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Howard Community College to Break Ground on $49M Health Sciences Building

Howard Community College will construct a $49 million health sciences building to train paramedics, nurses, radiology technicians, dental hygienists, and physical therapists to address a critical workforce shortage.

Construction will begin next spring and end in December 2012. Students will begin taking classes in the 63,000-square foot facility in spring 2013.

Located on the Columbia school's main campus at 10901 Little Patuxent Pkwy., the building includes 28 labs, group study rooms, three conference rooms, and 45 offices for faculty. Students training to become emergency medical workers will also be able to test their skills on mannequins in a "state-of-the-art simulation suite." Funding for the building is coming from the county and the state.

School officials expect to enroll another 640 students in the college once the building is completed, says Sharon Pierce, vice president of academic affairs. Howard Community College currently has 9,000 enrolled students, of which 1,800 are enrolled in the health sciences curriculum.

Student demand for these classes is high, Pierce says. There's currently a wait list to get into the nursing program, but not enough space to accommodate more students.

"We have outgrown our space and cannot increase enrollment," Pierce says.

Maryland is expected to need 10,000 nurses by 2016, according to the Maryland Hospital Association.

School leaders like the Columbia area because the town is suburban yet cosmopolitan, Pierce says. It's also convenient for students coming from either Baltimore or Washington, D.C.

Howard Community College was one of the local colleges that received a total of $11 million in grants from Maryland companies to address the nursing shortage. CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., MedStar Health and other companies also gave money to Anne Arundel Community College, Stevenson University, Towson University, and Coppin State University.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Sharon Pierce, Howard Community College


Sinai Hospital opens $2.3M pediatric clinic

Sinai Hospital has opened a $2.3 million pediatric cancer outpatient center to boost its reputation for delivering child health care services.
The center treats leukemia, anemia, sickle cell disease and other disorders.

It also provides pediatric residency training. The project is part of a $30 million inpatient facility that will take 16 to 20 months to complete.

The clinic moved from its ground floor location to a newly created space near the main hospital entrance, providing easier access and proximity to other hospital services as well as the Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute.

The new space is above-ground with a lot of windows and lights. At 4,800 square feet, it contains five exam rooms, five private infusion rooms and large playrooms for kids.

The former pediatric center was located underground and was less than half the size.

There's a family refreshment area where patients can bring their lunches.

"It's a better atmosphere in every way, " says Dr. Joseph Wiley, chairman of the pediatrics department at the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children's Hospital at Sinai.

The new center contains larger exam rooms and is equipped with electronic health records.

A private family conference room is located next to the clinic and social worker offices which provide a space for learning resources as well as private family meetings.

Wiley says he likes the neighborhood because it's at the junction of Baltimore City and Baltimore County and can attract patients from both.

Sinai employs 4700. The Baltimore hospital is part of LifeBridge Health, which includes Northwest Hospital, Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital and Courtland Gardens Nursing & Rehabilitation Center.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Dr. Joseph Wiley, Sinai Hospital


Sinai breaks ground on new children's hospital

Sinai Hospital broke ground last week on its new Children's Hospital wing. The new wing and associated upgrades and changes that will enhance the quality and efficiency of care, including all private rooms and family sleeping areas.

These additions support the very heart of a family centered care program where the family is recognized as the constant in a child's life. For this reason, family centered care is built on partnerships between families and health professionals during and after a child is treated for a diagnosed illness. Most importantly, family centered care improves and enhances clinical outcomes for children with special needs and provides more support for their families as they deal with the challenges and joys of raising a chronically ill child.

The facility will bring the number of inpatient medical and post-surgical single occupant pediatric patient rooms to a total of 26, including an isolation unit for oncology/high risk patients, with nurse stations and support areas as well as an in-room capacity to accommodate parents/family members. 

The hospital's Children's Diagnostic Center will gain three pre-operative beds, two procedure rooms with sedation/anesthesia capacity, and three recovery/post-anesthesia bays, including one isolation bay, with nurse station, support areas, and family waiting areas. And the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit will add six PICU beds, including 2 private single occupant isolation rooms for high risk patients and four semi-private rooms, with nurse station and support areas. In addition, the Pediatri Hematology and Oncology Unit will gain a total of six exam room rooms and six infusion bays, with nurse station, support areas and a family waiting area.

The new wing was made possible with a lead gift of $4 million in 2007,  and Sinai has raised a total of over $17 million, including $5 million from the State of Maryland, to date.  The following changes and upgrades are planned:

Source: Sinai Hospital
Writer: Walaika Haskins


St. Joe's breaks ground on new Hackerman-Patz guest house

St. Joseph Medical Center has broken ground for the Hackerman-Patz House, a guest house that will offer patients and their families from outside of the region a sanctuary in a temporary home. The two-story guest house will have 10 furnished suites, a fully equipped kitchen, great room, private study and also have Internet access.

The project is expected to be completed by the middle of September 2010. Named for its principal donors, Willard and Lillian Patz Hackerman, it is the third such guest house built in the Baltimore are thanks to a donation from Willard Hackerman, president of Whiting-Turner Contracting Co.

Source: St. Joseph's Hospital
Writer: Walaika Haskins

Weavologist nets new storefront in Federal Hill

Melessa Denee's business card, which identifies her as a "weavologist extraordinaire," extends a pretty enticing invitation: "Come and be blessed by hands truly blessed by the best."

The veteran stylist, who's owned salons in Delaware for more than 20 years and has specialized almost exclusively in weave for more than a decade, believes that her God-given talent obliges her to make beauty accessible to everyone, regardless of their background or their means. It's the reason she's opened Melessa's Weave Palace and Multicultural Hair Salon at 1047 S. Charles St. in Federal Hill, where she prides herself on catering to clients of all ages, genders, races, and sexual orientations.

While the new salon, calming in shades of chocolate, cream and gold, is equipped for four stylists and two nail techs, Melessa can invariably found in the private weave room that affords her clients privacy during their visit. She offers a wide range of procedures, including custom-made lace front and full lacewigs, toupees, and partial and full weaves.

"I've had a gift since I was a child," Denee says. "My mom has shown me the dolls whose hair I cut off, dying it green or blue. In high school I did everyone's hair in the community. I went to college and majored in fashion, but I came back to hair. A needle in my hand is like a pencil or a pen in the hand of a writer. It seems to be so easy for me."

While roughly 75% of Denee's clients are women of color, she says she sees a number of white women suffering from hair loss, Asian women who are eager to try experimental styles, and men who want to fight balding. She mentions a recent Honduran client who had not been home to see his family in a decade and wanted her to cover up the bald patch that had materialized during his years in the States.

Denee has a loyal client base across the country. She routinely travels to see customers in Georgia, Florida, California, and Arizona, and advertises in those areas a week or two in advance of her trip to additional clients. It was while coming to Baltimore frequently to visit her fiancÚ that Denee, who operates salons in Wilmington and Middletown, DE, gained a client base in the city through advertisements and decided to set up a physical location.

Denee, who also sells hair product lines that are hard to find on the East coast, speaks most enthusiastically about her work for cancer patients and individuals whose hair or scalps have been permanently damaged by accidents or surgeries. She has recently been certified to make wigs for people whose hair replacement products are covered by insurance, and she says she looks forward to gaining clients who are being treated at Johns Hopkins.

In those instances, she says, "I know what I do is priceless."


Writer: Lucy Ament
Source: Melessa Denee, Melessa's Weave Palace and Multicultural Hair Salon
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