St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children will soon be home to a new Center for the Urban Child.
The center — which is a part of the hospital’s $110 million expansion project — will focus on reducing health disparities among children in Philadelphia.
“The Center for the Urban Child was designed to provide top quality, efficient, cost effective care for the children of our local community and to do this in a way that addresses the social determinants of their health and address issues such as violence and food insecurity,” St. Christopher’s CEO Carolyn Jackson said during an event held to announce the expansion project.
“We really are dedicated, and have been since the 1800s, to providing quality care to the kids in our area, and we have a duty to help them break out of the cycles that they are in.”
Sixty-three percent of the residents in the neighborhoods surrounding St. Christopher’s are living in poverty.
The center will be under the direction of Dr. Jill Foster, associate chair for clinical operations, and will be housed in a new 30,000-square-foot medical office building on the hospital’s main campus at Erie Avenue and Front Street.
Dr. Robert McGregor, St. Christopher’s interim pediatrician-in-chief, says hospital officials have been working on the center’s concept for the past 10 years.
“The Center for the Urban Child is a community-focused initiative designed to help our children break the cycles of violence, food insecurity and childhood stress,” said McGregor.
“The goal of the center is to provide children with comprehensive care and medical services as well as other services in a three-prong approach and will serve to reduce the barriers to health care access for patients and their families, to improve the diagnosis and care of the diseases associated with health care disparities and hopefully to modify those risk factors.”
The center seeks to address the underlying factors to health issues such as asthma, diabetes, sexually transmitted diseases and trauma.
McGregor says the center will also have a research component where data will be collected and best practices will be dissimilated to colleagues across the country.
Mayor Michael Nutter thanked St. Christopher officials and staff for their commitment to Philadelphia and lauded the Center for the Urban Child.
“To have this center right here, I think now becomes a model not just for the city, but for the nation, and I expect that we will hear great things about this center, and people will be coming to Philadelphia to see how they can possibly have something like it,” said Nutter.
Another component of the multimillion dollar expansion project includes the construction of a new four-floor 135,000 square-foot critical care tower that includes three new operating rooms, 50 new critical care beds and 60 Level IIIC neonatal intensive care unit beds. The new tower should be fully operational by 2015.
“The dollars going into the facility as well as the technology will allow us to offer state of the art care to the most complex children, as well as the simpler cases in the hospital that will benefit from this investment,” said Jackson.
The project will have a significant economic impact — with the creation of 450 construction jobs, and more than 300 new healthcare jobs within five years of completion.
“We’re making an investment here in the health of the community. We’re making investment in physical facilities. We’re making an investment in the local economy” said Trevor Fetter, Tenet Healthcare Corporation’s president and CEO.
“St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children has long been at the forefront of pediatric medicine in our country. The vision that Carolyn Jackson and her team are demonstrating through the creation of the Center for the Urban Child reflects Tenet’s dedication to specific programs designed to meet the needs of each community we serve. We believe strongly that this innovative model of care will make a significant and lasting difference in the lives of our patients, their neighborhoods and the future of Philadelphia.”
According to St. Christopher’s officials, construction on the new project should begin the first quarter of 2013.
The project is supported by the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the city of Philadelphia the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation.