Room for growth is built into the pavilion. There’s also faculty offices and research facilities. HKS, Inc. served as architects for the project, and construction was through Skanska USA Building, Inc.
Parking is always a headache on the medical campus, but the pavilion has its own 600-space facility, four floors under the building and three above-ground. Most of the spaces will be dedicated for use by patients, but some will be available to other VCU Health patrons.
Active living is the subject of a seminar to be held Monday at Virginia Commonwealth University.
The event, the Active RVA Summit, will feature an array of national and local experts. It’s sponsored by VCU Health, and will be held at the Larrick Student Center, 900 Turpin St.
The keynote speaker is Chip Johnson, mayor of Hernando, Mississippi, who will discuss his community’s efforts to create a healthier citizenry, according to a news release.
Other topics include health equity and transportation design, healthy schools and active workplaces. The event begins at 8:30 a.m. and the awards ceremony is at 3:30 p.m. Admission to the summit, which includes morning and afternoon sessions and the luncheon, is $100. The awards event is free. Registration continues through Friday, but some walk-up slots may be available Friday morning. Call 285-9495 for further information.
Help with Eating Disorders
Veritas Collaborative, a specialty hospital system for people with eating disorders, has opened a facility in Richmond.
Veritas offers its service to people 10 and older with anorexia, bulimia, binge eating and similar disorders. It’s a multidisciplinary, “intensive outpatient” program, with participants on site three evenings a week, according to a release.
Elisha Contner Watkins is executive director of the Richmond facility, which opened Feb. 22 at 6627 W. Broad St., Suite 400. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. on March 10.
Veritas was founded in 2012 in Durham, North Carolina, and also has a program in Atlanta. For additional details, call 855-875-5812.
Richmond Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists (Richmond ENT) has earned certification in the use of Computed Tomography in the sinus and temporal bone.
Accreditation is for three years and was issued by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission, according to a release. About 69 million CT scans are performed each year in the United States, according to the accreditation commission.
Clinical Depression Grant
Virginia Commonwealth University researchers studying biological processes behind depression are part of an international team that has received a $5.7 million grant.
The VCU scientists are part of a team that includes researchers from China and the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom to receive the grant from the Wellcome Trust, according to a VCU release. It's an extension of a study that identified genes associated with incidences of clinical depression. The grant will fund a five-year study that will be four times as large as the earlier work. It will involve 24,000 Chinese women diagnosed with severe clinical depression and 24,000 controls.
"Our opportunity is to replicate the initial findings and to substantially engage the number of variants that we have found so that we may be in a better position to articulate distinct biological pathways to major depression," says Kenneth S. Kendler, a VCU School of Medicine professor of psychiatry and molecular genetics.