May 9, 2005 The Roy L. Schneider Hospital Monday morning officially became the central unit of the Schneider Regional Medical Center. The name encompasses the hospital, the Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center on St. John, and the soon-to-be opened Charlotte Kimelman Cancer Institute.
Rodney Miller, RLS chief executive officer, told a press conference Monday morning, "the name designates three facilities one integrated health care system." He stressed, "One thing I want to make clear, is that the name of the hospital does not change, when you're talking about the hospital alone."
Miller said he looks forward to the day when the center will familiarly known as "Schneider Regional."
He said the hospital has been looking at branding strategies for the center for about a year and a half. "Some people still refer to us as the St. Thomas Hospital," he said. "People are confused as to our identity. We are more than a hospital. We are an integrated health system to serve the territory's and the Eastern Caribbean's needs."
The hospital lobby was gaily decorated in bright blue balloons, ribbons and banners as a salute not only to the new center, but to National Hospital and National Nurses Weeks. It was no coincidence that Miller introduced the new center on Monday.
"National Hospital Week reminds communities that a hospital does more than just surgeries and diagnostic procedures," Miller said. "Our hospital has helped mothers learn about newborns, sponsored free prostate cancer screening, worked with religious leaders in HIV/AIDS programs, sponsored free public seminars on diabetes and heart disease.
"We work closely with the Washington Hospital Center of Washington, D.C.," Miller said. "We have residency programs in podiatry and cardiology. We have an educational affiliation with the center."
Miller said he hopes one day to see Schneider Regional viewed as the Caribbean Mayo Clinic, or Cleveland Clinic. "There is no Mayo Clinic in the Caribbean. We are one of the best, if not the very best, hospital in the Caribbean. We want people to know they don't have to travel out of the Caribbean to get excellent care."
Miller said Monday marked the start of the branding program not only in the territory, but in the British Virgin Islands as well, which is the first step in an effort that will take many years. He said a TV and print newspaper campaign starting on Monday will focus on the neighboring BVI, and on Antigua, Anguilla and St. Kitts with a media campaign, produced by two local agencies.
More than a year and a half ago Miller said, "We looked at strategies to position ourselves as the leader in cancer care, women's health and certain outpatient surgery." The Kimelman Institute will be the only one of its kind in the Caribbean, offering complete cancer care services. Miller said there are "400 to 500 cases of cancer diagnosed in the territory each year."
June Adams, RLS board chair, said, "My heart is so full today. This dream has been so many years in the making. So many years from where we have sprung, when we can finally say 'you don't have to leave the Caribbean for health care.' And we have just started."
She thanked all those who have helped, declining to name names. "You know who you are," she said, "and I might forget someone. It is through the dedication of the staff and the community that we will be the medical center of choice. In all my days, I never thought that this would happen. I thank God that I am here to see it."
Miller said he had former Gov. Roy Schneider's blessings on the project. "I met with Dr. Schneider and asked for his input. He told me he was very pleased and said it was a great idea. He said it tells the public who we actually are, and said we would attract more clientele from a system approach."
Miller left the news conference to attend the week's first event, a Spiritual Enhancement Program in the hospital lobby.
Events are planned for all week, concluding with a Licensed Practical Nurse graduation at Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral at 10 a.m.
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