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CHKD News Releases

View our archive of past news releases. Media inquiries can be made by calling (757) 475-8839.

Recent News Releases and Stories

Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Contact: Elizabeth Earley: Elizabeth.Earley@CHKD.org or (757) 668-9049

CHKD's NICU First in Virginia to Launch Reach Out and Read Program

Building brains of babies with books

NORFOLK, Va. – Reading aloud is good for the brain and the heart, and even the tiniest babies in CHKD’s neonatal intensive care unit can absorb those benefits as CHKD becomes the first NICU in the state to launch a Reach Out and Read site.

Reach Out and Read is a national program in which doctors and nurse practitioners give a “prescription to read” to patients and their caregivers, in the form of age-appropriate books. CHKD Medical Group practices have been giving them to children 6 months to 5 years of age at their well-child visits for more than 20 years.

Now our youngest patients are joining the reading circle. Several years ago, the Reach Out and Read program gave sites the option to expand to children younger than 6 months, a nod to studies showing neurological benefits of the spoken word. CHKD joins a dozen NICUs across the country in the program that encourages parents and caregivers to read, talk, and sing to their newborns.

Besides encouraging brain and language development, reading aloud allows families to bond with their babies, which is especially important when they begin life in a NICU. Our CHKD staff and “volunteer cuddlers” also are encouraged to read to the infants when the parents aren’t there to give babies meaningful auditory exposure.

"Early language exposure is so important for speech and cognitive development, especially for infants born preterm,” said Dr. Rebecca Dorner, a neonatologist and medical consultant for the Reach Out and Read program at CHKD. “Reading is the perfect way to bring that language to the bedside."

During the past five months, CHKD’s neonatologists, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, child life specialists, and case managers have gone through Reach Out and Read training, which led the national organization to declare the NICU an official site in March.

Babies get a new book, “Welcome Little One,” at admission, and additional books each month they spend in the NICU. They are sent off with “If I Could Keep You Little” when they are discharged. Healthcare providers also discuss with parents and family members the brain-building power of shared reading and offer guidance in making reading a part of daily life to promote social, emotional, and neurological health.

Charlie McCarthy of Chesapeake is one of the early recipients of the board books, which are available in English and Spanish. He came to the NICU in February when he was just four days old, after being born two months early. His parents started reading to him when he just a few days old and still in his isolette. Luke Jimerson, who was also born in February, also has his own set of books in his NICU room. His mother, Sonya Jimerson of Virginia Beach, said his 3-year-old sister has always been read to as well, so it’s a family affair.

The early literacy effort is just one aspect in the neonatal neurology treatment that CHKD has spent decades developing. From leading-edge treatment to brain-focused research, neonatologists and neurologists work together using a multidisciplinary approach to protect, heal, and develop the newborn brain.

More than 500 babies a year come to CHKD’s 70-bed NICU, which is the highest level, most sophisticated unit in the region, offering care from a comprehensive team of neonatologists, neurologists, nurses, social workers, parent support coordinators, therapists, and other specialists. The recently renovated unit has private and semi-private rooms, giving families plenty of privacy for reading and singing.

Considering that CHKD pediatricians also prescribe books, to the tune of 82,000 books a year, CHKD patients throughout Hampton Roads should have sizeable home libraries by the time they begin school.

“Since research in brain development has shown reading aloud helps to build connections between written and spoken words, increases attention span, and enforces bonding, it is never too early to begin that process,” said LaVern Morris, administrator of the overall Reach Out and Read Program at CHKD. “That makes the neonatal environment the perfect place to start children on a journey of success and prepare them to enter school ready to learn.”

Sonya Jimerson of Virginia Beach reads to her son, Luke, in CHKD’s neonatal intensive care unit.

Sonya Jimerson of Virginia Beach reads to her son, Luke, in CHKD’s neonatal intensive care unit, which recently became the first NICU in the state to be a Reach Out and Read site.

Charlie McCarthy finds a moment of bliss as his mother, Erin, reads him a book.

Charlie McCarthy finds a moment of bliss as his mother, Erin, reads him a book.

