The Wasie Foundation challenges the community to match $3 million for Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida’s area services

Nearly five years after Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida opened with significant help from philanthropy, The Wasie Foundation has committed to bringing new, vital programs through the children’s hospital and its satellite campuses with a generous challenge grant of $3 million. This investment will significantly impact the landscape of children’s healthcare for the families and children of Southwest Florida.

“The Wasie Foundation is honored to partner with Golisano Children’s Hospital on three different initiatives,” said Jan Preble, vice president of programs for The Wasie Foundation. “Our hope is for improved access and care for children needing mental health services, pediatric oncology and specialty services, or pediatric neurosurgery. Ultimately we want to assist Golisano Children’s Hospital in creating a better quality of life for children facing various health challenges.”

The Wasie Foundation has pledged $1 million each in community challenge matches for:

· Expanding the Naples Pediatric Specialty & Hematology/Oncology Clinic for cancer care; neurology; developmental pediatrics; cardiology; endocrinology; nephrology; surgery; ear, nose and throat; urology; sleep medicine; Neonatal Intensive Care Unit follow up clinic; gastroenterology; infectious disease; allergy; asthma and respiratory therapies, and the addition of ophthalmology.

· Creating a Pediatric Neurosurgery Program at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, including recruiting world-class pediatric neurosurgeon(s) to our region in collaboration with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, equipping operating suites and patient care units with state-of-the-art pediatric neurosurgical equipment, as well as providing critical training and simulations to the clinical team.

· Investing in Kids’ Minds Matter, by expanding support for pediatric mental and behavioral health, including establishing a new Behavioral Health Clinic at the Bonita Health Center to provide space for five child psychologists and a testing center.

“These grants from The Wasie Foundation, with additional help from the community, will allow us to expand our ability to provide quality care close to home to the patients and families of Southwest Florida,” said Dr. Emad Salman, chief physician executive at Golisano Children’s Hospital. “These three priorities are directly in line with our strategic plan to provide more health services to the children of our region. Currently, we are unable to accommodate additional physicians and subsequent access to care at our Naples clinic due to the lack of space. Each year, hundreds of local children seek treatment beyond our community for neurosurgical services. While capacity for children with behavioral health needs is very limited in our region, we believe children should not have to wait months until the next available appointment, or leave town for treatment.”

The Wasie Foundation grants will allow:

· Renovation of the Naples Clinic to add six exam rooms, two procedure rooms and more telehealth capability, as well as addition of a new state-of-the-art total immersion chemotherapy infusion room and three additional exam rooms for the Hematology/Oncology Clinic. The clinic will be the first in Florida to provide total immersion therapy during treatment. Construction is expected to begin in December, with completion in 2022.

· Bringing pediatric neurosurgical specialty to the hospital as early as the fall of 2021, with plans for additional programs that require a neurosurgery foundation (e.g. pediatric trauma) to be added in the future. Currently, neurosurgical procedures and conditions such as shunt placement, brain tumor biopsy or resection, swelling of the brain, spinal injuries, head trauma, head deformities, etc. require children to leave our region for care.

· Construction on the Behavioral Health Clinic at the Bonita Health Center to begin in fall 2021, with the clinic operational by spring 2022. Recruitment for additional mental health providers and support staff is currently underway.

“We are so incredibly grateful to The Wasie Foundation for investing in these projects that are critical to the growth of services and access to care for the children in our region,” said Alyssa Bostwick, chief nurse executive at Golisano Children’s Hospital. “Together with the support of our community, we can continue to meet the needs of our children and keep them and their families close to home for healing.”

For information on the projects and how to help meet the challenge grants, visit LeeHealthFoundation.org.

About Golisano Children’s Hospital

Established in 1994, Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida has been named a “Top Hospital” three consecutive years by The Leapfrog Group. It is the only recognized children’s hospital between Tampa and Miami. Lee Health opened the new 134-bed Golisano Children’s Hospital in May 2017, relocating the children’s hospital from the adjacent HealthPark Medical Center. It includes comprehensive pediatric services including a 24-hour pediatric emergency department, hematology-oncology unit, milk lab, Regional Perinatal Intensive Care Center, and Level II and Level III NICU with 70 private rooms. Golisano Children’s Hospital is proud to have been named Soliant’s 2018 Most Beautiful Hospital in the U.S., a recognition determined by popular vote. For more information, visit GolisanoChildrensSWFL.org.

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This article was submitted by a Guest Author of the Above Board Chamber.