New Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Project
Speaker 2: 00:08 the [inaudible] one to a special edition of our wake Forest Baptist health best health podcast. We have a very special project to talk about today. Wake Forest Baptist health is embarking on a new neo natal intensive care unit. And we have um, two great guests to talk with us about that. Uh, the first one is our vice president and chief philanthropy officer Lisa Marshall and we are also joined by the president of Burner Sheldon's hospital. Uh, Dr Elisa Starbuck. So welcome, Lisa.
Speaker 3: 00:39 Thank you very much.
Speaker 2: 00:41 So, uh, before we jump into, um, what we have to talk about and kind of, you know, the, the overarching mission, um, for Wake Forest Baptist Health as a nonprofit and the important work that y'all do here in philanthropy. Uh, just tell the listeners, I guess a little bit about yourself and, um, how you came to wake forest baptist.
Speaker 3: 01:01 Great. Well, I have been with wake forest Baptist for eight years now and uh, I moved down here with my husband from Cleveland, Ohio. I had been doing a fundraising work in, uh, Cleveland had worked in academic medicine there. Okay. And was really thrilled to get the opportunity to join wake forest.
Speaker 2: 01:22 Very cool. So did you get to see Lebron James play up there?
Speaker 3: 01:26 Uh, I have to admit that I did and I am a big Lebron Fan, although I did have to discount them for that period of time. He was in Florida.
Speaker 2: 01:35 Yes, he did take a trip south for a little while, but that's okay. Uh, well thanks Lisa. Uh, so I wanna we have, we have a lot to cover and um, there's so much we can talk about, uh, about philanthropy and, and what you all do for our organization. Um, but I guess just on a, on a base level, start off with talking about, um, you know, maybe helping people just understand that wake Forest Baptist health is a nonprofit and that we do have a philanthropy team here in place and in some of what y'all do on a day to day basis.
Speaker 3: 02:09 Absolutely. Well, of course healthcare is vital to everyone in the community. And so our mission at wake forest baptist is to serve the entire community. And we try and do that in a multiple number of ways, certainly by providing clinical care to anyone and everyone in the community that needs that care. But we also focus on two other important aspects of the healthcare mission, one being education and the other being research. So we commit a lot of our resources to supporting the educational efforts, supporting the medical students that come here. Sure. Uh, we're fortunate, uh, that we are one of the most competitive medical schools in the country. We get over 11,000 applications for 140 a positions each year. Wow. So, um, a lot of our work is, uh, supporting that mission. We also support the research mission. It's really vital as an academic medical center that we're always learning and we're always providing new solutions and new approaches to healthcare. But it takes a lot of support, a lot of money to fund all of that research. We're fortunate in that we're very competitive for federal grants, but federal grants alone will never cover all of the costs of research. And so philanthropy plays a very big part there as well.
Speaker 2: 03:36 Okay. Um, so and um, from what I've heard, we have the grades, um, a base of support in this area. So we have a fair amount of people that are familiar with philanthropy at wake forest baptist health and participate and support the organization. That's correct.
Speaker 3: 03:52 Absolutely. We have a terrific community that's very, very committed to the things that are happening here. Uh, it's lots of fun to engage with them because they're very passionate about, about healthcare and about wake forest and we're excited about that. We have lots of different ways that we engage the community. So during the course of the year we have a variety of different events and activities. Some of those are fundraising events and some of those are just opportunities like our Dean's Forum, uh, for the community to learn more about the research that goes on here. Uh, so they really can be part of that entire set of missions.
Speaker 2: 04:30 Gotcha, Gotcha. Uh, well, so zooming in the focus a little bit now, uh, most people around this area have heard of Brenner Children's hospital is where they only children's hospital in northwest, North Carolina. Right. Um, so, uh, there are different events or campaigns at that, uh, help burner out during the course of the year. And it's cute to see, you know, sometimes we'll, we'll see like your girl scout troop or, or, um, a civic group like that doing, doing, um, different special events or initiatives to help raise funds for Brenner. Is that right?
Speaker 3: 05:05 Yes, absolutely. The, uh, community based fundraisers are really very, very fun and they're important because they do a great job of getting the message out across the community. And the thing that I think I really enjoy most about the community fundraisers is that they are truly born of passion. So, you know, you've got individuals out in the community who really deeply care about something that's going on here and they say, I really want to make a difference and this is the way I'm going to do it.
