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by Leslie Hill | Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014, 9:50 AM
During a festive celebration Wednesday evening, the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt launched the “Growing to New Heights” fundraising campaign in support of a four-floor building expansion that will help advance the size and scope of the hospital’s specialized pediatric health care programs.
Patients and their families, along with community supporters and Vanderbilt University officials, gathered to celebrate Children’s Hospital’s longstanding commitment to healing and discovery, and to embrace the challenge to continue to serve the health care needs of more children as Middle Tennessee’s population continues to grow.
The cornerstone of the “Growing to New Heights” fundraising campaign is a $10 million gift from the daughters of Monroe Carell Jr., the hospital’s namesake, and his wife Ann Scott Carell, both now deceased. The gift was given by Kathryn Carell Brown, Julie Carell Stadler, and Edie Carell Johnson and their families.
“My sisters and I are honored to build on our parents’ legacy and ensure that the Children’s Hospital continues to be so helpful to our community. No child asks to be sick, and we have to care for them in any way we can,” Brown said.
“My parents would be amazed at how much the hospital has grown in 10 years, both in size and reputation, and would be so thankful for how much the community has supported it over the years. But the fact is, the hospital is always full, and we want to make certain that it continues to grow and thrive.”
The goal of the “Growing to New Heights” campaign is to raise $30 million over three years to create funds that will support the total estimated cost of the building’s $100 million expansion.
During the leadership phase of the campaign, $17.7 million was committed, representing nearly 60 percent of the fundraising goal.
The new construction, when fully completed, will add 160,000 square feet of additional space atop the hospital’s existing structure. The new space will provide the necessary square footage to meet the future health care needs of the children and families of Tennessee and across the nation.
“We are enormously grateful for the engaged support from the Carell family and from our wider community that has empowered the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt to meet the increased need for care and continue our work in finding new discoveries in children’s health,” said Nicholas S. Zeppos, chancellor, Vanderbilt University.
Employing nearly 2,500 faculty and staff, including 425 full-time physicians trained in more than 30 pediatric medical and surgical specialties, Children’s Hospital remains the region’s only comprehensive pediatric health care provider. As a nonprofit organization, the hospital cares for children of Tennessee and surrounding states regardless of their ability to pay.
The freestanding hospital opened in 2004, and in May 2012 a $30 million, 30,000-square-foot, 33-bed expansion was opened that created capacity for additional acute care, surgical and neonatal intensive care services.
Construction on the new tower is expected to begin in 2015. The first floor to be completed will provide approximately 40,000 square feet of new space and will include 38 critical care beds for newborns, pediatric patients who have undergone transplants or neurosurgery, and other critical care patients. The new floor will also include family areas, a playroom, a large waiting room, educational space and patient consultation rooms.
Patients come from across the nation to receive the hospital’s highly specialized services. Last year, Children’s Hospital treated patients from 48 states. During fiscal year 2014, there were more than 250,000 ambulatory visits, and 15,000 children were admitted as inpatients.
“Over the past decade, the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt has brought hope to millions of children and families. With Middle Tennessee’s population rapidly increasing we anticipate caring for as many as 1,300 additional pediatric patients each year, and many will be premature babies,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
“We are profoundly grateful to the entire Carell family for their compassion for children and a legacy of philanthropy to Vanderbilt. Their generosity and extraordinary support from this entire community enables us to offer the children we care for the very best.”
In addition to patient care services, Vanderbilt trains 43 percent of all pediatricians who practice within the state of Tennessee and serves as one of the nation’s top research centers for childhood diseases. Vanderbilt’s Department of Pediatrics currently ranks among the top five in the nation in research funding from the National Institutes of Health.
The “Growing to New Heights” campaign, chaired by Kathryn Carell Brown, is co-chaired by community leaders Kix Brooks, entertainer, radio host and entrepreneur; Rick Dreiling, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Dollar General Corporation; Steven Hostetter, Chief Executive Officer, TriStar Energy LLC; Bob Rolfe, Chief Executive Officer, Medical Reimbursements of America, Inc.; and Clarence Spalding, President, Spalding Entertainment.
The Carell sisters are joined by their spouses and children in this leadership gift to “Growing to New Heights.” Family members include: Kathryn and David Brown and their children, Carell and Nicholas Brown; Julie and George Stadler and their children, Claire Lawhorne and her husband, Tom, and Monroe Stadler; and Edie and David Johnson and their children, William and Ann Scott Johnson.
Monroe Carell Jr. was the former chairman of Central Parking Corporation, and he and wife Ann Scott Carell were longtime philanthropic leaders in Nashville. They shared a deep commitment to the children of Middle Tennessee and were instrumental in fundraising for the freestanding Children’s Hospital.
In 2014 the Children’s Hospital was again named among the nation’s top pediatric hospitals by U.S. News & World Report in their annual Best Children’s Hospitals rankings, achieving national rankings in nine specialty programs. Vanderbilt has been included in U.S. News every year since the inception of the publication’s pediatric rankings in 2007.
For additional information about the “Growing to New Heights” campaign and how you can contribute, visit vu.edu/growing.
Leslie Hill, (615) 322-4747
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