Thursday, March 21, 2013
Administrators of Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR) accepted the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal from the Governor General of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Wednesday. The medal acknowledges exceptional public service, and this is the only time St. Vincent has awarded it to a non-citizen.
His Excellency Sir Frederick Ballantyne, Governor General of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and an official representative of Queen Elizabeth II, presented the award in recognition of Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU providing care to 69 children from his Caribbean nation since 2002.
“I don’t know how we can express our gratitude for all you’ve done for us,” said Ballantyne at the ceremony. “You have made a significant contribution to the development of health care – particularly for children - in our country.”
Ballantyne, a retired cardiologist, lauded Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU’s specialty pediatric care of 69 of its smallest citizens – more than 75 percent of whom suffered from pediatric heart conditions.
In his welcoming remarks at the medal ceremony, Michael Rao, Ph.D., president of VCU and VCU Health System, recognized the Richmond-based nonprofit World Pediatric Project as a close ally that has “shown passion for wellness around the world, helping [CHoR] to provide the care we have today.”
World Pediatric Project and CHoR have partnered since 2001 to provided surgical and diagnostic care to Central American and Caribbean children. In addition to the 69 children from St. Vincent who have been treated in Richmond as a result of this partnership, thousands have been treated on their home soil in St. Vincent and throughout the region thanks to doctors like William Moskowitz, M.D.
Moskowitz, professor and chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology at CHoR and vice chairman of the VCU Department of Pediatrics, is one of World Pediatric Project’s first volunteers and happened to be in St. Vincent at the time of the award ceremony.
“This is the 10th year we have been able to come and screen for congenital heart disease, and I’m proud of CHoR and World Pediatric Project for working together to support St. Vincent’s children,” he told the crowd of health care providers and administrators via video.
After accepting the award, John Duval, CEO of MCV Hospitals, highlighted a December 2012 case in which 10-day-old “Baby Acer” arrived in Richmond from St. Vincent no more than one day before it likely would have been too late for treatment to save the child. Acer and his grandmother were brought to CHoR and to a waiting team of pediatric professionals who worked around the clock to first help Acer gain the strength to undergo surgery, then to perform the much-needed procedure.
“And it’s because of the amazing pediatric talent we have across multiple disciplines – physicians, surgeons, nurses, therapists and dentists – that we can provide such great care to children, whether they are right here in Richmond or nearly 2,000 miles away in the island nation of St. Vincent,” said Duval.
The Diamond Jubilee medal is a commemorative medal created to mark the 60th anniversary of the accession to the thrones of Queen Elizabeth II. Only the United Kingdom, Canada and the Caribbean realms, which include St. Vincent, award this medal. The award acknowledges honorable service, public service or outstanding achievement.
Scott Gullquist, M.D., associate professor in the Division of Pediatric Cardiology at CHoR and World Pediatric Project volunteer, illustrated what it means to him and other volunteers to be able to provide the services that prompted this distinguished award.
“Providing care to these children has impacted each of us personally” he told the crowd. “It’s amazing to treat a child here in Richmond, knowing it will change their life in St. Vincent, and we are fortunate to know that the care we’ve provided has done just that.”
Subscribe for free to the weekly VCU News email newsletter at http://newsletter.news.vcu.edu/ and receive a selection of stories, videos, photos, news clips and event listings in your inbox every Thursday.