Speaker 2: 05:36 Yeah. So, um, within Brenner Children's hospital, um, there's several different areas. And specialties. Um, and um, we have a neonatal intensive care unit, often referred to as a NICU. Um, that has been around for awhile. And, um, some people in this area may have seen some of the efforts or, or out in the marketplace. I'm talking about our new neo into new Nate mail. It all intensive care unit, uh, that we're building. I'm just going to stick to NICU instead of saying the whole thing from now on. Uh, so, uh, tell us about, uh, the new NICU project, I guess a little bit and, and um, some of the overarching goals with what we're trying to accomplish. Absolutely.
Speaker 3: 06:20 So the NICU that's here today was built in 1996 and we can say that we've served nearly 10,000 families to this point. Wow. Through that NICU. And, uh, I think everybody in the community would agree that it's been a very valuable resource, uh, for us. And it's particularly important to note that the NICU here at, at Wake Forest Baptist at Brenner's hospital is a, a level four NICU. And that's particularly important because it is, uh, the highest level of care available. And, uh, we provide the support and care for those, uh, young babies and children who need support all throughout western North Carolina.
Speaker 2: 07:08 Gotcha. So, um, I guess talk a little bit about the, the campaign around the new NICU and, um, here in philanthropy, what y'all have been working on and what you've been trying to spread the word about for this specific effort for the new NICU. Cause, um, we're, we're talking here in the near future that this project's going to be underway. Is that correct?
Speaker 3: 07:30 Absolutely. And we're very excited about it. So we've been out in the community for over a year talking about where we were going with this NICU project. And I think the really important thing to recognize about this is this is very much about bringing a whole other level of comfort, support and service, uh, to these young babies. And it's important for their entire family. So our goal is to provide a space where these babies can continue to develop. Many of these babies are born prematurely. Uh, they're in a situation where they need to continue to develop their brain, their lungs, all of their body parts. Um, and, and this is particularly important, uh, to give them a space that's safe and quiet, uh, appropriately lit. Uh, all of those environmental factors make a big developer or a big, um, impact on their development. When you think about the fact that this is still a point in their lives when they're supposed to be in the mother's womb and they're not.
Speaker 3: 08:36 Yeah. So it's, it's important that we provide them a special kind of space and our NICU project will allow us to have 51 private rooms for these babies and their families. Today these babies are residing in wards that, uh, have as many as eight babies in them at a time and there just isn't the kind of privacy, um, and special one on one time that, that it really is important for the families. So our goal in the fundraising campaign is to raise $25 million to support the spilled out of, uh, the new NICU. Wow. Yeah. It's, it's a big undertaking, but it's especially important to have the community support to help us do this, uh, and to help us on the, uh, the build outside. Because if, if we're able to bring that kind of philanthropy to the table, it allows the institution to invest additional dollars in areas such as specialized equipment, bringing the right specialists into the institution, ensuring that we can retain and recruit those individuals and um, to continue doing the research that's so vital, uh, for these, these neonates and uh, having the flexibility to continue investing in all of those activities.
Speaker 3: 10:02 And at the same time provide charity care. It is not unusual that we have families who come through who simply don't have the insurance coverage or the capability, uh, to pay all of the costs associated with that care.
Speaker 2: 10:17 Yeah, that, that's a great point. I'm glad you brought that up because you know, someone is, goes to the website, um, which has givetobrennernicu.org, um, where they see information out in the community. You know, I don't, some people, um, they might have a better understanding of, of what all is involved. Um, but I'm glad you were painted kind of the bigger picture of, of what the support from the community means. It's not if I support, I'm not buying necessarily a lamp for the NICU, but there's so much more. Um, and it's a great that you brought up the charity care part. I'm glad.
