A new beacon for the health and well-being of children has opened in the heart of West Philadelphia.
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has opened the doors to the $27 million Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pediatric Care Center at 48th and Market Streets.
The 52,000-square-foot facility brings high quality pediatric care and community programs to children and families in the surrounding community.
CHOP officials, politicians, philanthropists and community members recently turned out for the center’s grand opening celebration.
“It’s already clear that the Karabots center has made a positive impact on the community, and I think it will do this for generations to come. It will improve countless lives, open up new worlds of possibility and offer more people the hope that CHOP gives patients and families every day,” Dr. Steven M. Altschuler, chief executive officer of CHOP said during the grand opening event held February 6.
“As we think about health care in the future, centers like this will really be an important part of how we think about improving the lives of children. It’s not only about healthcare, it’s about furthering development and positioning children for success in the future.”
Designed to serve more than 64,000 outpatient visits annually, the center is equipped with 56 examination rooms and rooms for radiology, hearing and vision testing and a phlebotomy laboratory.
The Karabots Center goes beyond providing basic healthcare services to provide families with community programs offered by CHOP including the Community Asthma Prevention program and the Homeless Healthcare initiative. Families can also tap into family planning services, domestic violence education, language services and medical home and care coordination.
CHOP’s Pediatric and Adolescent Care Centers at 39th and Chestnut Streets and 3550 Market Streets will relocate to the Karabots Center.
The facility was bolstered by a $7.5 million gift by Nicholas Karabots and his wife, Athena, through the Karabots Foundation. As chairman of the Spartan Organization, Karabots went from being a shoeshine boy to rising to prominence in the printing and publishing industry.
The Karabots have supported projects at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, The Franklin Institute, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Montgomery Hospital.
“People continually ask me why the Karabots Foundation has focused its energies and capital on projects such as this West Philadelphia facility. My response is that I grew up in South Bronx which was not at all different at that time than some of the underserved and troubled neighborhoods here in West Philadelphia, where our youth face similar if not greater challenges than I did in my troubled youth,” Karabots said.
“Like many here we had to survive and as a result I could not go on to higher education but with the help of institutions such as those we support today, I found a different life with opportunities open before me. Such opportunities both then and now, for our youth, were and still are difficult to achieve without redirection of their youthful drive.”
Mayor Michael Nutter hailed the Karabots for making such a significant investment and thanked CHOP for bringing the new facility to West Philadelphia.
“This center is the tipping point for people to understand that West Philadelphia is a place where you want to invest and more importantly a place that cares about children, that cares about family, that cares about people who live and work right here,” Nutter said.
The Karabots Center will also serve as a core location for CHOP’s medical education program. Every year, 139 residents will rotate through the center as a part of their graduate training.
The new site also serves as the hub for CHOP’s Reach Out and Read program. The national program prepares young children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage children to read together. Reach Out and Read is held at CHOP’s multiple pediatric and adolescent care practices in the CHOP Care Network, including four in West Philadelphia, one in South Philadelphia and one in Burlington, N.J.
For 10 year-old Tian Brittingham-Kershaw, the Karabots Center represents a place that both provides her with health care and cultivates her love for reading. Brittingham-Kershaw has been treated by a CHOP pediatrician and participating in Reach Out and Read since she was a baby. On the day of the grand opening, she was spotted in the center’s Rosenberg Reading Room. The reading nook is outfitted with shelves of children’s books.
“I read a lot. Most of the books that are here I’ve read,” said Brittingham-Kershaw as she held a copy of the childhood classic, Charlotte’s Web.
When she attended Mitchell Elementary School, Brittingham-Kershaw was often called on to read to other children. She’s currently a part of her school’s 100 Book Club.
Her mother, Tia Brittingham is proud of her daughter’s progress in reading and her ability to assist other children.
“I’m very happy that she wants to expand her mind and read. I’ve always encouraged reading. Knowledge is power. I’m very proud of her. I’m very excited that she gets to help other children,” Brittingham said.
She also appreciates having access to a new health center for her three children.
“I think it’s absolutely wonderful to have a facility like this right in the heart of West Philadelphia. I know the neighborhood needed something like this really bad. It’s nice to see such a wonderful facility provided for this area,” Brittingham added.