Main Content

Campaign passes halfway point for new Children’s tower funding

Published on Monday, October 2, 2017

By: Annie Oeth

NOTE: This article originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of CONSULT, UMMC's monthly electronic newsletter. To have CONSULT, and more stories like this, delivered directly to your inbox, click here to subscribe.

Rising numbers of patients mean pediatric care at the University of Mississippi Medical Center must also grow.

Take a walk through Batson Children’s Hospital, and the need is apparent:

  •  a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit built for 30 babies holds three times that number,

  •  increasing demand for operating suites and outpatient care,

  •  Pediatric Intensive Care Unit rooms are cramped for space, and

  •  the lack of an imaging center dedicated to serving younger patients.

The mission of helping children grow up to reach their full potential sparked the Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi, a $100 million philanthropic drive to update and expand pediatric facilities at UMMC. Started in 2016, more than $57 million has been raised to build a new pediatric tower to put pediatric specialty care in one place – including more operating rooms, a pediatric imaging center, an NICU with private rooms, a larger PICU and a clinic.

Daytime rendering of the new Children's of Mississippi hospital expansion

“Our children are our future, and each is a treasure for our state,” said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs. “For our physicians and staff to provide the best, most compassionate care, they need the most up-to-date facilities and equipment.

“The love Mississippians have for children is evidenced by their generosity toward this vital cause.”


Batson Children’s Hospital was considered state-of-the-art when it opened 20 years ago, but today changes are needed to make it a hospital designed for future needs, said Dr. Mary Taylor, interim chair of pediatrics.

“Advances in patient treatment and growth in the number of patients and the types of conditions treated at Batson Children’s Hospital call for additional space and equipment,” Taylor said. “Our specialists see positive outcomes comparable to other children’s hospitals, but we need this project to keep pace.”

Nicki Dunaway and her daughter, Hannah, know this well. The Vicksburg family credits the care received at Batson Children’s Hospital with saving the 16-year-old’s life multiple times.

Born with cystic hygroma, Hannah has had more than 45 surgeries to remove benign tumors. She represented Batson Children’s Hospital as Mississippi’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Champion in 2015.

Vicksburg resident Hannah Dunaway, center, was named the 2015 Children's Miracle Network Champion for Batson Children's Hospital in Jackson during a celebration at the Marriott Courtyard in Vicksburg. She's pictured with her mom, Nicki Dunaway, left, of Vicksburg, and her longtime nurse at Batson, Ashley Arceo.
Vicksburg resident Hannah Dunaway, center, celebrates being named the 2015 Children's Miracle Network Champion for Batson Children's Hospital with her mother, Nicki, left, and her longtime nurse, Ashley Arceo, during a CMN event at the Marriott Courtyard in Vicksburg.

“She was born at Batson and spent 150 days in the NICU,” Nicki said. “During that time, she received treatment from some of the best nurses and doctors in this country.

“She is given the best care she can possibly get. We are both supported and loved.”

Nicki said the compassionate care from medical professionals at Batson Children’s Hospital should be paired with the best in resources for families such as hers’.

“Hannah is still here with me today because of Batson,” she said.