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CHKD is the only freestanding children’s hospital in Virginia and serves the medical and surgical needs of children throughout greater Hampton Roads, the Eastern Shore of Virginia, and northeastern North Carolina. The not-for-profit CHKD Health System operates primary care pediatric practices, surgical practices, multi-service health centers, urgent care centers, and satellite offices throughout its service region. In 2019, CHKD broke ground on a 60-bed, 14-story mental health hospital and outpatient center on its campus to address the mental health crisis facing our youth. The new tower being built on CHKD’s campus in Norfolk is scheduled to open in 2022. Learn more at CHKD.org.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Contact: Elizabeth Earley: Elizabeth.Earley@CHKD.org or (757) 668-9049

CHKD's Child Abuse Program Adopts New Name to Reflect Accreditation: CHKD Child Advocacy Center

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – CHKD’s Child Abuse Program, dedicated to providing expert forensic, mental health, and advocacy services to children who may have experienced maltreatment and trauma has been renamed the CHKD Child Advocacy Center.

The name change, announced during National Child Abuse Prevention Month, better reflects the center’s status as a child advocacy center accredited since 2003 by National Children’s Alliance. Accredited child advocacy centers like CHKD’s are child-friendly facilities in which law enforcement, child protection, medical and mental health, judicial, and victim advocacy professionals work together to provide a multidisciplinary, collaborative response to children and families when there is a concern that abuse or neglect has occurred with the goal of preventing further trauma and strengthening resilience.

The center has been operated by CHKD since 1998, and cares for more than 1,500 children a year at locations in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and Newport News. Its staff, which includes two board-certified child abuse pediatricians, forensic and mental health experts, provides compassionate, evidence-based care that actively honors each child’s specific circumstances and cultural heritage to empower and support families, and promote justice, equity, hope, and resiliency within our community.

Learn more about these services at our CHKD Child Advocacy Center website.

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CHKD is the only freestanding children’s hospital in Virginia and serves the medical and surgical needs of children throughout greater Hampton Roads, the Eastern Shore of Virginia, and northeastern North Carolina. The not-for-profit CHKD Health System operates primary care pediatric practices, surgical practices, multi-service health centers, urgent care centers, and satellite offices throughout its service region. In 2019, CHKD broke ground on a 60-bed, 14-story mental health hospital and outpatient center on its campus to address the mental health crisis facing our youth. The new tower being built on CHKD’s campus in Norfolk is scheduled to open in 2022. 

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Monday, March 15, 2021
Contact: Elizabeth Earley: Elizabeth.Earley@CHKD.org or (757) 668-9049

CHKD Welcomes Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician

Richard Gerber, MD - Developmental Pediatrics at CHKDHAMPTON ROADS, Va. – We’re pleased to welcome a developmental-behavioral pediatrician to CHKD.

Dr. Richard “Jason” Gerber, a board-certified developmental-behavioral pediatrician, received his medical degree from Carver College of Medicine at the University of Iowa. He did his residency with the United States Air Force in San Antonio, followed by a fellowship at the Madigan Army Medical Center in the state of Washington.

Left: Dr. Richard "Jason" Gerber

Dr. Gerber has spent 21 years with the United States Air Force, caring for children with special needs in all five branches of the military. He has many connections to various resources within the Hampton Roads community, including support groups, medical and therapeutic services, as well as early intervention services.

In addition, Dr. Gerber has a special interest in helping children with special needs make the transition to adulthood, using a variety of community resources. He loves helping parents feel empowered to advocate for their children and helping them create plans so their children reach their full potential.

Dr. Gerber will treat children in the developmental pediatrics program at CHKD. Please join us in welcoming him.

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CHKD is the only freestanding children’s hospital in Virginia and serves the medical and surgical needs of children throughout greater Hampton Roads, the Eastern Shore of Virginia, and northeastern North Carolina. The not-for-profit CHKD Health System operates primary care pediatric practices, surgical practices, multi-service health centers, urgent care centers, and satellite offices throughout its service region. In 2019, CHKD broke ground on a 60-bed, 14-story mental health hospital and outpatient center on its campus to address the mental health crisis facing our youth. The new tower being built on CHKD’s campus in Norfolk is scheduled to open in 2022. Learn more at CHKD.org.

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Friday, February 19, 2021
Contact: Elizabeth Earley: Elizabeth.Earley@CHKD.org or (757) 668-9049

CHKD Welcomes Plastic Surgeon to Craniofacial Center

Yifan Guo - Pediatric Plastic SurgeonHAMPTON ROADS, Va. – We are pleased to welcome Dr. Yifan Guo to the Craniofacial Center at CHKD.

