May 22, 2024

Community open house and ribbon cutting set for Thursday

MU Health Care opened its new Children’s Hospital and Birthing Center this week with a series of celebrations that cap off Thursday afternoon and evening with an event with food, games and tours for the community.

The Children’s Hospital and Birthing Center expands MU Health Care’s capacity for care with more than 160 beds and room to grow. It’s connected to University Hospital, providing a centralized location for specialists to collaborate and deliver coordinated, complex care.

“We brought together all of our highly specialized teams, top researchers and advanced resources together in one location to ensure our patients receive the best possible care close to home,” said Richard Barohn, MD, executive vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the MU School of Medicine.

The new Children’s Hospital and Birthing Center also features a warm environment with colors, murals and nature-infused themes to put kids at ease and promote healing during treatment.

“Our goal was to create a family-centric environment, recognizing that health care not only impacts the patient, but siblings and parents as well,” said Ric Ransom, MU Health Care CEO. “During the design process, we spent a lot of time talking to families and patients about what we could do to improve their experience.”

MU Health Care treated nearly 60,000 children in 2023, and one of the new hospital’s biggest improvements involves the tiniest patients by providing private Neonatal Intensive Care Unit rooms with space for parents to spend the night, a therapy gym and separate activity rooms for younger kids and teenagers. There’s also a Ronald McDonald Family Room located on the pediatric floor.

“Kids aren’t just miniature adults, they need specialized care tailored to their unique needs,” said Laura Hesemann, MD, chair of pediatrics. “That’s why the space, the decor, the way we provide care—everything is different in our new Children’s Hospital and Birthing Center.”

The Birthing Center features a calming atmosphere with low-intervention suites, state-of-the-art operating rooms and a fetal surgery operating room. And with the proximity to University Hospital, women will have access to the best services from the different fields of medicine, allowing for easier collaboration for complex care.

“Our goal has always been to offer women options to empower them to have the birthing experience that is right for them,” said Jean Goodman, MD, chair of obstetrics and gynecology. “We are very proud of our international designation as a Baby Friendly hospital—and we have taken great care to design rooms and spaces that help keep mom and baby together as much as possible.”

Several departments have transitioned into the new Children’s Hospital and Birthing Center, with the final moves expected to be complete by June 14.

A community open house and ribbon cutting will take place Thursday, May 23 from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Children’s Hospital and Birthing Center located at 1021 Hitt St. In addition to a building tour, the celebration will feature family friendly activities, food and drinks, and an appearance by TJ.

Guests can park in the Virginia Avenue Parking Structure. Overflow parking lots will include the Hitt St. Parking Structure, Conley Ave. Parking Structure or Turner Ave. Parking Structure. See this campus map for more information.

Contact: Eric Maze,, 573-884-3656.