Speaker 3: 10:49 Yeah. I think, I think that's really important. While the funds that we're raising here will go toward this NICU project. It really is about being able to continue to provide all of the pieces and parts of that care if you will. Yeah,
Speaker 2: 11:04 that's, and you explaining all the pieces of the puzzle and how they come together is I think really helpful. Um, so hopefully people on the community listening to this, um, will want to find out more information at our websites and I'll shamelessly give it again, it's givetobrennernicu.org and that's an ICU is NICU. And um, they can also call and find out more information at seven one six zero oh seven six seven, which is a three, three, six area code. Uh, but Lisa, if we're, if we're kind of summarizing here, you know, people have different passions in the community about different things. Um, and, and some people have experience, you know, being in a, in a children's hospital or having their child in the children's and we're in the NICU and um, you know, obviously they understand just the gravitas and, and how important, um, uh, the, uh, NICU is with the latest technology and the latest specialists with the most advanced equipment can be. Um, but someone who hasn't necessarily experienced that. Um, what would you say to them if you're, if you're, I guess, providing a charge to the community of why someone would want to, um, find value or, or find this as an important cause?
Speaker 3: 12:24 Absolutely. It's really interesting when we look at the donors who are supporting the campaign. It's quite a mix of people who have been touched by the NICU in some way, shape or form. But a lot of people that haven't, have not had to deal with that experience. And I think the common thread through all of this is the recognition that we're talking about the next generation of this community. We're talking about people who are just beginning their lives and it's important that we invest in them. We don't want anybody to have to start their life with the kinds of challenges that some of these babies are faced with. Sure. And so it's, it's really about ensuring that as a community we come together to say we are about this generation. We want their lives to be full and fulfilling and we can help them get there.
Speaker 2: 13:18 Yeah, that's, that's great information. Um, and Lisa, I guess just one last question as we're wrapping up, um, you know, there's, there's, you know, different nonprofits out in the community. Um, but y'all work so hard. Um, I think to really drive home the point that, um, we do as much as we can with the resources that we have. So if you just want to take a second and speak to the stewardship, um, and how committed y'all are to strong stewardship of the funds that we received through, um, from people in the community.
Speaker 3: 13:50 Absolutely. Thanks for that question because it really is important. We want folks out in the community to really understand the impact that their commitment to wake forest baptist has. So we have lots of different ways that we work with folks once they have become donors. Uh, we have lots of different opportunities through our magazines and publications to share information about things that are happening here. We often will bring donors in to tour different parts of the medical center so they can see their dollars at work. Uh, and then as, as I said, on the research side, there are a number of different ways that we're able to engage our faculty and our researchers so that they can really share the, uh, impact and the science that's going on. And also really translate that for people into action. So when I do this research today, how might it impact clinical care tomorrow? So a lot of different ways, but really about sharing that information. And the other piece is sharing the victories that our patients have. So, you know, we like to refer to our, um, our youngest patients who have moved on from their NICU experience. We call those our NICU graduates. Yeah. And we love to share their stories because it's so important for people to see what they made a difference in. And how they helped someone get their life started.
Speaker 2: 15:19 Sure. Okay. I think that's really good. Really good information. Um, well Lisa, I really appreciate you taking the time to, to be with us today. Um, and um, encourage all the people listening, uh, to our wake forest baptist health podcast. Um, to go to the website, find out more information, givetoBrennernicu.org. Um, there's information about the project, there's patient stories on there that are just really moving and, um, provide a really good framework for why this is so important to the community. So I encourage everyone to check out, givetoBrennernicu.org. Um, so I appreciate you taking the time, Lisa. Just, um, I hope you have a good rest of the month and good luck on the campaign. I hope that, uh, lots of people listening will, will feel 'em feel the connection to make a contribution. Um, I should point out, you know, it doesn't, it doesn't matter what the contribution is, it's, it could be $5, $50, $5,000, $50,000. That's any, any level is helpful,
Speaker 3: 16:23 correct? Yeah, absolutely. Every dollar matters. So if you can give $1, please do. If you can give more than that, that's terrific. Yeah,
Speaker 4: 16:31 because, well,
Speaker 2: 16:35 all right, well we appreciated that time with Lisa Marshall, so, so very much. That was great information. Um, and we are also joined by Dr Elisa Starbuck who is the president of Brenner Children's hospital and she is going to chat with us more about how important Brenner Children's hospital is to our community and what this new NICU project could mean for the patients who visit and the community as a whole. Oh,
Speaker 4: 17:05 welcome. Dr Starbuck. Thank you. Thanks for having me today out where you are. We're glad to to have you. We got a lot of exciting things to talk about today. Uh, lots of interesting facts, stories and some exciting, um, projects that are underway here at wake forest baptist that we're going to talk about. But before we jump into that, uh, Dr Starbuck, if you just wouldn't mind, tell us a little bit about yourself and where you're from and how you decided to get into this, uh, ever changing, always busy world of healthcare. Well, thankfully it wasn't always this ever changing so, well, you know, from a small age I was always drawn to science and I've always enjoyed people. So I guess the two naturally combined health care at some
Speaker 5: 17:50 point. Um, I actually in nursing school found that I was wrong to women and children and always had desire to work with them in some manner. After I finished my undergraduate degree, I always thought I wanted to go back into some form of that and had an opportunity to do an internship after I graduated where I rotated through all aspects of maternal child medicine, labor and delivery, pediatrics, neonatal ICU. So at the end of that time I had a nice experience of all of those. Actually went back to the NICU, was my first choice at another facility and then ended up coming to Wake Forest and started there as well. Okay. Um, well, so how long have you been here at wake forest basketball? Uh, it will be 34 years in DC.
