Florida Hospital Unveils New Details, Name for Disney Children’s Hospital

ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 27, 2008 – Officials from Florida Hospital today revealed new details about their visionary plans to shape the ‘Children’s Hospital of the Future,’ which will make a significant impact on children’s health throughout Central Florida and be a model for pediatric hospitals beyond the region.

The plans include sophisticated, interactive technology for patients; accomplished pediatric physicians who specialize in advanced, minimally invasive surgery; and a former United States Surgeon General who will provide leadership for the children’s health and policy platform. Administrators also unveiled the hospital’s new name, Disney Children’s Hospital at Florida Hospital. While The Walt Disney Company has long supported children’s hospitals both locally and around the world, Disney Children’s Hospital will be the first children’s hospital in history to bear the Disney name.

“This hospital will be on the forefront of technology and a model for patient experience that will be truly dedicated to the well-being of children,” said Marla Silliman, administrator of Disney Children’s Hospital at Florida Hospital.

One of the keystones of this visionary plan is the creation of a dedicated children’s emergency department that will be the first in the country to feature Ambient Experience Design solutions from Philips. First impressions set at the entrance, in addition to patient rooms and dedicated play areas, are designed to soothe young patients and their families. Areas throughout the department will feature lighting and design elements to bring the comforts of outside into the hospital setting. Patient treatment rooms will offer animation selections on the ceiling accompanied by soft lighting and music, allowing “escapes” to areas such as the beach or mountains.

“Philips is delivering a captivating and comforting, child-friendly space. We’re incorporating the latest in clinical design and technologies, as well as elements, to provide calming, positive assurances to patients and their families,” said Brent Shafer, executive vice president and CEO, North America, for Philips Healthcare. “In collaboration with Disney Children’s Hospital, we’re aiming to define the ‘Children’s Hospital of the Future.'”

Technology will extend to the in-room experience as well, where the first Interactive Patient Care technology of its kind in Central Florida will allow bedside access to the GetWellNetwork® Patient-Life System® so that pediatric patients can play video games, watch movies and surf the Internet. Parents may also view the latest information on childhood obesity, asthma, diabetes and other topics through patient education videos on the same system. “GetWellNetwork is excited to contribute our Interactive Patient Care technology to the ‘Children’s Hospital of the Future’ at Disney Children’s Hospital,” said Michael O’Neil, Jr., founder and CEO, GetWellNetwork, Inc.

“This technology enhances the patient experience and gives them access to interactive resources that educate and entertain to make their stay as comfortable as possible. With the touch of a keyboard or remote, patients or their parents can view vital health information and communicate with other areas of the hospital to help meet their health care needs.”

Joining the medical leadership of the hospital, Dr. Antonia Novello, former United States Surgeon General, will guide the children’s health and policy platform as the vice president of Women and Children Health and Policy Affairs. During her tenure as the first female and first Hispanic Surgeon General, Novello helped launch the Healthy Children Ready to Learn Initiative and actively promoted immunizations of children and childhood injury prevention efforts.

Also joining the hospital’s staff are Dr. Bryan C. Weidner and Dr. Christopher M. Anderson, who will provide advanced surgical services including minimally invasive procedures for pediatric patients. Minimally invasive surgeries require fewer incisions, reducing blood loss and hastening patient recovery. Weidner is board certified in general surgery, surgical critical care and pediatric surgery. Anderson is board certified in general surgery and board eligible in pediatric surgery.

“The addition of Dr. Novello to our staff is a real coup for Disney Children’s Hospital and the children of Central Florida and beyond,” Silliman said. “In addition, the skill and expertise of renowned pediatric surgeons and the Nicholson Center for Surgical Advancement will help keep us on the leading edge of surgical technology.” The new dedicated lobby and entrance for Disney Children’s Hospital is expected to open in mid-2009. The three-level lobby designed by Walt Disney Imagineers will feature several of the most beloved Disney characters from “The Little Mermaid,” “The Lion King,” “Brother Bear” and “The Jungle Book.”

“Walt Disney World Resort is committed to the dreams of children in our community, and we’re pleased to lend some of our magic to Disney Children’s Hospital at Florida Hospital,” said Shannon McAleavey, senior vice president of Public Affairs for Walt Disney World Resort.” This will be a special place that will enable children to use their imaginations in a unique, immersive environment that will contribute to their overall health and healing.”

In the lobby, children of all ages will be able to draw individual markings on a cave wall, create jungle sounds on musical step pads, fish for virtual salmon, or play in a magical world of popping bubbles and dancing sea horses. And each night as the sun sets, the lobby will transform into a celestial display as unique as each child, featuring constellations on the ceiling and a musical score created by the young patients.

“The partnership between Florida Hospital and Disney demonstrates that Central Florida is quickly becoming known just as much for medicine and science as it is for its thriving tourism industry,” said Lars Houmann, president of Florida Hospital and chairman of bioOrlando. “We believe Disney Children’s Hospital will provide the blueprint for other children’s hospitals in the future.”

Disney Children’s Hospital at Florida Hospital is currently undergoing construction and renovation, which is expected to be completed by 2010. The project continues to rely on the generous philanthropic support of the community.

When complete, the seven-story, 200-bed hospital will have family-centered pediatric rooms; a first-of-its-kind, dedicated pediatric Emergency Department featuring ambient lighting; an Advanced Center for Pediatric Surgery led by renowned surgeons; destination pediatric programs including advanced surgery, oncology, neurosurgery, cardiology, transplant services and full-service pediatrics; and an innovative Health and Obesity platform.



Debra Martin Koma wrote about food, travel and lifestyle issues for a number of local and national publications before she fell in love with Walt Disney World on her first visit — when she was 34! She's returned to her Laughing Place more times than she can count in the ensuing years, and enthusiastically shares her passion with readers of AllEars.Net and AllEars®. Deb also co-authored (along with Deb Wills) PassPorter's Open Mouse for Walt Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line, a travel guide designed for all travelers to Walt Disney World who may require special attention, from special diets to mobility issues.

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