WakeMed Foundation Receives $1 Million Gift in Honor of Area Pediatrician
RALEIGH, N.C. (April 5, 2010) – WakeMed Health & Hospitals and the WakeMed Foundation are pleased to announce a $1 million gift to the Just For Kids Kampaign in honor of Dr. Jerry Bernstein’s good works and a close, nurturing friendship between him and his wife and the benefactors, Wes and Janet Chesson.
In his 36 years with Raleigh Pediatric Associates, Dr. Bernstein has touched the lives of countless patients. But as a husband, father, grandfather, Foundation supporter and friend, he has touched many more.
Early in his career, the needs of Wake County children became apparent to Dr. Bernstein. “We saw some distinct holes when it came to the availability of pediatric services in Wake County,” said Dr. Bernstein.
His allegiance to WakeMed took shape when he saw that the health system’s mission mirrored his own. “I liked the fact that WakeMed was, and still is, committed to caring for all comers,” said Dr. Bernstein. Focused on meeting the acute, chronic and preventive care needs of area children, Dr. Bernstein began to bring his ideas to WakeMed administrators. He found that his pleas for children’s services were heard, loud and clear, at WakeMed. “There have always been receptive ears at WakeMed,” said Dr. Bernstein. “It’s a ‘We can do this.’ attitude. That attitude began with now-retired CEO Ray Champ and continues today with WakeMed’s current CEO Dr. Bill Atkinson.”
Dr. Bernstein’s role in shaping the pediatric health care services and delivery at WakeMed and throughout Wake County has been and continues to be dramatic. Among his contributions was the development of the WakeMed Children’s Emergency Department, which opened as the first of its kind in North Carolina in 1997. He was instrumental in helping WakeMed administrators understand the need for such a specialized facility, and, today, the children of Wake County have direct access to specialized pediatric emergency care and WakeMed is the number one provider of children’s emergency services in the state.
In addition to his physician leadership roles as president of WakeMed’s Medical Staff, the Department of Pediatrics and the Medical Executive Committee, Dr. Bernstein was the first chairman of the WakeMed Foundation Board – a position he held for nine years.
It’s likely that Dr. Bernstein’s most impactful contribution was helping to spearhead the proposal to build WakeMed Children’s Hospital – the first dedicated children’s hospital in Wake County. “It is the first WakeMed project that is entirely dependent on funding from the Foundation and the philanthropic support of the community, but it is such an important need for our community as it continues to grow,” said Dr. Bernstein.
Dr. Bernstein continues to lend his energy to the Foundation and the Just For Kids Kampaign to raise $20 million for both the construction of WakeMed Children’s Hospital and the expansion of children’s services. He is chairman of the Foundation Physicians’ Council, and, under his leadership, the Council, Foundation staff and physicians have raised $700,000 for the Just For Kids Kampaign.
Wes and Janet Chesson, long-time friends of Dr. Bernstein and his wife Peg, have generously chosen to pay tribute to their good friends and Dr. Bernstein’s great works for the children of Wake County with a $1 million pledge to the WakeMed Foundation Just For Kids Kampaign. As a result, the new Children’s Hospital Pediatric Intensive Care Unit will be named the Jerry C. Bernstein, MD Pediatric Intensive Care Unit – deserved recognition for a very deserving and dedicated caregiver.
“We’ve known the Bernsteins since 1973,” said Chesson. “What Jerry has done for our children, let alone all the children in the community, is invaluable. Jerry also had so much to do with the formation and growth of the WakeMed Foundation. He first introduced us to the Foundation and to the great things that WakeMed does back in the 70s, when he asked my wife to co-chair the Foundation’s first gala. We’ve been WakeMed supporters ever since.” Janet Chesson echoes her husband’s sentiments and adds her gratitude to WakeMed, “WakeMed has taken care of my son, my husband and my mother, and we have had one positive experience after another.”
“The Chessons’ gift is truly special,” said Jack Radford, Executive Director of the WakeMed Foundation. “I have known Dr. Bernstein for almost 30 years and I can personally say he has been a true champion for children. Wes and Janet’s gift is not only generous, but it pays tribute to a person who has helped literally thousands of families throughout Wake County.”
The $20 million Just For Kids Kampaign continues through 2011. While the hospital build-out is nearly complete, millions of dollars are still needed from the community to cover the costs of the second phase of the project, the build-out and expansion of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
About WakeMed Foundation
WakeMed Foundation is the charitable resource for WakeMed Health & Hospitals, supporting the health system in its commitment to providing quality healthcare to all citizens of the community. The WakeMed Foundation is dedicated to building support for WakeMed Health & Hospitals through leadership development, fund raising and educational awareness as the health and hospitals system meets the needs for quality health care programs and services for all citizens of the community.
About WakeMed Health & Hospitals
WakeMed Health & Hospitals, one of the first hospital systems in the country, is a private, not-for-profit health care organization based in Raleigh, N.C. The 870-bed system comprises a network of health care facilities throughout Wake and Johnston Counties, including: a Level I Trauma Center and tertiary referral hospital and rehabilitation hospital in Raleigh, a community hospital in Cary, comprehensive outpatient centers and freestanding emergency departments in North Raleigh and Apex, seven outpatient rehabilitation sites, two skilled-nursing and outpatient facilities, a 100+-physician multispecialty practice, and home health services. The system includes accredited Chest Pain Centers and Joint Commission-certified Stroke Centers. Throughout the system, there are an additional 60 beds under construction and 41 newly approved by the state. WakeMed also provides management services for Betsy Johnson Regional Hospital in Dunn, NC. Centers of excellence include cardiac and vascular care, women’s and children’s services, physical rehab, emergency and trauma, orthopaedics, neurosciences, home care and numerous wellness and community outreach programs. WakeMed’s team of 7,750 employees, including but not limited to nurses, technologists and medical support staff, 1,000 volunteers and more than 1,000 affiliated physicians serve the residents of North Carolina using the most advanced technologies and facilities to ensure the finest in health care.