The Redwood City-based event center The Great Highway hosted their annual Lobster Feed on February 4th with one thing on their mind – babies! Founder Rozalyn Mendence toured VMC in early 2016 and was inspired by the life-saving work of VMC staff of the Neonatal ICU (NICU). As she learned, the VMC Foundation was actively fundraising to replace the Giraffe Bed isolettes that house the newborns during their first weeks of life in the NICU. The machines simulate the safety and conditions of a mother’s womb and help VMC staff save lives. Roz committed to raising $40,000 at her annual fundraiser, almost double what they raised last year, enough to buy a single Giraffe Bed unit.
With her partner Gary Pollack, Roz got to work and organized the most successful Lobster Feed in her company’s history. Over $100,000 was pledged! Which means we aren’t just buying ONE giraffe bed, we’re buying TWO! The event was attended by over 150 of their friends and colleagues and was truly memorable. From giant boats of lobsters to pristine classic cars, a signature drink (the “Oh Baby”) and giraffe themed decorations, this event was eye catching, fun and inspiring. Thank you The Great Highway for a night we will never forget.
The first thing that visitors see when they arrive on the 5th floor of Santa Clara Valley Medical Center is not much at all – an elevator lobby, white walls and linoleum. It’s a place to walk to and from and nothing more. The revitalization of this small space will be the catalyst for efforts to transform the entire current “Main Hospital” into San Jose’s first Women and Children’s Center… all thanks to a little girl named Nora.
Nora was born on December 11, 2009, in San Francisco. “Within months, she was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. Because of her diagnosis, she became very experienced in hospital visits and longer stays. She passed away on November 22, 2013, in Palo Alto.
Her parents, Thomas and Claire, were Nora’s greatest champions, and since her passing have become fierce advocates for hospital safety and children’s health issues.
With the support of family, friends and co-workers, Thomas and Claire created a fund at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to honor Nora’s memory. That effort brought them to VMC for the first time, and to the bland elevator lobby on the 5th floor.
Understanding the need for families to have safe and engaging spaces to visit during their hospital stay, they proposed a small library area for kids to read books with their parents. It was an idea close to their hearts.
“Nora especially loved reading books,” shared Thomas. “We hope the space will offer an escape from the hospital setting for children and their families. We want it to be a place where patients can read books alone or with their parents. They can have a quiet spot outside their rooms to relax.”
Soon, when visitors arrive on the 5th floor, they’ll be greeted by a warm, welcoming space filled with books and cozy places to sit and read. The library will be a fulcrum for a remodeled lobby and hallway, outdoor patio and a small, multi-purpose room that will preview a grander transformation of the entire 5th floor and building. The family and patient experience will be permanently altered, all for the better.
It’s a fitting legacy for Nora that will benefit VMC families for decades.
To learn more, visit www.imaginevmc.org.
Promoting healthy food choices has been at the core of The Health Trust’s efforts to confront Santa Clara County’s ongoing obesity and diabetes crisis. At VMC, that’s meant funding a weekly Farmer’s Market on campus, and now – thanks to a $250,000 gift – transforming the only café in the future Women and Children’s Center into a fun and appealing source of healthy food for kids and their families.
Modeled after the nationally recognize café do-over at the Children’s Discovery Museum (CDM) in downtown San Jose – a project that was also funded in part by The Health Trust – the current VMC space will get a physical and menu upgrade. At the CDM, a generic, junk-food dependent space that had all the charm of an airport food court was replaced by a beautiful restaurant that promotes health eating using design, color and a novel menu. Healthy eating is not presented as an option (a la ordering a “diet” soda) – it is the only option. Yet, offered in a way that promotes the inherent quality and deliciousness of the food, and not as a “take-your-medicine” necessity.
It’s an approach that suits VMC well, where high standards for healthy food options already exist. The current space, however, needs a major face-lift. And there is an added benefit to adding a revitalized café to San Jose’s first Women and Children’s Center, beyond the people served. It sends a message that healthy eating is a cornerstone to health. Indeed, the new café will literally be in the corner of the building’s ground floor.
Work on the café will commence in 2017.
To learn more about the campaign for a Women and Children’s Center, visit www.imaginevmc.org.
The alert reader of this blog will remember two years ago when we celebrated the five-years of VMC’s Medical Legal Partnership Clinic. This is the innovative idea that, sometimes, a lawyer can solve your medical problem better than a doctor!
Intrigued by that concept? So were we in 2009, and so was FIRST 5 Santa Clara County which funded this great partnership and kept it going for five years.
Sometimes, it takes that long to prove a concept…but the good news is that in Santa Clara County, especially at Valley Medical Center, a proven concept leads to my favorite word: SUSTAINABILITY.
