In continuing to share the work we do here at Brave Beginnings, we’d love to tell you about our recent grant to the amazing team at Children’s National Health System, and how recently, we’re helping them help preemies thrive.


Children’s National Health System located in Washington, DC, is the region’s largest Children’s Health System. A 54 bed level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, which services the DC, VA, and Maryland suburbs with referrals from over 60 different NICUs in the region is housed on their main campus. This level IV NICU sees over 800 admissions a year, and care for premature and term infants is provided by a team of 10 board certified neonatologists, along with multiple surgical and medical sub-specialists for this unique population.


Children’s National Health System receives patients requiring all levels of care, from Level I to Level IV, all who required a higher level of support, and these patients are cared for by neonatology and pediatric surgery teams. Another special quality of this NICU is that it also treats approximately 150 micro premature infants down to 22 weeks gestation per year, all referred from centers that do not have the resources for their care, about.  In 2015, Children’s National Health System surpassed their average number of admittances to 907 patients admitted, ranging from the 23-week gestation infant to term infants with surgical, medical, or genetic issues.  A family support program, including a Family Council made from parents who had babies in our NICU is a wonderful feature of this NICUs comprehensive care plan, which provides support through review of information provided to parents to assure it meets the parent’s needs, as well as parent-to-parent support and sibling support.  Children’s National Health System’s program also has very active research program, with a concentrated focus on the neonatal brain, understanding cause of injury and developing therapies for brain protection.

However, according to Dr. Billie Lou Short, Chief of Neonatology at Children’s National Health System, something was missing from the already comprehensive level of care offered at the hospital, because of a specific disorder found in preemies and term infants in their population:

Hyperbilirubinemia is a common disorder in our population of both premature and term infants with many requiring treatment with bilirubin lights.  It is not uncommon to have 2-3 lights on one patient. We presently have a combination of lights, both blanket lights and over-head lights, but are lacking the correct number of the Giraffe Blue LED Spot phototherapy lights.  To meet our needs we would need 10 of these “Blue LED” lights are the most efficient in reducing bilirubin levels and are the recommended light to use. Our supply of bilirubin lights are primarily the “white LED” and therefore need replacing.

Since helping preemies and ill term infants thrive is our mission, Brave Beginnings was happy to step in and answer the call for help. After visiting the wonderful team at the hospital, seeing the level of care they provide, and their need for more equipment, we at Brave Beginnings are happy to announce that we granted Children’s National Health System $32,601, which went towards purchasing Giraffe Blue Phototherapy Lights for Jaundice the hospital needed in order to treat patients with this disorder.


Of Brave Beginnings’ visit to Children’s National Health System, Tara E. T. Floyd, Director of Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Nursing said, “Thank you so much for taking the time to come see the NICU and speak with us… we really appreciate all you do to support our patients, families and staff.” We couldn’t be more pleased with having provided this hospital with the funds they needed to help the preemie and term infants of their community survive and thrive. Keep doing the great work you do, Children’s National Health System!


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A member of the team at Children’s National Health System showing us the lights we were able to provide for the Giraffe Omnibeds. Our teddy bear mascot, Doc Clemens also made an appearance at our visit!


For more information about Brave Beginnings’ mission, visit here