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URMC / Strong Memorial Hospital / Friends of Strong / The Best of Friends Blog / November 2015 / Friends of Strong Gives Thanks for Your Support

Friends of Strong Gives Thanks for Your Support

Every day. Every year, many of us stop by a URMC Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters for a refreshing chai, visit the hospital Gift Shop to grab a greeting card for someone special, or attend one of the many fundraisers organized by the Friends of Strong. What you may not know, is that the proceeds generated from each of these interactions contribute, in no small way, to patient- and family-centered care initiatives throughout Strong Hospital.

Thanks to your participation and support, Friends of Strong (FoS) has set a record—giving approximately $975,000 back to hospital departments and programs this past year alone. Since 1975, they’ve been fortunate to give more than $14 million to patient care initiatives.

“We are incredibly grateful for everyone’s support, throughout the University and the Rochester community, as we continue to serve our patients, families, and guests each day,” said Sandy Arbasak, director of Friends of Strong. “We love it when folks come to our events and tell us how much fun they’re having, and what’s really great is the impact their participation makes for our patients.”

Friends of Strong is led by a council of community volunteers, from both within and outside of our organization, who help research each and every capital request that is forwarded for review, from hospital administration. Often part of a department’s original capital request for the upcoming year, initiatives which have PFCC values at their core are then passed along to the council to determine which have the most promise to impact the patient experience in a positive way. Great care is placed on ensuring equitable distribution of funds.

Maybe you’ve heard about the new Family Resource Library inside Golisano Children’s Hospital, or seen the complimentary guest wheelchairs throughout the Medical Center. While these are some of the most visible initiatives FoS supports, other noteworthy allocations from this year include funding to provide every baby born at Strong with a safe sleep sack to encourage a safe sleep environment throughout the first year of life, as well as a new video tower and camera system for Otolaryngology to create a less invasive, more interactive experience for pediatric patients.

Cultivating Safe Sleep for Strong Newborns
On average, there are approximately 3,000 births at Strong each year. To help foster safe sleep practices for all of them, FoS has given ongoing funding to educate, role model, and support newborn safe sleep practices by placing each newborn in a sleep sack after their first bath, continuing its use throughout their hospital stay, and discharging them with the sleep sack, in order to support a continued safe sleep environment at home.

Promoting safe sleep for all infants is part of the reason Strong was recently recognized as a Gold Safe Sleep Champion by the National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification Program. This new initiative to provide every Strong newborn with their own sleep sack to take home builds upon the existing education materials that earned us that recognition. In fact, we’re currently the only hospital in our area with funding for an ongoing safe sleep initiative because of Friends of Strong’s commitment.

“Friends of Strong is an absolutely fantastic organization to support our OB patients, and our nursing staff throughout the institution,” said nurse educator Maureen Freedman, MSN, RNC, IBCLC. “They’ve supported our diaper bag program for more than 10 years, helping grow visibility of Strong Beginnings throughout the community, and they were totally willing and—hands-down—absolutely in favor of helping fund this new Baby Safe Sleep initiative.“

Creating a Friendlier Otolaryngology Experience
For kids, some procedures may be easier to tolerate than others. A visit to the Otolaryngologist, or ENT doctor, can be a challenge for many children and families when a diagnostic scope exam of the nose or airway is required. That’s why FoS chose to fund the purchase of a new video tower and camera system for our pediatric patients.  The D-scope, as it’s known, is invaluable in a pediatric ENT clinic because it lets our patients and families participate in the exam and decision making process. When kids can actually see the video stream in real time, they are much calmer and can even get excited about the whole process—greatly improving the quality of care.

Margo Benoit, M.D., FACS, assistant professor and Pediatric Otolaryngology provider, is especially thankful to Friends of Strong for its support of the new D-scope for the pediatric ENT clinic. “I am so excited to show children a view of their “insides” and I’m sure many of them will be curious and interested too,” she said. “Many parents have expressed a desire to directly see the scope findings, in order to better understand their child’s condition, and this D-scope will prove instrumental.”

These examples represent just a small sample of the dozens of areas in which your support helps FoS advance the mission of UR Medicine’s Strong Memorial Hospital through volunteerism and fundraising to provide support and services to patients, families, and visitors.

Whether it’s at the Friends of Strong Gift Shop, one of URMC’s three Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters locations, or one of the many events and fundraisers hosted by Friends of Strong, your continued support will help make 2016 another record setting year for patient- and family-centered care at UR Medicine’s Strong Memorial Hospital.

For more information on how you can support the Friends of Strong, visit or call (585) 275-2420.

Matt Ulakovic | 11/23/2015

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