Speaker 4: 18:34 Oh my goodness. Well there you go. So a couple of days. Yeah, just a few. Yeah, a few. So when you're not here at this building, which seems like you're here a lot, what do you like to do in your free time?
Speaker 5: 18:46 Well, in my free time, I'm very fortunate to have two adult children and four grandchildren under six. So I love being an Ana and I love being at the beach with my family. Those are my two pleasures.
Speaker 4: 18:58 Yes. That's a, my two boys. That's their favorite place to go in the world is grandma's House and Nana's house for sure. Um, so, uh, we have lots to talk about today and um, we're going to spend a lot of time talking about our NICU here, um, at wake forest baptist health and at Brynner. And um, I just wanna start off, uh, just kind of, we have a lot of different people listening. Um, just on a kind of a basic baseline level, um, if you talk a little bit about, um, what our NICU exactly is and what services are provided and, and why a baby would need to be in a NICU unit. Yeah.
Speaker 5: 19:36 The NICU actually stands for our neonatal intensive care unit where we care for not only babies who are born early and are very small, but babies who may have congenital defects that we may actually diagnose before they are born through ultrasound or they may actually have conditions that are, that affect them after they're born. So they may be a baby who's born in term and they may end up with a condition like an infection or something else that happens to them after they're born. So all of those babies might need an admission to a neonatal intensive care unit.
Speaker 4: 20:09 Gotcha. So, and um, if, correct me if I'm wrong, but our facility here at Brenner is one of the largest in North Carolina, correct?
Speaker 5: 20:17 Yes, it is. It is one of the largest in North Carolina. It is also the highest level of care. So Nikki's are actually righted from a one to four writing by the American Academy of Pediatrics and we have a level four NICU, which is the highest level of care that can be [inaudible]
Speaker 4: 20:32 provided. Okay. And, um, our current facility has been around since when 1996. Correct?
Speaker 5: 20:39 yeah. 1996 is when we moved into the current facilities. And at that time it was state of the yard from a facility standpoint. Um, but it's been a while since 1996. So tell me about it. Yeah. And as you can imagine, many things have changed since 1996 and the way we provide care to children, the way we parent our technologies, certainly all the things that we would like to do or
Speaker 4: 21:05 research. We've learned a lot of things since 1996. Sure, sure. Um, and that's one of the great benefits. Um, I think of of being, uh, we're not only working here at wake forest baptist, but um, if you, uh, have to be a patient, um, using our facility, uh, just the tie to the academic medical center and what all that brings, um, to the clinical side of things is really interesting.
Speaker 5: 21:32 I would totally agree. It is just, um, something that perhaps if you're working here every day you may take for granted, but we will often work side by side with people who were making discoveries everyday that are impacting children across the country. Um, we constantly take research efforts into our clinical care and make changes quite quickly. We're doing research here that others are looking to for changes in their own neonatal intensive care units. We have the leaders here who are [inaudible]
Speaker 4: 22:02 doing that research. Okay. So, um, if someone has to come into our NICU presently, just give us a quick snapshot of what that looks like right now. If someone comes into our facility, what would they expect?
