Twenty years ago, on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2004, we rolled patients over the fourth floor skybridge from Vanderbilt University Hospital to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, with Mr. Monroe Carell Jr. pushing the first patient to his room. The excitement of that day was truly palpable, by our namesake, our staff, and even our patients who were old enough to understand. It was clearly a very memorable day for me, as I helped to push babies in isolettes to our new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Over the years, as a pediatrician, I have often spoken of our journey at Monroe Carell in terms of childhood developmental milestones. The first few years were truly like birth through infancy, learning how to deliver care in totally different ways because of our expanded geography (moving from two floors plus a NICU to NICUs in two buildings and eight floors). The building of new programs was a little like toddler years with some stumbles along the way, and then came the explosion of growth seen in early elementary years, resulting in the first expansion project, completed and filled just eight years after opening the hospital.
Our adolescent years have been busy pushing the boundaries and building access to our programs closer to where our patients live as well as creating premier multidisciplinary programs here at Monroe Carell. We were able to achieve both of these milestones because of the amazing partnerships across the Department of Pediatrics and our pediatric surgical sections, recruiting some of the best and most talented faculty members. We have closed out our adolescent years with a four-floor expansion that allowed for improved patient care models as well as building new teams and programs. The final two floors of this expansion will open over the course of the next year.
I have been humbled and honored to serve as an executive leader for most of this 20-year journey. As I reflect upon this 20th anniversary, two things come to mind:
The first is gratitude. On behalf of countless children served, I want to thank our Monroe Carell teams, community pediatricians, donors and supporters for unwavering support. We would not be where we are today without you. I also want to thank leaders past, present and future for the vision to keep innovating, keep teaching, keep discovering. It is what we do here in a collaborative and fun way.
The second is the name of this magazine HOPE. This word captures so much — expectation, desire to help someone or to have something good happen, and trust. We are here to serve children and families, and it is the hope we offer that brings them to us, trusting in our healing hands and hearts.
May you experience gratitude and share in hope as you read our stories over 20 years.
Thank you for being part of this journey! It has been amazing because of you.
With heartfelt gratitude,
Meg Rush, MD, MMHC