February 28, 2014

Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital celebrates 10 years of service

The Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. The 271-bed hospital, constructed to serve families from across the nation, opened in February 2004 and has seen millions of children and families pass through its doors.

The facility’s anniversary marks a decade of rapid growth and numerous milestones. Since opening, the hospital’s faculty and staff have made significant contributions to the health and wellness of children including: pioneering research in fetal surgery; leading change for Tennessee’s child restraint laws; numerous research advancements toward the treatment of autism; large-scale studies on the prevention of juvenile diabetes; establishing the Vanderbilt-Meharry-Matthew Walker Center for Excellence in Sickle Cell Disease; conducting national studies on childhood vaccines that established new guidelines for safety, efficacy and the age vaccines can first be administered; coordinating efforts to improve Tennessee’s infant morbidity/mortality rate, and research and community outreach to combat childhood obesity.

“Nashville is fortunate to have the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital in our city as a place where children and families can get world-class medical care and benefit from the groundbreaking research being done there,” said Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. “I want to thank the hospital’s physicians and staff for their dedicated work and congratulate them on 10 years of service to our community.”

With $28.5 million in grant funding during 2013, Vanderbilt’s Department of Pediatrics currently ranks fourth in the nation in research funding from the National Institutes of Health.

During the past decade, Children’s Hospital has experienced significant increases in inpatient admissions and clinic visits. In its first year there were 9,500 admissions to the hospital and 106,000 clinic visits. By the end of 2013, these numbers had increased to 15,000 inpatient admissions and 225,000 clinic visits. In 2004 there were 34,000 Pediatric Emergency Department visits, a number that grew to 54,000 by the end of 2013. In 2013, Children’s Hospital treated patients from 48 different states.

“The growth of Children’s Hospital and its clinics over the past 10 years has been necessary to meet the increasing needs of the children we serve. It is rewarding that we are able to fulfill this important role in the community,” said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, M.D., Deputy Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs. “We have a deep commitment to improve the health and well-being of children everywhere. I want to congratulate the hospital’s dedicated faculty and staff for a decade of outstanding achievements as they continue to care for the children and families we serve.”

Employing nearly 2,500 faculty and staff, including 425 full-time physicians trained in 30 pediatric medical and surgical specialties, Children’s Hospital remains the region’s only comprehensive pediatric health care provider. In addition to patient care, Vanderbilt trains 43 percent of all pediatricians practicing in Tennessee and is a key training and research center for child health specialists across the nation.

“The energy and excitement on ‘move day’ was palpable, by patients, staff and faculty. But more than that, the sense of community and possibility for impact in children’s health was part of all conversation. As we served cake to celebrate our 10 years last week, the sense of community and commitment to all things children was just as present. This is an amazing hospital filled with talented and caring people who come to work every day to make a difference for children and families. This is what drives us and ensures we will continue to build new programs of care, discovery and teaching for the future,” said Margaret Rush, M.D., professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Chief of Staff for Children’s Hospital.

The hospital is named for Monroe Carell Jr., former chairman and CEO of Central Parking Corporation. Carell and his wife Ann, who are both deceased, were noted philanthropists and passionate champions of child health. Their family continues this legacy.

“It is hard to believe that ten years have gone by since we first walked through the doors of this beautiful hospital completely dedicated to the care of children. We as a community are so fortunate to have this incredible facility. The impact to this community continues to grow immensely. Those of us who work here are grateful every day for the honor to care for children in this place so beautifully envisioned by Monroe Carell and his family,” said John Brock III, M.D., the Monroe Carell Jr. Professor, Surgeon-in-Chief and Director of Pediatric Urology.

Children’s Hospital includes the Doctors’ Office Tower, an 11-story companion structure which provides space for a vast array of the hospital’s highly specialized outpatient services from advanced fetal diagnostics to dedicated pediatric cancer care, cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, orthopaedics, neurology, neurosurgery and urology.

Children’s Hospital expanded in 2012 with the addition of a five-story, 30,000-square-foot tower that created 33 additional acute, surgical and neonatal intensive care beds. That expansion allowed the hospital to expand its Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplantation Program, as well as its Cardiac Surgical Intensive Care and Congenital Heart Disease programs.

As the health needs of Middle Tennessee’s children began to surpass the hospital’s capacity, another planned expansion was announced in December 2013 — a four-floor inpatient tower that will be constructed on top of the hospital’s existing structure, pending approval by Vanderbilt’s Board of Trust.

Each floor of the planned expansion is expected to add approximately 40,000 square feet to Children’s Hospital. This expansion, when completed, will bring Children’s Hospital’s inpatient capacity to more than 300 inpatient beds and nearly 1 million total square feet. Included in the expansion is the relocation of the hospital’s helipad to the top of the new tower.

“It is exciting that as we celebrate our 10th anniversary in this landmark hospital we launch our second major expansion. The Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt has earned the trust of families and their pediatricians throughout Tennessee and Kentucky. This expansion reflects our shared commitment to serving all children, whether minor emergencies or life-saving surgeries,” said Luke Gregory, Chief Executive Officer of Children’s Hospital.

Children’s Hospital reaches into neighboring communities with its clinics. Specialty clinics are offered in Chattanooga, Clarksville, Columbia, Cookeville, Franklin, Jackson, Hendersonville, Murfreesboro and Spring Hill. Convenient after-hours walk-in clinics, with care provided by board-certified Children’s Hospital pediatricians, are offered in Hendersonville, Mt. Juliet and Spring Hill.

The hospital continues to receive accolades for its exceptional patient care. In 2013 Children’s Hospital was again named among the top pediatric health care hospitals in U.S. News & World Report magazine’s annual Best Children’s Hospitals rankings. It is the only pediatric hospital in Middle Tennessee providing a comprehensive array of specialty and subspecialty services to receive this honor, achieving national rankings for nine of its pediatric specialty programs. Children’s Hospital has been ranked every year by U.S. News since the inception of the publication’s pediatric rankings, now in their seventh year. The hospital’s Department of Pediatric Urology is ranked 4th in the nation by U.S. News.

“The combination of a state-of-the-art freestanding clinical facility nested within the world class School of Medicine at Vanderbilt University has allowed Children’s Hospital to emerge as a leading clinical, research and educational facility; a precious resource for the region, the state of Tennessee and beyond. The future looks very bright as we enter our second decade,” said Steven Webber, M.B.Ch.B, the James C. Overall Professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics.

Children’s Hospital also earned two top spots among Parents magazine’s best of children’s hospital lists featured in the March 2013 issue. The magazine named Children’s Hospital No. 13 among the 25 best children’s hospitals, and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit ranked eighth in the nation for the best care of premature infants.

Contact: Ashley Culver (615) 322-4747