Speaker 5: 22:15 Yeah. As you can imagine this one of them as frightening times for a family. Sure. Yeah. Our families don't think about coming to a neonatal intensive care. They think about bringing home a newborn that's, that's healthy. So when they enter into our facility today, they are quite surprised to learn that their baby is not in a private room much like an adult would be. Or even our pediatric patients they come into today. What is an open unit consisting of a four bays, which may have about eight patients in each of those open bay like wards. Okay. So there's about four feet in between each infant. So there's not a lot of private space at all. You completely can see what's going on with all of those patients at any moment in time. And if you visiting with your own baby, you are on kind of a bar height type stool most of the day for sitting by your baby's bedside. Okay. And if you want to get your baby out to hold your baby or feed your baby or provide skin to skin contact, which is what we do a lot these days, to have any privacy, you would have to have the nursing staff provide some screens around your small area to have any privacy at all. So it's not what parents expect.
Speaker 4: 23:31 Isn't that what families expect? Sure, sure. So, um, well, uh, we have some exciting information and talk about, about maybe what, uh, how they can experience something different. So, um, we're in the process of,
Speaker 5: 23:46 um, building our brand new state of the art NICU here at Wake Forest Baptist and Brenner. Correct? Yes, we are. We are so very excited. It is just unbelievable that our, our, our babies and our families will have their own private room that we'll have a space dedicated to the families where they can actually have a space to themselves. They can spend the night in that room, they'll have a curtain for privacy, they'll have lights that are dimmable. So if the nurse and the staff are providing care to their baby, they can actually turn the lights down and get some rest. Um, they'll each have a window in their room. There will be one baby in each room so that baby can be admitted to that room from the beginning to discharge. So not a lot of need for babies to move about the nursery, which is the case today.
Speaker 5: 24:34 Gotcha, Gotcha. So, um, with the new setup, I mean it sounds like it's just going to be so, so helpful for the patient experience and like you said, it can be such a stressful time for the families. Um, when, when they come into the new facility, um, it looks like there's going to be, um, really just, uh, the whole environment is going to be different in that the patient is going to just be able to have a lot more privacy and it's um, gonna be, uh, I guess from a uh, exposure standpoint, there'll be less exposure as well to what else is going on in the ward system like we have now. Correct. Yeah. One of the things that's very important to infants, especially that are born early is their brain is continuing to develop, especially when they're inside mom. And we know to control the light and the noise in the environment is very critical to maximize that development.
Speaker 5: 25:28 And when they're in the room by themselves, we'll have more opportunity to do that. So this is going to be very important. Our research tells us that. So we will have opportunities now to control that for each individual baby. It's also an opportunity for families to be able to move in and out of those rooms more freely. Oftentimes families don't feel very comfortable being in the room with lots of other families and they, they tend not to visit us frequently simply because it's not a comfortable area. So I think this will not only enhance visiting, which will enhance that parent and infant bond, which we know also the research helps us understand, increases the process of babies. You know, getting out of here faster, decreases our length of stay for babies so they get home faster to be with their parents, which is what it's designed to do and it's that first place. It's their first home. And if we can create that environment as best we can, that's what these single patient rooms will do for patients and families. I think that's a great point. And I've, you know, it's not like they're, they're oftentimes, you know, the average stay is almost a month. If I'm not mistaken, they're not here, you know, one day and gone the next year here for a little while. Corrects of providing them with
Speaker 4: 26:44 as best environments as possible is critical.
Speaker 5: 26:47 Yes. Average length of stay is 30 days. And that may not sound like a long time to you and I, but if you think about getting up and coming to the hospital every day for 30 days, and oftentimes they have other children that they're trying to get to school or get home from school. Sure. And some patients can even stay as long as a year or so. It's really important that we create an environment as, as, as inviting and comfortable as possible.
Speaker 4: 27:12 Yeah, that's a great point. So, um, one really interesting point about this and maybe some people have, I've seen some things on our website or um, some information in the media, but uh, this is a really, um, uh, a community driven process where people can participate from, from a support level. Correct.
Speaker 5: 27:32 Absolutely. We have been so fortunate in this community to have support from the very beginning for Brenner Children's hospital. And we've had a group of leaders who have gotten behind this campaign to raise money for this new NICU project. And we cannot thank them enough for the efforts and we're making tremendous progress with this, but we still need help. We haven't reached our goals.
Speaker 4: 27:54 Right. So, um, I think what, um, some people maybe look at for, um, community involvement and participating, um, in a supportive campaign like this is, um, some people might think, oh, that's, you know, they're just looking for a larger checks or what I can provide really isn't gonna make a difference. But we really encourage everyone at any level to be a part of this new project. Correct.
