“We are proud of what it’s going to provide for our community and the kids in our area,” Pediatric Practice Administrator Dawn Tipton said.
After an opening musical performance at Thursday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony by students from University School, Dr. Dawn Tuell, chair of the department and program director, explained the new facilities will accommodate more patients and enable more collaboration between different specialists.
The newly renovated space will include general pediatric medical care, as well as specialties such as cardiology, nephrology, behavioral health, genetics, mental health, social work and nutrition.
Tuell said the clinic and department started small with the facilities, but the need to grow was eventually realized.
“We decided to start small with a postpartum depression screening center. And with that, and the part-time psychologist, we realized the needs of the community were greater than what we could provide,” she said. “We realized all of the emotional needs and behavioral needs that were being unmet in our families were also influenced by things like social determinants, and so we realized we needed to grow our team.”
ETSU Vice President for Health Affairs Dr. Wilsie Bishop said she’s excited to see how the new facilities will serve pediatric patients in the area.
“It’s amazing to think about what the difference in a facility can make to bring people together and provide the kind of patient care that puts teams together so that patients and patients’ families are seeing the expertise from all the health professionals when they come together and they focus on the patients’ needs,” she said.
The renovations were part of a campus-wide effort, according to Dr. William Block, dean of the College of Medicine, who pointed out the lobby’s new mural.
“A lot of the work you’ll see here — the picture behind me — was done by the College of Arts and Sciences. A lot of the pictures in the facility are from other colleges in the university,” he said. “This really was a university-wide project, and it reflects a lot of the collaboration we are trying to see among the College of Medicine and the broader members of the university community.”
The renovated facility isn’t the only milestone for the clinic and department, according to Dr. Gayatri Jaishankar, the medical director for the clinic. The ETSU Department of Pediatrics recently received a National Committee for Quality Assurance Patient-Centered Medical Home certification with a Behavioral Health Distinction.
“We are proud to be the first pediatric practice in the state to receive this Behavioral Health Distinction and offer this new facility to the people of the Tri-Cities area,” Jaishankar said.