After hundreds of patients helped, fueled by donations from FIRST 5, the leadership of VMC asked the County to make the Medical Legal Partnership a permanent part of its budget, and to give it a home in the new Valley Health Center Downtown.
…and that happened, and today was Opening Day! A huge congratulations to Dr. Leanna Botkin and the team at the Law Foundation Silicon Valley’s “Legal Advocates for Children and Youth” for demonstrating how this collaboration can make such a positive difference for patients who often have little recourse to improve a situation for themselves or their children.
Click here to learn more about the Medical Legal Partnership, and here to learn more about Valley Health Center Downtown, the latest jewel serving the population of our country’s tenth largest city.
The California Association of Neonatologists recognized the excellent “Quality Improvement” work of the VMC NICU staff in boosting outcomes for preterm babies through enhanced breastfeeding practices, advanced breast milk nutrient analysis, home healthcare visits to help families transition from the hospital setting, and delayed umbilical cord clamping during delivery, resulting in lower rates of intraventricular hemorrhage, intubation, and transfusion.
The VMC Foundation is proud to support the NICU by providing donations that fund new equipment purchases and staff training for these innovative therapies. Donors include FIRST 5 Santa Clara County, the Will Rogers Institute, and many generous individuals.
Read more about how charitable donations are being put to good use at VMC in our Spring Impact Report.
Siobhan and Ryan McNamara became concerned when, on a Saturday in late February, their energetic eight year-old son Henry, was coughing, lethargic, and his lips were swelling. Doctors at a local emergency department tested for strep throat and flu and sent Henry home with antibiotics and steroids, but Henry didn’t respond to the drugs.
The McNamaras came to Valley Medical Center, where doctors determined that Henry had Stevens Johnson Syndrome – or SJS – a rare and serious disorder that affects the mucous membranes. Henry spent nearly a month at VMC, where staff in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit have the skills and equipment to manage the unique needs of SJS patients.
“I’ve never felt so helpless in my entire life,” shared Siobhan, “but I knew that Henry was going to be okay at VMC. They were equipped.”
Henry is now back in school and has regained the eleven pounds he lost during his illness. The McNamaras credit VMC for a speedy diagnosis of this rare disorder, and their ability to provide the special care he needed.
You can read more about this story, and see updates about our other programs, in our Fall 2015 Impact Report.
Remember when you were little, and the anxiety you felt missing school due to a long illness? Falling behind is sad reality for too many kids facing a long hospitalization, but now a solution is at hand.
The VMC Foundation, on behalf of Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, is partnering with Omar’s Dream Foundation to enable hospitalized and medically supervised children to remotely attend school allowing them to stay connected to their teachers and classmates. The services are free for all qualified students and their educators.
We know that education and health are both equal building blocks for a child’s success. We’re so grateful to Omar’s Dream and the ability to keep those building blocks strong!
Did you know that VMC is among the top hospitals in the state in breastfeeding rates for new moms? That’s no accident — VMC is a leader in innovative programs to encourage breastfeeding. We all know that breastfeeding gives babies the best possible start, providing them with an ideal balance of nutrients for their growth and development, reducing the risk of infection and disease, promoting mother-child bonding, and even reducing the risk of childhood obesity.
Funding from FIRST 5 Santa Clara County and Kaiser Permanente has made possible over 8,000 hours of training for VMC’s newborn care providers in offering best practice and evidence-based breastfeeding instruction to moms. Funding also enables follow-up calls to recently discharged moms to help address any breastfeeding challenges they face at home.
VMC is investing in an on-site Milk Lab in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to ensure that even the most vulnerable infants benefit from this healthy start. Support from FIRST 5 Santa Clara County and other generous donors has helped fund special freezers and storage units, prep stations to standardize breast milk processing (breast milk for preemies is often fortified with additional calories and nutrients), and designated staff to ensure that each baby gets the nutrition he or she needs. With a recent donation from the Will Rogers Institute, VMC will soon be adding an on-site breast milk analyzer to determine how much protein, fat, and carbohydrate is in a mother’s milk. This is important because providing sufficient nutrition for NICU infants is crucial to maximizing weight gain and assuring proper physiological development.
VMC has a fabulous team of lactation experts leading efforts for increased breastfeeding rates and creating a hospital culture that supports and encourages breastfeeding. The VMC Foundation is proud to support their work, during World Breastfeeding Week and all year long!
A HUGE thanks to everyone who participated in and supported this year’s Sheriff’s Heroes Run Sponsored by SAP!
Together we raised over $20,000 for the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Pediatrics Unit.
Check out all of the fabulous photos from this year’s event by clicking on the photo below.
To learn more about the Heroes Run visit www.heroesrunscc.org.