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

Friday, October 18, 2019
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CHKD Provides Accessible Trick-or-Treating at the 2019 Fall Fest

CHESAPEAKE, Va. – Kids with special needs and their families are the focus of a Fall Fest on Saturday, October 26, from 1 to 4 p.m. The Fall Fest is being held in partnership with Chesapeake Parks, Recreation and Tourism’s Therapeutic Recreation program.

At this free community event, children with special needs and mobility issues can trick-or-treat in an accessible, indoor “neighborhood” made of cardboard houses decorated by local businesses and organizations.

“Our patients have varied abilities and needs, so our accessible, family-friendly trick-or-treating will be for both sweet treats and other prizes,” says Dr. Charles Dillard, a pediatric physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at CHKD. “The Fall Fest is all about creating a safe, stress-free environment for our kids to participate in holiday celebrations.”

Kids are invited to come in costume and decorate their wheelchairs or adaptive devices, and can enjoy fall games and activities like pumpkin decorating, live entertainment, and a photo booth. Members of the media are invited to cover this event. Please RSVP by October 25.

When: Saturday, October 26, 1 – 4 p.m.
Where: River Crest Community Center, 1001 River Walk Parkway, Chesapeake, Virginia

News Releases_Fall Fest 2019

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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.

About Chesapeake Parks, Recreation and Tourism’s Therapeutic Recreation program

The City of Chesapeake Parks, Recreation and Tourism has been serving the citizens of Chesapeake with special needs for over 30 years. Certified staff are dedicated to maintaining an atmosphere that empowers participants to enjoy life and reach their goals every day. Recreational therapists work with clients to restore motor, social, and cognitive functioning; build confidence; develop coping skills; and integrate skills learned in treatment settings into community settings. Intervention areas vary widely and are based upon client interests. Examples of intervention modalities include creative arts (e.g., crafts, music, dance, drama, among others), sports, adventure programming, dance/movement, and leisure education.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Contact: Elizabeth Earley - (757) 668-9049 (office) or Elizabeth.Earley@CHKD.org

Renovated Rehab Unit at CHKD Opens with "ZeroG" Technology

NORFOLK, Va. – The state’s only inpatient pediatric rehabilitation center will unveil a major renovation this week that features “ZeroG” technology, a robotic body-weight support device that will help children at CHKD gain the balance and strength to stand and walk after injuries and illnesses.

That’s just one feature of a year-long, $3.7 million renovation project that brings leading-edge technology to patients who are recovering from conditions such as traumatic brain injury, strokes, car accidents, and spinal injuries. The device will also help patients recovering from surgery and those with chronic conditions like cerebral palsy and developmental delays.

The ZeroG system, developed by Aretech, will hold and support patients from a robotic device that glides across an overhead track the length of a therapy gym ceiling, allowing patients to practice walking, going up stairs, and going from sitting to standing, without fear of falling. The system also can be adjusted to allow gradually more weight to be borne by the patient as they regain strength.

The “Soar” theme of the renovated unit includes U.S. Navy “Blue Angels” plane formations on the walls, and nurse stations that look like aircraft hangars, along with “runway” hallways with markers to motivate patients to walk and wheel themselves greater distances.

Navy pilots and former rehabilitation patients will join current patients, staff, and CHKD officials to celebrate the grand opening at noon on Thursday, October 17.

The rehabilitation inpatient unit treats more than 100 patients a year, who stay an average of three to four weeks. People come from all over the commonwealth and neighboring states. The renovated unit has eight private rooms with patient lifts that are attached to the ceiling and move along a track to the bathroom, for the safety of patients and staff. Patients began moving into the rooms in late August, but the therapy gym was only recently completed.

A suite of rooms simulates a home-like setting where patients can learn how to do daily activities like cooking, laundry, and dressing. One of the bathrooms looks like one you’d find in a regular house instead of a hospital so patients can prepare to transition home.

“The state-of-the-art technology on the unit aims to optimize functional recovery and independence for our patients,” said Dr. Katrina Lesher, medical director of CHKD’s physical medicine and rehabilitation program.

Members of the media are invited for tours of the unit during the grand opening. Please call or email Elizabeth Earley, elizabeth.earley@chkd.org or (757) 477-7286 in advance, if you will be attending, to meet in the lobby for an escort to the unit.

News Releases_Renovated Rehab Unit

CHKD Physical Therapist Michael Graham guides 5-year-old Lucas Guinn through a physical therapy session using ZeroG technology at CHKD's newly renovated therapy gym. The CHKD patient is relearning to walk after suffering a stroke in September.

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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. Learn more at CHKD.org.

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Thursday, September 26, 2019
Contact: Elizabeth Earley - Elizabeth.Earley@CHKD.org or (757) 668-9049

Anthem LemonAid Stands Raise $95,200 for CHKD

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – Hundreds of children and their families "put the squeeze" on childhood cancer this summer by selling lemonade to earn more than $95,200 for CHKD's cancer program.

More than 600 stands popped up all over Hampton Roads during Anthem LemonAid weekend, during which Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield raised both awareness and funds for the fight against childhood cancer at CHKD.

To support the success of each LemonAid stand, participants received a free LemonAid kit that included lemonade mix, cups, a pitcher, signs, and more. Lemonade was sold for a $1 donation with 100 percent of local proceeds going to CHKD’s cancer program.

