A crowd of 300 supporters gathered for the ceremonial groundbreaking for the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Research and Education Building on November 20. Members of the All Children’s Hospital community joined patients, donors and honored guests to hear more about the future building, which will unite innovation, collaboration and care to improve children’s health.
When it opens in 2018 the new building will house the academic and research offices of four Johns Hopkins All Children’s institutes dedicated to improving treatments and outcomes in four key areas of care: pediatric cardiology/cardiac surgery, cancer and blood disorders, brain protection sciences and maternal and neonatal health. It will also be home to multiple pediatric research and education programs.
“No child should ever have to know what cancer feels like,” said All Children’s Hospital Board of Trustees Chair Mark Stroud. “Today we celebrate building a center of learning, discovery and hope. It is within the walls of our new research and education building that we will find better treatments and uncover new cures so that all children can live happy, healthy lives.”
Jonathan Ellen, M.D., president and physician-in-chief of All Children’s Hospital and vice dean and professor of pediatrics with the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, thanked the many members of the All Children’s community who brought forth the vision for the new building, and the state and local officials whose support helped pave the way.
“The route to this land is the story of a community coming together and doing what is best for the children within that community,” said Ellen. “The state of Florida gifted this land to University of South Florida, who then gifted it to All Children’s Hospital. That land is now allowing us to build this building where we hope we will find cures for children around the country and around the world. So I want to thank USF President Judy Genshaft for her wisdom and her generosity and the Board of Trustees for helping us get to this moment.”
He noted that the facility will have simulation centers where pediatric residents and nurses can practice and learn. “We will also have a new home for our pediatric biorepository, which I call the time capsule that lets us collect information today about children and see how they progress and then look back and see what we could have done differently.”
One of the innovative uses of the future facility will be collaboration and learning for pediatric residents and fellows, said Raquel Hernandez, M.D., M.P.H., director of medical education at All Children’s Hospital and assistant professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University. “This building is an asset that will distinguish us as an educational ecosystem. It was designed for collaboration. That means promoting those interactions, those casual meetings that lead to innovation and great discussion. You can imagine that those interactions will propel our residents in taking on clinical investigative skills that will become a part of the discovery that we know is necessary to lead to cures.”
She also pointed to the sobering reality that Florida has a projected shortage of about 7,000 physicians over the next 10 years. “If we are able to train and keep these fantastic residents, we know that All Children’s will be a leader for that next generation of care that is needed.”
St. Petersburg deputy mayor Kanika Tomalin highlighted the many assets that All Children’s clinical and research programs bring to the community. “The impact is real and it makes a difference every day,” she said. “In 2014 the hospital touched more than 400,000 lives. There is a larger economic impact we can all be grateful for as well: $27.9 million is returned to our community through health care for our children and their families.
“When the world turns its eyes to medicine it turns to Hopkins, and when it comes to pediatrics, they are looking here, at us,” she continued. “This is the cradle of our city’s scientific advancement, industry-propelling ingenuity and standard-setting discovery. The city of St. Petersburg is so grateful to have a world-class pediatric hospital to serve our community’s families.”
“I’m so happy for the physicians and staff of this hospital who make a difference in the lives of the kids every day,” said state senator Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg. “I’m honored to play some small role in this and I want to thank the governor and the legislature for the vision to do this, and thank the board of this great hospital. Thank you for all that you’ve done and all you will continue to do for our children.”
Wearing hardhats and wielding shovels, the morning’s speakers were joined by 18-year-old Angela Sanborn, representing the countless patients who will benefit from ongoing research. Three years ago, after developing a life-threatening blood clot, she became the first patient to enroll in an important All Children’s research initiative that will have a new home in the research and education building.
With approximately 225,000 square feet, the seven-story building will also include on the first two floors a 250-seat auditorium and plenty of sub-dividable multi-function space for residents, fellows and medical students to work in team settings and a new simulation lab. The top five research floors will include offices and lab space for research scientists.
To learn more about supporting the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Research and Education Building, please contact the All Children’s Hospital Foundation at 727-767-4199.