Rocking the Roof for Women and Children’s Services
Last year, 4,277 babies were born at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. That number is a point of pride for Pam Beitlich, executive director of Women and Children’s Services at Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, and Abby Olsen, clinical manager of Obstetrical Services at SMH-Sarasota. They’re also proud of the impact their department has on those babies after they leave the hospital.
“We don’t just wave goodbye at the door,” Beitlich says. “We want to deliver those babies into the community and make sure that they’re off to the best start, and that they’re supported,” she says.
Quality maternal and neonatal care is a priority for Beitlich, who has been at Sarasota Memorial for over 35 years. She is responsible for the OB ECC, a 14-bed Labor and Delivery Unit, 30-bed Mother-Baby Unit, a 33-bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and a 28-bed Pediatric Unit at SMH-Sarasota. Beitlich also oversees community outreach and education. Olsen has been with Sarasota Memorial for six years, rising quickly from labor and delivery nurse to clinical manager of Obstetrical Services.
Both women are passionate about their work and deeply committed to patient care. “Getting to witness families transition into a whole new phase of their lives is extremely rewarding and satisfying,” Olsen says. “We make sure the staff has what they need to provide the best care that they can.”
One way they support new moms and babies is through an initiative called First 1,000 Days. This initiative, in partnership with the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation and other nonprofit organizations and healthcare providers, is helping connect families with community resources. These free and affordable services provide families with the support they need so every child can have a strong start in life. New moms also leave the hospital with a wealth of breastfeeding advice from nurses who have received lactation education and certification. Both programs have been supported by Healthcare Foundation grants.
Beitlich and Olsen have been strong advocates for the Healthcare Foundation, with a keen understanding of how donor support provides critical resources to enhance their ability to provide the best care to the community.
“The Healthcare Foundation has been such a willing partner,” Beitlich says. “When we have an opportunity to advance care, they have been there for us.”
Healthcare Foundation grants have helped to give every new mom who leaves SMH, regardless of her ability to pay, the opportunity to give her baby a healthy head start. “We have a lot of single moms. We have moms who have been through some real trauma,” Beitlich says. “When a donor can help us with some of those disparities, you have no idea how much we appreciate it.”
On Nov. 5, the Sarasota community will have a chance to come out and support Women and Children’s Services while dancing under the stars at the Healthcare Foundation’s Rock the Roof event. This 1980s music-filled fundraiser on the top of SMH-Sarasota’s West Parking Garage will feature performances by some of the hospital’s own rock-star doctors and popular ’80s cover band Electric Avenue, plus food and plenty of fun.
Proceeds will support the purchase of new Giraffe beds, state-of-the-art neonatal incubators for premature babies, as well as lactation education and other services for new moms. Rock the Roof will also spread the word about the care that the Women and Children’s Services team provides. “It will be an opportunity to highlight the whole spectrum of what we do here,” Beitlich says. “And it will give donors in the community a chance to see how their support makes a difference.”
Rock the Roof is just one opportunity to highlight Sarasota Memorial’s ongoing commitment to healthcare excellence. “The reason I’ve been at this hospital so long is because there’s always something happening here. We are always striving for new ways to deliver the best patient care to the community,” Beitlich adds. “It’s gratifying to be part of an organization that is continuously doing that.”
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