TCFD: A Month of Discovery

The colors of fall are upon us and we are excitedly basking in all the season has to offer. It’s been awhile since we shared an update on our Children’s Specialty Hospital, and we’re thrilled to announce that the finishing touches are in the works.

Beyond the Specialty Hospital, a new school year returned – with a new school program that spreads our impact even further – and students, staff, and residents spent the month of September on the open water, meeting new furry friends, scouting for new employees to join our incredible 1,700 strong team, and more.

Here’s a look back at what we’ve been up to.

The Center for Discovery CEO Patrick H. Dollard to Move Into Senior Advisory Role in the New Year

The Center for Discovery announced that Chief Executive Officer Patrick H. Dollard, who has led the organization for 43 years, has decided to transition into a new role as Senior Advisor. The Board of Directors immediately named Dr. Theresa Hamlin, its President, to succeed him. The changes are effective at the start of the New Year.

“Patrick is a legend and pioneer who has created a gold standard for the care of people with disabilities,” said Ed Sweeney, Chairman of TCFD’s Board of Directors. “I want to pay tribute to his devotion to the families of those we serve. I have really enjoyed working closely with him over this past decade and the board is delighted he will continue to serve as a Senior Advisor. We have great confidence in Terry and we are excited for this next chapter as we build on the invaluable work The Center does every day to improve the lives and ensure the dignity and well-being of those we serve.”

For the full press release, click here.

Updates from Dr. Terry Hamlin & Susan Sayers During a Recent Staff & Family Webinar

Where in The Center is Dr. Terry Hamlin? A recent staff and family webinar was streamed live from our Discovery Health Center. Newly recognized as a Rural Health Center in NYS, the designation will allow the clinic to offer additional services to staff and families, to better support our community.

During the webinar, Nicole Rizzitiello, Chief of Healthcare Operations, mentioned that the Health Center is furthering its mission to improve access to quality healthcare in the community – that community including our staff and families. Expanded offerings include primary care services, including sick and well visits and routine vaccines, pediatric visits for staff member’s children who are 4+, and dental and mental health services, that staff and their families already have access to. And, be on the lookout for more news about other offerings like OT, PT, and Speech Services. Right now, those clinical services are not in-network, but it’s currently in the works.

Terry was also joined by Susan Sayers, our Chief of Nursing. Together, they shared an update on COVID-19. While there are no broad mask mandates currently in place, we are experiencing an uptick in cases within our local and Center communities. Although we are finding that staff, students, and residents are not getting as sick as they were one year ago, we are still following the CDC and local DOH guidance. For more information on the CDC’s guidance, click here.

Terry and Susan mentioned that hybrid immunity – from the vaccine and also recovering from an active infection – really do provide good coverage from severe illness and hospitalization. For those who need at-home tests, you can get your 4 free at-home COVID tests here.

Additionally, the Health Center is working with our pharmacy to obtain a supply of COVID vaccines, and the flu vaccines will be available soon.

Children’s Specialty Hospital – Opening Soon!

Over the past several months, there has been tremendous progress on the construction of the Children’s Specialty Hospital. This includes substantial completion of twelve inpatient bedrooms for individuals with complex autism; six inpatient bedrooms for individuals with medical frailties; an Article 28 extension clinic for primary, specialty, and dentistry services; a school wing for children being treated at the hospital and local community students; the Alemany Learning Center for education and training; a gymnasium designed to support clinical services; and a café and training kitchen designed to support nutrition education. The certificate of substantial completion was issued in July and finishing details are now being completed. The site work and therapeutic landscape development will continue throughout the remainder of 2023, including the development of a family courtyard, nature trails, therapeutic gardens, and the Food is Medicine® greenhouse.

And soon enough, we’ll start hiring in anticipation of the opening! Stay tuned for more exciting details.

Enhancing the Education Experience Even More for our Community

Last month, The Center opened a new program – the Early Learners and Explorers School Program – located in Rock Hill, NY, adjacent to our Children’s Specialty Hospital.

With a total of nine classrooms, this new school offers a dynamic program that is focused on developing the fundamental skills for the students to eventually return to their home district or local BOCES. Students, primarily in grades K-2 experience highly structured classroom routines that consistently incorporate sensory activities designed to support a student’s participation in academic tasks. The curriculum in Early Learners and Explorers emphasizes early literacy, numeracy, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, executive functioning skills, and more.

Perhaps the biggest accomplishment for the majority of the students is following routine and being introduced to academic concepts for the first time. This is the first successful experience in school many of our young students have had. Although the accomplishments so far seem small, they are huge in reality. And the early intervention they receive can be life altering.

This school program expands even further on The Center’s commitment to the surrounding underserved and rural communities, many struggling with poor health outcomes. Much like the rest of the organization, we hope to provide urgently-needed services to families who are in desperate need of support.

Sailing on the Impossible Dream Catamaran

Nothing is impossible – especially at TCFD and on the Impossible Dream Catamaran where four residents recently set sail. Each year, the wheelchair accessible catamaran sails along the East Coast, offering priceless experiences for individuals with disabilities. This year, the wind and blue skies along the Hudson River were second to none. And the experience itself? Smiles, laughs, and new friendships to last a lifetime!

Thank you to our TCFD staff and to the Impossible Dream crew for making this POSSIBLE!

Tours and More at TCFD

We recently hosted a tour for Dr. Mike Scharf (Mark and Maureen Davitt Distinguished Professor in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry) and Dr. Amanda Laprime (Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Transitional Care Medicine) from the Golisano Children’s Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center. The tour highlighted TCFD’s comprehensive model of care, research program, and the Children’s Specialty Hospital. This relationship advances our statewide relationships, including the ability to share best practices and receive appropriate referrals. The tour was led by Patrick H. Dollard, CEO; Dr. Terry Hamlin, President; Michael Rosen, Executive VP of Marketing and Strategic Communications; Dr. Helena (Linky) le Roux Ohm, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships; and key program leadership from across TCFD.

In addition, Dr. Helena (Linky) le Roux Ohm, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, visited Cornell University to discuss the growing partnership between The Center for Discovery and Cornell. For the past two summers, TCFD has hosted interns from Cornell and we are also working together to advance research. Led by Dr. Nancy Wells, Senior Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education in the College of Human Ecology, participants including faculty members from various departments such as the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research; Food and Nutrition Education in Communities; Human Centered Design; and more. A team of Cornell faculty and students will be visiting TCFD in November.

With Intention – Light

ICYMI – Color with Intention was the first installment of our new, With Intention series. This series highlights why we do the things we do, and why we implement them into our daily work. Next up? Light With Intention.

Natural light is calming for several reasons, and its positive impact on our well-being is supported by scientific research. Read more for a few reasons why natural light tends to have a calming effect – from biological connection, and vitamin D, to serotonin production, and more.

For more information on our With Intention series, click here.

Songs of Discovery for Music Therapy

It’s never too late to start your holiday shopping – yes, it’s about to be that time of year!

With that, a reminder to gift your fellow musician friends ‘Songs of Discovery for Music Therapy!’ You can find more information here, along with links to purchase.