Published on Monday, November 20, 2017
Media Contact: Annie Oeth
(Pictured above: Celebrating the Junior League of Jackson's $1 million commitment to the Campaign for Children's of Mississippi are, from left, Children's of Mississippi CEO Guy Giesecke; Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine; JLJ President Heidi Noel; Dr. Mary Taylor, interim chair of Pediatrics; and Dr. Brian Kogon, chief of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery.)
Thanksgiving started last Friday at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, as medical leaders expressed gratitude for the Junior League of Jackson’s $1 million commitment to the Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi.
“We have a lot to be grateful for,” said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. “With these generous gifts, the Junior League of Jackson is making a lasting investment in the lives of Mississippi children. We are so grateful the legacy of the Junior League of Jackson’s philanthropic support of UMMC and Batson Children’s Hospital.”
The nonprofit organization’s gift includes a $400,000 donation to the Campaign in May. Since then, the group has put another $600,000 toward the Campaign’s philanthropic goal of $100 million.
The funds will go toward expansion of UMMC pediatric facilities, which, on Thursday, received final approval by state Institutions of Higher Learning trustees. A ground-breaking ceremony is planned at Batson Children’s Hospital Dec. 1.
The Junior League of Jackson, which, from its start, has rallied to boost children’s health in Mississippi, is grateful to be a part of the future of pediatrics, said JLJ President Heidi Noel.
“The Junior League of Jackson, from its very beginning, has been focused on improving the lives of children in Mississippi,” she said. “Our efforts and gifts are focused on an enduring impact, one that will help children and families now and in the future. This project, updating and expanding pediatric facilities, will do just that, and it is a project we are proud to support through philanthropy and awareness.”
The Campaign for Children's of Mississippi construction plans include an enlarged and renovated neonatal intensive care unit, more rooms for the pediatric intensive care unit, more operating rooms and the creation of an imaging clinic especially for pediatric patients. A new pediatric clinic will make care for outpatients more convenient and comfortable for families.
Pediatric cardiology is among departments that will put the Junior League of Jackson’s philanthropy to good use.
“Having additional operating rooms, more space for critical care and an imaging center dedicated to pediatric patients will only increase the advances we are already making in treatment of congenital heart disease,” said Dr. Brian Kogon, professor and chief of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery.
The Junior League of Jackson is a longtime supporter of pediatric care at UMMC, raising the funds used to construct the Children's Cancer Center, which opened 1991, and sending hundreds of volunteers to Batson Children's Hospital over the years for programs ranging from Rockin' Mamas in the neonatal intensive care unit to car seat safety and parties for patients.
Dr. Mary Taylor, interim chair of Pediatrics, found out just how interested in children’s health Junior League of Jackson members are. Asked to speak to the group about Children’s of Mississippi expansion plans, she walked into the South Warehouse to find hundreds of women ready to listen.
“It was a sea of energized people,” she said. “It was just unbelievable to see all these amazing people focusing on the good they can do.”
Having a facility ready to care for the state’s sick and injured children is vital to families in Mississippi, she said, “and $1 million is a lot of money, and it can go a long way.”
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