The St. Jude Baton Rouge Affiliate Clinic at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health is celebrating 20 years of excellence in caring for pediatric patients with cancer and blood disorders. One of only eight St. Jude affiliates in the United States, the clinic was started in 1998 by Sheila Moore, MD, and has cared for thousands of patients across Louisiana over the past two decades and witnessed tremendous growth in its history of impacting the lives of childhood cancer patients and their families.
“It’s humbling to think of how far this clinic has come in 20 years and how many lives our team has touched in that time,” said Dr. Moore. “And it’s incredibly exciting to think of its future in the new freestanding hospital. We treat patients from all across Louisiana, and to know that the changes to come will improve the care they receive and the ease at which they are able to receive it, it’s a win for everyone. I thank God that I am able to leave our clinic as a legacy for future children in Louisiana.”
No organization has done more for childhood cancer than St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. Families from all over the world travel there for state-of-the-art pediatric hematology and oncology care. However, this can require long periods of time away from home, which can be a hardship for many families. The affiliate program allows patients to receive the same level of care, but in facilities closer to their home, family and support system.
In 1998, the St. Jude Baton Rouge Affiliate Clinic opened the doors to its original location on the seventh floor of the Medical Plaza at Our Lady of the Lake with just a handful of staff. Today, the clinic has grown to more than 20 team members – including three physicians, two physician assistants, one pediatric nurse practitioner, eight nurses, a child life specialist, and a supporting team dedicated to caring for patients.
The clinic also moved to a larger location on the third floor of the Medical Plaza and has had to expand further to accommodate the number of patients the team sees. In fact, there were more than 2,300 appointments to the affiliate clinic last year alone.
While celebrating 20 years of life-saving care, the St. Jude Baton Rouge Affiliate Clinic is also looking ahead at the anticipated changes it will experience in 2019 with the opening of the new freestanding Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital. All inpatient and outpatient hematology and oncology services will be housed on the same floor in the new facility – an innovative model for this type of care not found anywhere else in Louisiana.
The St. Jude Baton Rouge Affiliate Clinic recognizes Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month in September as well. According to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, cancer is diagnosed each year in about 175,000 children ages 14 and under worldwide and is the leading cause of death by disease past infancy for U.S. children.
For more information on the St. Jude Baton Rouge Affiliate Clinic or services offered by Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health for pediatric cancer and blood disorders, visit ololchildrens.org/hematologyoncology.