Arkansas Children’s Hospital’s Campaign for a Healthier Tomorrow is expanding its reach across the state, specifically in Jefferson County. On Thursday, officials announced the establishment of the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Pine Bluff Clinic.
“With Pine Bluff serving as a gateway to the Delta—- a place that people from all over southeast Arkansas can get to—- we think by having an Arkansas Children’s Hospital Clinic right here that we can help augment and elevate care for kids in this community,” said Marcy Doderer, FACHE president and Arkansas Children’s Hospital CEO. “So, we will be building a building, working with the pediatricians who are already here, and recruiting more to help us deliver exceptional care to kids in Pine Bluff and beyond. It really is a partnership.”
There’s no set date as of now for the opening of the $17.5 million project, according to Doderer. But, she says with the recent approval by the board, they are now in the process of securing an actual plot of land for the pediatric facility. The 9,700 square-foot clinic consisting of 15 outpatient exam rooms will be built on the campus of Jefferson Regional.
“It’s a great day not only for Jefferson Regional, but also for Pine Bluff and for all the Southeastern Arkansas region,” said Jefferson Regional president and CEO, Brian Thomas. “We’ve been working now for quite a while with Arkansas Children’s to really bring the future of pediatric care to our community and a big part of this for us is working with them in partnership with our nursery coverage.”
Preventive care, developmental screenings, community resources and health education will be just some of the services provided to residents. With a vision of transforming healthcare for children through innovative advancements in patient care, research, education and advocacy, the new clinic aids in their mission of providing unprecedented improved child health across the state.
“So, we have every day anywhere from 10 to 12 babies in our nursery that need that high level of NICU nursery level coverage and we have been blessed with fantastic pediatricians over the decades,” said Thomas. “But, for the future, as we continue to see growth and challenges for the future of recruiting, we’re going to need a partner like Arkansas Children’s to make that work for us to make sure we have those services and the professionals here in the community, not just for the next couple or three years; but for the next 30 years and make sure that the service level is here for Pine Bluff, but also for the region.”
With the support of those in and out-of-state, the project has already received donations totaling $6 million. The estate of Merle and Deloris Peterson, of Dumas, contributed $3 million. An anonymous donor out-of-state gave a $1 million gift while a group of people across Arkansas gave $2 million to the efforts.
“It helps builds the excitement that people care about Pine Bluff and people care about kids in Pine Bluff,” said Doderer of the donations. “So, just even in the early conversations as we approach folks who would want to invest in child health and to see that quick response is really accelerating the conversations.”
Since 2015, Arkansas Children’s has raised $200 million for the Campaign for a Healthier Tomorrow in support of child health initiatives including, but not limited to dental programs, the David M. Clark Center for Safe and Healthy Children and two s-76D Sikorsky Angel One helicopters.
“Our goal is by another two years to be at $250 million,” said Doderer. “So, we’re starting at $200 million and have $50 million to go. But, it’s to impact child health across the state. So, over the coming weeks, we will be in five locations in the state of Arkansas announcing really cool projects unique to that community, but building awareness and building energy around the $250 million campaign.”
Doderer says the partnership with Arkansas Children’s and Jefferson Regional will essentially allow them to get closer to where kids live, learn and play in Southeast Arkansas.
“Our progress and our partnerships are clear,” she said. “This isn’t about someone else’s child. It’s about our families, our neighbors, our friends and our state. It’s about the future of Arkansas. We also feel compassion for the plight of the sick and the injured children. That’s why Arkansas Children’s Hospital exists.”
Those interested in donating are encouraged to visit archildrens.org/giving.