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Leaders from Yale New Haven Hospital, Yale New Haven Children's Hospital and Yale School of Medicine and key supporters joined in the Dec. 7 groundbreaking for the Children's Hospital's new Neonatal Intensive Care and Obstetrical Services units. The project will transform care for women and babies

Hospital and physician leaders, employees and guests gathered Dec. 7 to kick off a major project that will create a new home for Neonatal Intensive Care and Obstetrical Services at Yale New Haven Children's Hospital.

Participants used sledgehammers to break down the first wall at the event, the start of a project that will transform care for women and babies. "This project will support our vision to offer the best in family-centered care, pioneering research and powerful therapies," said Cynthia Sparer, senior vice president, Operations, Yale- New Haven Hospital, and executive director, YNHCH.

A team of medical, nursing, ancillary and support services leaders and staff collaborated in planning the new services. They worked to design facilities where specialists will provide the most advanced treatment for women with high-risk pregnancies and babies requiring intensive care, and develop new maternity services for healthy mothers and newborns.

The new facilities also promote patient- and family-centered care in an environment that supports the healing process. The project will include:

  • A new, advanced Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NNICU) on WP 10. The new unit will include single patient rooms and couplet care rooms, making YNHCH one of a handful of U.S. hospitals with patient rooms designed for postpartum mothers and their sick newborns. The NNICU will also include a full OR, MRI and pharmacy.
  • A Mother-Baby Unit with single-family rooms, allowing parents to stay comfortably with their babies and offering quiet and privacy in a home-like environment.
  • Expansion of the Labor and Birth Unit from 20 to 26 beds, including rooms with labor tubs for water therapy.
  • Relocation of the Maternal Special Care Unit to the same floor as Labor and Birth, providing immediate access to specialized care for mothers experiencing difficulties during pregnancy.
  • Construction of enlarged ORs to better support complex deliveries.

The project will involve floors 4, 8, 10 and 11 of the York Street Campus West Pavilion. The first phase is scheduled to begin on 8 West in mid-January. To accommodate the work, the Children's Transplantation Unit has moved to SP 7 and the Adult Surgery Unit will move to EP 6-5 and Main 6 at the Saint Raphael Campus.

Speakers at the groundbreaking included Karen Pritzker, the project's lead donor, who remarked on the real need for new facilities to support care for some of the hospital's most fragile patients. That need, she said, is evidenced by the many physicians and staff who have made personal financial commitments to the project.

Inspired by the care his daughter received in the NNICU 23 years ago, Tim Coleman, another major donor, also spoke. He said he visited the NNICU before the groundbreaking and was thrilled to talk with many of the nurses who cared for his daughter years ago.

"Yale New Haven Children's Hospital has always provided world-class obstetrical and neonatal care, but today we're better attuned to the needs of our patients and their families and the environmental factors that influence the healing process," Sparer said. "With this project, we will create one of the most advanced, safe and welcoming maternal care and neonatal units in the country."
The Dec. 7 launch coincided with the First for the Future fundraising campaign to support the NNICU/Obstetrical Services project. For information on donating, visit, call 203-688-4035 or email Michelle.D'[email protected].