Dr. Guo is a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in pediatric and craniofacial reconstruction and aesthetic surgery. He received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania and completed his residency at Brown University/Rhode Island Hospital-Lifespan, followed by a craniofacial fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Dr. Guo’s clinical interests are cleft lip and palate repair, minimally invasive surgery for craniosynostosis, orthognathic surgery, migraine surgery, hand and peripheral nerve reconstruction, and general pediatric plastic surgery.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Guo. Pictured right.

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CHKD is the only freestanding children’s hospital in Virginia and serves the medical and surgical needs of children throughout greater Hampton Roads, the Eastern Shore of Virginia, and northeastern North Carolina. The not-for-profit CHKD Health System operates primary care pediatric practices, surgical practices, multi-service health centers, urgent care centers, and satellite offices throughout its service region. In 2019, CHKD broke ground on a 60-bed, 14-story mental health hospital and outpatient center on its campus to address the mental health crisis facing our youth. The new tower being built on CHKD’s campus in Norfolk is scheduled to open in 2022. Learn more at CHKD.org.

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Thursday, January 21, 2021
Contact: Elizabeth Earley: Elizabeth.Earley@CHKD.org or (757) 668-9049

Benjamin Goldberg Playroom Brings Music and Light To CHKD’s New Hematology and Oncology Unit

NORFOLK, Va. – Benjamin Goldberg was a boy who loved music, dancing, and life. He also had a rare type of cancer, which he died of in 2016 when he was 8 years old.

 Wendy and Benjamin Goldberg.Thanks to a foundation his mother, Wendy Goldberg, created in his honor, the Virginia Beach boy’s spirit lives on, most recently in a playroom that was named for him on CHKD’s new inpatient hematology and oncology unit.

Right: Wendy and Benjamin Goldberg.

A $100,000 donation from the Benjamin Goldberg Foundation helped create a place where kids can play and explore and feel like a normal kid again, and also experience dance and music therapy, yoga, and guided meditation.

“When you allow creativity in through these healing resources, it can change the story,” says Wendy Goldberg.

Benches along the windows provide a quiet place for kids to daydream, and floor-to-ceiling glass panels provide both light and a viewing spot for staff and families to watch their fun.

Benjamin was diagnosed in 2013 at CHKD with neuroblastoma, a rare type of tumor that almost always affects children. He was known for tapping into music to find solace during his journey, his ever-present headphones transporting him to a place of calm. Wendy Goldberg, a longtime volunteer for CHKD, and former chair of the health system’s Development Advisory Board, wants other children to be able to find the same peace.

The playroom is a feature of a newly designed inpatient hematology and oncology unit that opened at CHKD in late 2020. For the first time, all 16 rooms are private, and also have “positive pressure,” which means air pressure inside is higher than outside the room, so airborne particles in the room are filtered out, to protect patients with fragile immune systems.

The $100,000 donation was the second the Benjamin Goldberg Foundation made to improve the lives of CHKD cancer patients. In early 2020, a $20,000 gift was made to purchase infusion backpacks that allow patients to receive drug therapy in the comfort of their home rather than spending days in the hospital. So far, the backpacks have provided 224 days of home treatment for five patients.

Whether through music, play, or infusion backpacks, the spirit of Benjamin Goldberg continues to lift the spirits of children with cancer and blood disorders.

The Benjamin Goldberg Playroom is part of a new inpatient hematology and oncology unit at CHKD.

The Benjamin Goldberg Playroom is part of a new inpatient hematology and oncology unit at CHKD.

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About The Benjamin Goldberg Foundation

The Benjamin Goldberg Foundation was established in 2018 to empower and support families on their medical journey.

About CHKD

CHKD is the only freestanding children’s hospital in Virginia and serves the medical and surgical needs of children throughout greater Hampton Roads, the Eastern Shore of Virginia, and northeastern North Carolina. The not-for-profit CHKD Health System operates primary care pediatric practices, surgical practices, multi-service health centers, urgent care centers, and satellite offices throughout its service region. In 2019, CHKD broke ground on a 60-bed, 14-story mental health hospital and outpatient center on its campus to address the mental health crisis facing our youth. The new tower being built on CHKD’s campus in Norfolk is scheduled to open in 2022. Learn more at CHKD.org.

 

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