Few things are more stressful for a parent than having a child with serious health challenges. Managing doctors’ visits and treatments, while helping a kid stay a kid, is a full-time job and can put a significant strain on families.
Ann and Robert Boh should know. Their son Michael faced cystic fibrosis, hearing loss and developmental disabilities, each of which required a distinct set of healthcare providers, appointments and treatment plans. Michael passed away in 2009 at the age of 23. In his memory, the Bohs made a generous donation that will help ease the journeys of other families with children facing health challenges.
Opened in 2018, the Michael R. Boh Center for Child Development fills a critical gap for Louisiana and south Mississippi children facing complex developmental, intellectual and behavioral needs. The Boh Center employs a multidisciplinary approach to care that connects parents with Ochsner’s pediatric subspecialists, nurses and staff all under one roof. This includes experts in behavioral pediatrics, assessment of developmental delays, occupational and physical therapy, speech and language therapy, and more.
“Bringing together professionals across disciplines allows families to schedule appointments with multiple subspecialists in the same day – a major benefit for busy families, especially those who must travel long distances for treatment,” says Dr. Lacey Seymour, Program Director at the Boh Center. A team of physicians, nurse practitioners and rehab therapists provide comprehensive developmental evaluations and link infants to community services. “It’s a program that’s designed to provide not only outstanding care to help these children get better,” says Dr. Seymour, “but also to make the process of navigating resources and information – which can be overwhelming – much easier for families.”
In designing the center, Ochsner solicited feedback from a Parent Advisory Committee. Features such as covered drop-off areas, larger doorways and exam rooms, a therapy gym, healing garden and patient-friendly lighting, acoustics and colors were conceived with family needs and comfort in mind.
There is no other place like the Boh Center in the Gulf South. And the need for such a facility is clear: more than 223,000 Louisiana children have special healthcare needs, and at least one in six has at least one developmental challenge. We are extraordinarily grateful to the Boh family for the trust they have placed in Ochsner to carry on their son’s name – a gift that will brighten the prospects of thousands of children and their families.