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Bridging research and care: University's new children's hospital to open its doors April 30

(Photo: Brady Willette) Coming soon to a neighborhood near you: a state-of-the-art children’s hospital in a vibrant package.

It’s hard to miss the new University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital along Riverside Avenue in Minneapolis. With its special anodized steel exterior, the building changes color throughout the day depending on how the light hits it. This material has been used on only one other building nationwide.

Beyond its physical brilliance, University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital will become a beacon of hope for children and their families when it opens its doors to patients on April 30.

“We’ve tried to create, throughout the hospital, little moments of ‘Wow!’—where a child will see something and, even if it’s for a split second, they forget they’re a patient and just feel like a child,” says Russ Williams, vice president of professional services at the hospital.

Special care for special kids

Because it’s affiliated with the state’s only academic health center, University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital plays a crucial role in conducting research focused on finding better ways to treat, cure, and prevent childhood disease.

The treatment protocols and devices developed by our physician-researchers are adopted by community hospitals and pediatricians throughout the country and the world. And because these advances happen here, Minnesota patients benefit from them first.

As a result, families with the sickest children often come to University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital for the treatment they can’t get anywhere else.

Designed to foster healing

Some ill children must stay in the hospital for weeks or months at a time. For these children and their parents, the hospital room becomes the family’s home away from home.

That’s why hospital leaders believed it was so crucial to ask patients and their families what they wanted in a hospital—and then build the safe, healing environment that the kids deserve.

In the new hospital facility, private, cheerful rooms that are 35 percent larger than the national standard include a wall of windows and space for parents to sleep, store their clothes, work on a computer, and fix and share simple meals.

These exceptional rooms are designed to improve outcomes and accelerate healing and can be sponsored by individuals or companies through the Adopt A Room program.

A cheerful environment

Joseph Neglia, M.D., M.P.H., is physician-in-chief of University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital

Outside of each individual patient room, the hospital hallways and common spaces incorporate a “Passport to Discovery” theme, which is meant to tie into the University’s mission of being “Driven to Discover.”

For starters, there’s a large compass mosaic on the lobby floor. Then each level of the hospital highlights a different type of wildlife habitat and animal mascot. The third floor, for example, is “grasslands,” decorated with warm orange-yellow paint and giraffe and elephant animal mascots.

Each habitat theme is reflected in several places throughout the floor—from the backlit scenes that greet people coming off of the elevator to the animal silhouettes on patients’ room signs.

Most important, the new building fills a need for a space that is truly focused on children and families, says Joseph Neglia, M.D., M.P.H., physician-in-chief of University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital and chair of the Medical School’s Department of Pediatrics.

“We now have an outstanding physical space that reflects the quality of care we have been providing for years,” he says. “This new facility lets us offer families a whole new level of service.”

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Because hope can go a long way

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