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Published: Sep 26, 2007

By Tampa General Hospital


Nonprofit Alliance Will Help 53 Hospitals in 47 U.S. Cities Care for Seriously Ill and Injured Kids. Childhood Obesity, Injury Prevention are Priorities Tampa (September 26, 2007) - Leaders of St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, Tampa General Hospital’s Children’s Medical Center and Shriners Hospitals for Children-Tampa today announced their involvement in a new nonprofit foundation, Together for Kids™, which will raise funds nationally to help cope with dramatic increases in the health needs of children. The local announcement was in conjunction with a press conference held today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. for the launch of Together for Kids. “Children in the Tampa Bay area and all across America are facing increasing challenges to their health and well-being—challenges that include the growing numbers of uninsured kids, the steadily climbing statistics on childhood obesity and the staggering toll of unintentional injuries,” said St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital Administrator Michael Aubin. “We’re delighted to be part of this exciting new initiative and its mission to rally more resources to improve children’s health in the United States.” Children’s Health Problems Increasing, Funding Not Keeping Pace Since the 1980s, the percentage of overweight children has jumped from six percent to 18 percent, the number of children with asthma has doubled, and the number of uninsured children has risen to more than 11 percent of all kids. “The needs of caring for America’s children are increasing, but funding for pediatric centers is not keeping pace,” said Robin DeLaVergne, Executive Director Tampa General Hospital Foundation. “Together for Kids has been created to support the critical work of caring for seriously ill and injured kids, and to make a focused effort on the issues of childhood obesity and injury prevention.” Helping Children’s Hospitals Help Kids Together for Kids consists of 34 children’s hospitals and hospital systems, representing 53 individual facilities serving children in 47 U.S. cities. The network includes major university teaching hospitals, pediatric departments within hospitals, and children’s hospitals in communities of all sizes. The alliance also includes the 20 Shriners Hospitals for Children across the country that provide specialty medical care to children with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate, all at no charge. Together for Kids, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) public charity, will raise funds through corporate sponsorship, events, grants and other forms of philanthropy, distributing the funds to member hospitals to address the most urgent children’s health needs in their communities. In April 2008, St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, Tampa General Hospital and Shriners Hospitals for Children-Tampa will participate in Together for Kids’ first annual national fundraising campaign, Come Out to Play!—a month-long series of events around the country to raise funds for hospitalized children and to encourage kids and families to take part in active play that’s healthy and safe. A variety of other nonprofit organizations focused on children have stepped forward to support the launch of Together for Kids. Supporting partners include the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ), the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the Child Life Council, Parents’ Action for Children, Docs for Tots, the Emergency Nurses Association, the Children’s Organ Transplant Association and the Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nurses Division of the International Society of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses. Targeting Childhood Obesity, Injury Prevention Pediatric specialists from the Together for Kids hospitals who make up its Physicians Advisory Committee have prioritized the issues of childhood obesity and injury prevention as critical challenges where the member hospitals will work together to make a real difference. To address childhood obesity, Together for Kids will collaborate with NICHQ to seek grant funding to create a unique national pediatric database—the Pediatric Obesity Outcomes Link (POOL)—focused on measuring and improving outcomes in child and adolescent obesity prevention programs. “While the problem of childhood obesity is well-recognized, there is a lack of solid, long-term scientific data on outcomes,” said St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital Administrator Michael Aubin. “This collaboration between NICHQ and Together for Kids can make a real difference in fighting this epidemic. St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital works locally to address this issue, and we look forward to collaborating with the entire network of Together for Kids hospitals to advance the quality of care for childhood obesity.” “We are pleased with the opportunity to work with children's hospitals from all over the us not only to spotlight the need to support children's healthcare but also on the prevention of accidents a leading cause of injuries in children,” said Robin DeLaVergne Executive Director of The Tampa General Hospital Foundation.  “As a Level I trauma center and pediatric referral center we see many serious accidents that could be prevented.  I'm confident that Together for Kids will become a powerful advocate for children.” About Together for Kids Together for Kids is a national alliance of children’s hospitals and other hospitals serving children, dedicated to building a healthier future for America’s kids. The organization provides an urgently needed national fundraising mechanism for its member hospitals, helping them care for seriously ill children and tackle the toughest health issues facing all kids, with a focus on childhood obesity and injury prevention. About St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital As Tampa’s first dedicated children’s hospital, St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital is designed to meet the unique needs of children and their families by providing high-tech pediatric health care in a family-centered, child-friendly environment. Offering medical experts in more than 30 subspecialties, SJCH offers expertise in complex pediatric surgeries, intensive care for children and babies, complex cardiac and cancer services and a state-certified pediatric trauma center. St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital is located at 3001 West Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. About Tampa General Hospital Tampa General Hospital’s Children’s Medical Center is designed just for pediatric patients and their families. Our dedicated team of healthcare professionals is committed to caring for children and provides a comprehensive range of medical, surgical and rehabilitative services for infants, children, and adolescents. Tampa General Hospital is an 877-bed acute care hospital and is the only Level 1 trauma center on the west coast of Florida. It is the primary teaching hospital for the University of South Florida College of Medicine. Tampa General Hospital is located at 2 Columbia Drive. About Shriners Hospital for Children-Tampa Shriners Hospitals for Children is a one-of-a-kind international network of 22 hospitals dedicated to providing specialty pediatric care, innovative research and outstanding teaching programs. Children up to age 18 with orthopaedic conditions, burn injuries of all degrees, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate are eligible for admission and receive all care at no charge - regardless of financial need or relationship to a Shriner.  Shriners Hospital for Children-Tampa is located at 12502 Pine Drive.