Speaker 5: 28:21 Absolutely. Every gift is important and every gift is helpful. Any level can help us make a difference in this project.
Speaker 4: 28:29 Yeah. And you know, I've, I've seen some of the graduate stories, you know, crap. People graduating from the NICU and it's just, some of the stories are, are, um, just amazing. And to see the care that is provided by the staff there and what this new facility is going to be able to provide is, is, um, it's really going to be extraordinary. Um, I think that what we are looking at here is something, you know, from what I've seen online and some of the patients' stories and somewhat of, I have been reading just is really going to be transformative as far as the level of care here at the facility, correct?
Speaker 5: 29:09 Yes, absolutely. Our patients and families are very free often to share their stories with us. And um, as you mentioned, I have been here quite a long time and participated in a clinical care for many years during that time. Um, I currently have patients that I cared for who will now graduate from wake forest, um, this year. So these patients grow up and they become adults and we're just responsible for giving them the very best star that we can hear in the NICU.
Speaker 4: 29:43 Sure. Well, I think that, um, you know, from what I've heard and what I've seen, um, being able to have the setup that we're going to have in the new NICU with the piece, the privacy is they're going to try and set up the rooms and it's not going to be like someone's house but as close to someone's house as possible. Correct.
Speaker 5: 30:01 Correct. And this environment will allow families to bring in personal items too. Okay. The, the space before didn't really lend itself to the ability for families to bring in anything. If a sibling wanted to bring something or if a family member wanted to send something, especially for that patient, we really couldn't accommodate that in the space we had, but this will allow them to create their own space.
Speaker 4: 30:27 Gotcha. Gotcha. Well, I did, um, want to, um, mention before our time concludes, um, if someone is interested in participating, uh, in this community campaign for a new unique you for Brenner and um, like you said, any, any amount is, is great and it's so much appreciated. They can learn a lot more information at givetobrinnerandicu.org, givetobrennernicu.org and there's a lot of great information on there and exciting, um, uh, uh, information about what is to come and, um, how people can be involved and just hear, um, some other stories, uh, from former, from former NICU patients. Um, so we have to wrap up in a minute here. Uh, Dr Starbuck, but, uh, I want to thank you for being here with us today and sharing such an important story about, uh, this, this project that's really going to benefit the whole community. Um, so with that being said, I mean, you, you, you've been here for over 30 years. Like you said, you know, you, you've probably seen, I don't know how many babies graduate from the NICU. Um, you know, any, any kind of closing thoughts on, on what this service will, will mean for the community for years to come
Speaker 5: 31:46 for the community, for the families that we've served in the past. You know, I can only say that they, they would have been very grateful to have an experience where they could have, have some privacy. Um, today, hopefully the families that we will serve with this new facility won't have any prior experience to compare this to, but we will be giving them the gift of privacy and a space unlike many around the country. And certainly academic medical centers do not have the privilege of having private rooms like we're building for these families. Um, the foundation of having Brenner Children's hospital to support this with our specialist here and our Ernie and a tologist and our pediatric surgeons, our families will benefit from this tremendously. So we're very grateful for all the support we have from the community in making this happen.
Speaker 4: 32:36 Well, I really do encourage the community to go to givetobrennernicu.org and look at the information and um, I charge everyone to participate on some level. Um, this really is just going to have an impact on so many thousands of babies, um, for years to come in our community and, and working to make, um, our babies as healthy as possible and, and helping with the family, the family structure and the family support level for so many years to come. So if people have any questions they can call also three, three, six, seven one six zero four, six seven or like I said, givetobrennernicu.org and um, there's lots of information and how to get in touch with us there. So Dr Starbuck, I hope you have a great day and I hope you come back and visit us sometime soon. Thank you. Thank you for the opportunity today. All right, thanks to everyone for listening to this special podcast about Brenner Children's hospital in the new NICU project. Um, I hope you guys have a great day as well and we'll talk to you soon.
Speaker 1: 33:41 Thanks for listening to this episode of the best health podcast brought to you by wake forest baptist health. For more wellness info. Check out wakehealth.edu and follow us on social media. Wake Forest Baptist Health, the gold standard of healthcare.