1/11/21 – Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital marks 10-year anniversary

GRAND RAPIDS, MI —(Mlive) –  Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is celebrating 10 years at its landmark blue building on Michigan Street along Grand Rapids’ Medical Mile.

The 14-story, $286 million building, which has 234-beds and provides treatment to infants, children and adolescents from Michigan and beyond, opened on Jan. 11, 2011.

“Those who saw the need years ago for specialized care for our youngest patients were true visionaries,” Tina Freese Decker, Spectrum’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “Without them, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital would not be the vital community resource it is today.”

The roots of the children’s hospital date back to the 1970s and 1980s when a number of pediatric specialists joined Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital with the goal of building expertise in children’s specialties such as neonatal, cancer and intensive care.

In 1990, hospital leaders and donors pledged $44 million to build the Helen DeVos Women & Children’s Center at Butterworth Hospital. The center, essentially a hospital within a hospital, opened in September 1993, bringing together an assortment of services in one area.

Dr. James Fahner, division chief for hematology and oncology at the children’s hospital, said the new building gave Spectrum the ability to expand its pediatric services and ensure that inter-related specialties were clustered together in one area.

He mentioned, for example, the expansion of the pediatric cardiovascular and open-heart surgery programs, as well as the creation of a cardiovascular intensive care unit.

“To have the ability to deliver a whole comprehensive team of services that before was kind of scattered across various locations in the medical center and even off-site — to bring that expertise and centralize it in one location just really added so much to the safety and efficiency of care,” Fahner said.

Having a dedicated children’s hospital building also helps with the recruitment of pediatric physicians and specialists, he said. It has also helped spark collaborations with other institutions along the Medical Mile such as the Van Andel Institute and Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine.

“We really took a very prominent and very strategic place along Medical Mile with those other capabilities in a way that we were not able to do before,” Fahner said.

Dr. Hossain Marandi, who took over as president of the children’s hospital in September, said he looks forward to building on the accomplishments that have taken place over the past decade.

“We’re going to push for Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital to become a destination center for care,” he said, noting that the hospital already draws patients from other states and throughout the world.

“We want the quality and the outcomes of the care to be so good that anybody that has a child that feels like they need to get care would feel comfortable bringing them here.”