August 8, 2003

Strauss gives state of VCH address

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Strauss gives state of VCH address

By Carole H. Bartoo

Medical Director for the Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, Dr. Arnold Strauss had lots of good news to report to staff in his ‘State of the Children’s Hospital’ address in pediatric grand rounds Aug. 5.

Strauss recognized many people for awards they have received in the past year. He also introduced a long list of new staff and faculty, and said 42 new faculty have been hired in the last three years.

“But perhaps more telling is the fact we’ve had an 88 percent retention of existing faculty in that same time,” said Strauss. “Our total is 132 faculty members right now and we continue to grow.”

And the time is right for growth of all kinds for Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. VCH is about to expand in a big way. The new hospital, to be called the Monroe Carell, Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, will be an 11-floor, 600,000 square-foot masterpiece of design and engineering.

Strauss showed detailed plans, floor by floor. He presented charts that prove every area of service, from the number of surgeries to the number of outpatient visits, has grown dramatically in the last five years. The hospital is seeking to serve sicker children from a wider area around middle Tennessee.

“As a matter of fact, the hospital-within-a-hospital has become a very important source of revenue for the VU Medical Center,” said Strauss. “While we only have 29 percent of the beds at VUMC, the Children’s Hospital accounts for 35 percent of the profits.”

Strauss spoke with pride about the tremendous gains VCH has seen in grants and funding for research in pediatrics. The Vanderbilt University School of Medicine is ranked 21st in the country for number of Pediatric NIH awards and 24th in NIH funding in 2002.

“That’s a tremendous leap from just a few years ago,” said Strauss. “In fact, when you compare us with programs like Boston’s Children’s Hospital and Washington University in St. Louis, while they’ve dropped in those rankings, we’ve risen more than 42 percent.”

This will be complete before anyone has stepped foot into the new facility which will help all VCH programs flourish.

“We’ve had growing pains,” concluded Strauss, “but the department of pediatrics is strong, collegial, diverse and still growing.”