About the Project

San Jose is the largest city in the United States without a free-standing children’s hospital. Attempts to create one have been stymied for decades due to a lack of resources.

Now, a solution is at hand.

About ImagineVMCSanta Clara Valley Medical Center (VMC) has a long tradition of providing nationally-recognized care to women and children. It has served as the de-facto children’s hospital of the South Bay for generations. As a public, safety net hospital and major trauma center, VMC is uniquely suited to provide the highest level of care to vulnerable populations. By making strategic investments to improve and expand existing services, VMC can leverage its resources and talent to provide nearly all the services of a stand-alone women and children’s hospital at a fraction of the cost. The new Women and Children’s Center will not only improve care for patients, but also strengthen VMC’s ability to serve as the safety net hospital of Santa Clara County for decades to come.

Project Summary

  • Invest $25,000,000 in philanthropic dollars to convert an existing 300,000 square foot inpatient facility to a Women and Children’s Center
  • Major public art initiative will transform existing building into welcoming, magical environment
  • Streamlined and expanded services will support the woman in her role as healthcare decision maker
  • A new maternity care model will provide holistic and integrated care
  • Expansion of pediatric rehabilitation program with new indoor and outdoor therapy areas
  • Based on a business model that will help VMC retain and attract newly insured patients so that it can sustain safety net, emergency and other critical services

What is the need?

San Jose is the largest city in the United States without a free-standing children’s hospital. As a major trauma center, and the largest provider of health services to low-income women and children, VMC is the natural host for a Women and Children’s Center. And because of its unique mission as a safety net hospital open to all, the Women and Children’s Center at VMC will serve a population with the highest need.

What services for women and children does SCVMC already provide?

Through a network of community-based clinics, VMC sees 125,000 primary care and 100,000 Ob/Gyn patient visits annually. More than 3,500 babies are born at VMC each year, and because the hospital specializes in high-risk deliveries, nearly 10% of those babies receive care in the Level 4 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Babies born at VMC with major morbidities have some of the highest survival rates in the State of California. VMC operates the only stand-alone Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in San Jose, and its Level 2 Pediatric Trauma Center provides life-saving emergency care. From burns to major spinal cord injuries, VMC provides care to kids that other local medical center can not. And with a reputation as one of the safest hospitals in California to deliver a baby, VMC is a leader in quality care.

How will care improve?

Children’s hospitals are not just the adult counterpart in miniature – they are unique entities unto themselves. An ICU room for a premature infant looks and functions nothing like the adult equivalent, just like a patient recuperating from childbirth has different needs than someone recovering from a major illness or injury.

While the building that will house the Women and Children’s Center is a modern facility, much of it was designed for general, adult use. A redesign is necessary to not improve existing operations and offer new services, but to focus on the most important issue of them all – patient safety.  VMC has long been a leader in reducing preventable patient harm, and is a member of the The Patient Safety Movement.   Safety is a core concept to the planning team for the Women and Children’s Center.  It will impact nearly every decision, from what new technology to purchase to how physical spaces will be re-imagined. Specific areas of intervention are as follows –

Breast Health Center

Located on the first floor, the Breast Health Center will offer patients a single access point to screening and diagnostic services.

Pediatric Rehabilitation

The Women and Children’s Center will expand VMC’s renowned physical rehabilitation program with new indoor and outdoor pediatric therapy facilities.

New birthing options

Certified nurse midwives can improve maternal health outcomes while offering another choice for women who deliver at VMC. As part of the Women and Children’s Center, this service will be offered to patients on a pilot basis with the goal of expanding the program.

Service line approach

VMC is making major investments in electronic medical records to improve care between clinics, specialty centers and the main hospital to ensure the proper coordination of care and the best possible patient experience.

What building improvements are needed?

Inspired by the best of children’s hospital design worldwide, the VMC Foundation has partnered with the region’s premiere arts organization, Silicon Valley Creates, to lead an ambitious art and interactive exhibit initiative that will imbue the facility with a touch of magic and wonder. That means re-imagining how spaces look and how they will be used. The building has inadequate space for public, visitor and family use. Very little of it is child friendly.

With the help of experienced children’s museum designers and curators, the building will be transformed into a space that best meets the needs of patients and their families. An emphasis will be placed on:

  • Building visibility and way-finding
  • Children’s play areas
  • Family waiting and rest areas
  • Participatory exhibits that engage patients and visitors
  • In fun, play and learning
  • Culturally inclusive and community-based
  • Design partners


VMC Foundation

(408) 885-5299

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