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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Diamond Center open for business

Hallie Bolonkin / Arizona Daily Wildcat

UMC Diamond Childrens Hospital held a ribbon cutting ceremony for a grand opening of a remodeled space.
Hallie Bolonkin
Hallie Bolonkin / Arizona Daily Wildcat UMC Diamond Children’s Hospital held a ribbon cutting ceremony for a grand opening of a remodeled space.

Employees, donors and community members gathered for the formal opening of the Diamond Children’s Medical Center Wednesday evening.

The event included a ribbon-cutting ceremony and presentations from people who helped create the center. Guests were also given tours of the new lobby that was finished last week.

The center was open to treat patients starting in April. This week marks the opening of the completed facility.

Speakers at the opening thanked donors and the community for their support.

“”Obviously we’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished here,”” said Kevin Burns, interim president and CEO of UA Healthcare, Inc. “”This has been a process and dream of ours for some 10 years now.””

The new medical center was designed to increase capacity for pediatric patients and create an environment specifically for children. The facility includes private rooms that allow patients’ families to stay with them.

“”We try to bring normalcy back to their life to the extent that we can while they’re here,”” said Kent Rollins, president of the University Medical Center Foundation.

Dr. Fayez Ghishan, director of the Steele Children’s Research Center, said Diamond Children’s Medical Center has already improved the recruitment of faculty and researchers. He said the center will not only treat patients but train scientists and physicians.

“”This institution is going to fly high over the United States,”” Ghishan said.

Volunteers at the event lead tours of the completed lobby, which includes interactive features for children. Children can “”chase”” butterflies and geckos on an interactive wall or hear animal noises near a fake Canyon de Chelly.

“”The last thing this feels like is a hospital. It’s bright, interactive,”” said Dr. Andreas Theodorou, associate head of the department of pediatrics in the College of Medicine and chief of pediatric critical care medicine for University Medical Center.

The lobby also has a toy store, café and library with daily story time. A meditation room was built for parents who have children in treatment.

“”That’s a rough environment. Every so often parents need a place to pray, relax or just get away,”” Theodorou said.

Lesley Richards, a UMC patient transporter, said Diamond Children’s Medical Center has greatly improved the environment of the


“”It’s phenomenal. It’s really cool. I love the artwork,”” Richards said. “”You walk up there and it doesn’t seem like a scary place for children.””

The event ended with Donald Diamond cutting the tail of a kite during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Diamond donated the lead gift of $15 million for the center.

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