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Summer Archives

Jessica Goldberg

St. Louis, Missouri - St. Louis Children's Hospital

John, a public safety officer at St. Louis Children’s Hospital (SLCH), teaches himself

basic communication phrases in a plethora of languages so that everyone entering the hospital

feels welcomed, regardless of language utilized. Julie and her lovable black lab, Izzy, console

five siblings who have just learned that their baby brother is nearing the end of his life. Candy, a

lovely volunteer, rounds on families in the pediatric intensive care unit to supply supportive

resources, an open ear, and a caring heart. Participating in these and a multitude of other

experiences during my summer with the Center for Families has translated the theoretical

concept of patient and family-centered care, which comprised the foundation of my summer

project, into real practice in my own life.


The impetus behind the Center for Families arose from feedback from patients and

families, who continually state that “care, communication, resources and access are inconsistent

and increasingly complex to navigate across my experience at SLCH.” Creation of a Center for

Families, which represents a partnership-based approach to providing collaborative,

compassionate, and supportive family resources, will allow SLCH to close the gap in the

effective provision of patient and family-centered care.


To achieve this goal, I helped construct a five-year strategic funding plan to submit to the

SLCH Foundation. Such an overwhelming task was defined through four focus areas: (1) 

Patient Experience,(2) Education, Innovation and Research,(3) Patient and Family Resilience, 

and (4) Patient and Family Quality and Safety.  My team and I partnered with over 22 departments

hospital-wide (Child Life, Social Work, etc.) to ascertain their visions for the next five years, so

that we could best accommodate their needs in the funding plan. Additionally, I conducted

fieldwork through site visits at three premier pediatric hospitals across the country. It was

inspiring and humbling to discover the incredible work that peer institutions are doing, and my

findings, in turn, enhanced the SLCH five-year plan. Forming connections with leaders also

provides avenues through which SLCH can benchmark as the Center for Families grows and

evolves in the future.


What I will take away from this project is not refining nitty gritty budget details, nor

strategizing with top children’s hospitals. It is bringing a smile to the face of a child with a

hearing impairment upon greeting her in sign language, lighting up a room with joy or providing

comfort during a pet therapy visit, and lending a listening ear to families during personal rounds

and weekly lunches. It is the extraordinary empathy developed and connections formed from a

shift in perspective, such that patients and families are not solely defined by a condition, case

number, or anticipated cost. The stories shared, wisdom imparted, and lessons inculcated through

my time at SLCH will remain at the forefront of my mind as I embark on my journey to become

a pediatrician. Only through partnering and remaining fully engaged with every patient and

family that I encounter will I serve as a guardian of childhood.





Pictured here is a goofy picture of my team at the surprise baby sprinkle we threw for my boss!