Six-year-old Gideon Thompson of Chesapeake raised $357.96 with the help of family, friends, and classmates. Gideon, pictured below, was diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was 1 year old, and received treatment at CHKD. He now regularly raises money for CHKD's cancer program.

News Releases_LemonAid Gideon 2019

About CHKD’s cancer program

CHKD follows 500 local childhood cancer patients, ranging in age from newborns to survivors in their mid 20s. Nearly 70 new cases are diagnosed each year. The CHKD team of pediatric oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, pediatric oncology nurses, and nurse practitioners provide the nation’s most up-to-date treatments through CHKD’s participation in the world’s largest cancer research consortium. Learn more at CHKD.org/Cancer.

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.  

About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Virginia

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of Anthem Health Plans of Virginia, Inc. (serving Virginia excluding the city of Fairfax, the town of Vienna and the area east of State Route 123). Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and its affiliate, HealthKeepers, Inc., are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Anthem® is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Virginia is available at Anthem.com.

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Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Contact: Elizabeth Earley - (757) 668-9049 or Elizabeth.Earley@CHKD.org

CHKD to Launch Construction of $224 Million Mental Health Hospital

The 14-story facility will ease statewide shortage of children’s psychiatric beds

WHAT: Groundbreaking ceremony for CHKD mental health hospital.
WHEN:
10:30 a.m., Tuesday, September 17, 2019.
WHERE:
400 Gresham Drive, Norfolk.
SPEAKERS:
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam; Virginia House Speaker Kirk Cox; Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander; CHKD President and CEO Jim Dahling; Eric and Michelle Peterson, mental health advocates; Lighting the Way Campaign Chair John Lawson II; and CHKD Health System Board of Directors Chair Chris Neikirk.

NORFOLK, Va. – Gov. Ralph Northam will join state and local legislators, community leaders, and CHKD officials at a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday, September 17, to launch a $224 million mental health hospital expected to transform mental health care for children across the state.

The 14-story building on Gresham Drive will be the centerpiece of a bold new initiative that will provide a full spectrum of mental health care for children, filling a critical gap in a statewide shortage of pediatric mental health services.

Northam, a pediatric neurologist at CHKD before becoming governor, will be the keynote speaker at the ceremony that will showcase plans for the mental health hospital. The 60-bed facility will offer a new level of care, standing out among the nation’s top pediatric mental health hospitals, with innovative patient- and family-centered design, research-based treatments, academic training programs for the next generation of child psychiatrists, and unparalleled support and community involvement. All inpatient rooms will be private, with sleeping accommodations for a parent. Other facility highlights include an outdoor recreation area, an indoor gym, a music room and recording studio, a rooftop garden, a soothing multi-sensory room and family lounge areas.

The facility, scheduled to open in 2022, will also provide outpatient therapy and a “partial hospitalization” program that provides intensive care to children who will spend most of the day at the hospital, but still reside at home.

Nationally, 20 percent of children have a diagnosable mental health condition. At CHKD, the number of outpatient therapy visits and mental health consultations increased by 300 percent over a recent three-year period. Virginia's only state mental health hospital for children, Commonwealth Center for Children & Adolescents in Staunton, has seen an alarming increase in demand. An increasing number of children who turned to CHKD for care waited days for a bed or even left the state to find care.

CHKD will focus programming on children who have the hardest time finding treatment, including children with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders as well as children with eating disorders, chronic medical and co-occurring mental illness, and children ages 2 to 5.

CHKD has a long history of stepping in to close gaps in the care of children in this community. The mental health crisis facing our community is no different. As daunting as it is to create a new system of care for these children in need, CHKD is committed to lighting the way toward healing, not just in our community, but for children everywhere.

“This is what CHKD has done throughout its history,” CHKD President and CEO Jim Dahling said. “Identify needs, and craft visionary solutions that make this health system a true champion of the children.”

News Releases_MH Groundbreaking

Artist’s rendering of the exterior of CHKD’s new mental health hospital.
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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.

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Thursday, September 05, 2019
Contact: Elizabeth Earley - (757) 668-9049 or Elizabeth.Earley@CHKD.org

CHKD Welcomes New Psychiatrists to Mental Health Staff

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters is pleased to welcome two new psychiatrists, Dr. Anisha Garg and Dr. David Meyer, to its mental health program during a time of unprecedented growth in demand for psychiatric services.

Dr. Anisha Garg earned her medical degree from the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine in Cupecoy, St. Maarten. She did her residency at Temple University in Philadelphia, and her fellowship at Virginia Commonwealth University Health System in Richmond, Va.

From a young age, Dr. Garg was interested in helping children. Throughout medical school, she was torn between specializing in pediatrics or psychiatry. Finally, she decided to combine the two. She enjoys working with children and their families and using a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach to mental health care.

Dr. David Meyer earned his degree in osteopathic medicine from Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, Calif. He did his residency in family medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in Richmond, Va. He completed a residency in psychiatric medicine at the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville, Va., where he also completed a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry.

Dr. Meyer was previously a psychiatrist at the Commonwealth Center for Children and Adolescents in Staunton, Va., and at Augusta Psychological Associates in Fishersville, Va. His clinical interests include autism spectrum disorders, childhood psychosis, mental health issues in athletes, eating disorders, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

News Releases_Garg  News Releases_Meyer
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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.

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(757) 668-6960