Since the 1970s, local healthcare advocates have tried to open a children’s hospital in San Jose. As the largest U.S. city without one, the need has long been clear. Yet, those efforts did not succeed.

With your help, we can make it happen.

After a decade-long, billion dollar effort to modernize the main Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC) campus, there now exists a creative, cost-effective solution to San Jose’s children’s hospital deficit. By repurposing an existing hospital building and expanding services, SCVMC is creating the Susanne B. Wilson Women and Children’s Center, the only facility of it’s in kind in the South Bay.

SCVMC has a long tradition of providing nationally recognized care to women and children. In many ways, it has served as the de-facto children’s hospital of the South Bay for generations. As Silicon Valley’s public safety net hospital and trauma center, SCVMC is uniquely suited to provide the highest level of care to vulnerable populations. And no other system provides more care to the Valley’s low-income communities than SCVMC, serving one in four local residents. In partnership with the County of  Santa Clara, the Valley Medical Center Foundation and Silicon Valley Creates have launched an historic fundraising campaign to bring a Women and Children’s Center into reality. The public-private partnership will finance a major transformation of an existing hospital building and allow SCVMC to expand critical maternal health, cancer screening and pediatric services. The project can be completed at a fraction of the cost of new construction, and will strengthen SCVMC’s financial ability to maintain critical safety net services in a rapidly evolving healthcare environment.

Project Summary

  • Invest a minimum of $25 million in public and private dollars to convert an existing 300,000 square foot inpatient facility to a Women and Children’s Center
  • New post-partum mother and baby unit
  • Expansion of pediatric rehabilitation program with new indoor and outdoor therapy areas
  • Major public art initiative will transform the existing building into a welcoming, magical environment that conforms to standards of modern children’s hospitals, with focus on family and play areas
  • Based on a business model that will help SCVMC attract and retain insured patients so it can sustain emergency, safety net and other critical services

Project Updates

Project Partners

Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Hospital and Clinics is the public health delivery system for Santa Clara County, California. It includes SCMVC, a 574-bed acute care teaching hospital and research institution, as well as community-based clinics throughout Santa Clara County. SCVMC provides health services to 1 in 4 County residents and has an open door policy that guarantees everyone access to care, regardless of ability to pay. The majority of SCVMC patients are low-income and rely on public programs for coverage and access. Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Hospital and Clinics is owned and operated by the County of Santa Clara and affiliated with the Stanford University School of Medicine. The Valley Medical Center Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization that serves as the fundraising and community engagement arm of SCVMC. Since 2003, the organization has raised more than $80 million in support of critical health programs and services. Silicon Valley Creates is a network of leaders who care about the cultural and aesthetic quality of life in Silicon Valley. SV Creates will lead a process to infuse the SCVMC Women and Children’s Center with art and exhibits that create opportunities for gathering, reflection, healing and play.

What services for women and children does SCVMC already provide?

Through a network of community-based clinics, SCVMC sees 125,000 primary care and 100,000 ob/gyn patient visits annually. More than 3,500 babies are born at SCVMC 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 SCVMC with major morbidities have some of the highest survival rates in the State of California. SCVMC 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, SCVMC provides care to kids that other local health centers cannot. And as one of the safest hospitals in California to deliver a baby, SCVMC 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 improve existing operations and offer new services.

Safest Hospital to Have a Baby
SCVMC specializes in high risk deliveries, and routinely tops safety rankings for birthing centers in California. A new Mother & Baby Postpartum Unit with private, family rooms will strengthen that role by streamlining operations and improving infection prevention.

Rebuilding Young Lives
Expanding SCVMCs world-class rehabilitation program with new pediatric facilities will help kids recover from major injuries, such as auto accidents, falls and burns.

Family Centered Care
The family is always welcome at the Women and Children’s Center, from 24/7 visiting hours to private family sleeping areas. With new facilities designed for the entire family in mind, the Women and Children’s Center will strengthen the family role in healing and recovery.

What building improvements are needed?

While the future home of the Women and Children’s Center is a modern hospital facility, it was built with a general, adult use in mind. It requires more space for public, visitor and family use. It lacks child friendly features. Areas being vacated from the building (to the John A. and Susan Sobrato Pavilion) will require major construction to repurpose for new use. And on a crowded medical campus with dozens of buildings, the facility has no distinguishing exterior feature to advertise to visitors and the public its unique purpose. This project will address all these deficiencies.

New Service Areas
The creation of the Women and Children’s Center is made possible by the opening of the adjacent new adult hospital wing, the Sobrato Pavilion. The concentration of adult and administrative services in that building will allow for new service expansion in the Women and Children’s Center. This includes the entire 4th floor that will undergo major renovations to build a new postpartum Mother and Baby Unit with all private family suites.  Existing areas will also see substantial improvements, including the creation of a new Pediatric Family Lounge & Library and Outdoor Therapy Playground.

Building Visibility and Placemaking
The Women and Children’s Center will sit on a large medical center campus, centered in a sprawling geographic area of 1.8 million people. Quite simply, too many people do not know where SCVMC is or what services it provides. Lack of knowledge of available services is a leading barrier to accessing care, especially for young families with children. As such, a primary objective of the Women and Children’s Center is to create a healthcare landmark in Santa Clara County; a place widely known and identified across race, class, neighborhoods and language. A major public art installation on the exterior of the building speaks to this strategy. The Women and Children’s Center will be a “place,” a high-quality public space with an outward presence that informs the community of its purpose and contributes to people’s health, happiness and well-being.

Family Gathering and Children’s Play Spaces
Inspired by the best of children’s hospital design worldwide, the building will see significant re-imagining of how spaces look and are used. This includes new places for families to gather, children to play and participatory exhibits that engage patients and visitors in fun and learning. Better food and nourishment will also be part of the Women and Children’s Center experience. A major upgrade to the lobby level café will feature child-friendly décor and expanded offerings of healthy foods, modeled after the award-winning food court at the Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose. An additional café will be added to the 4th floor Mother & Baby Unit. Providing food is obviously meeting a basic need, but speaks to the broader vision that defines the new Center; welcoming, patient-centered and healthy.

A Public-Private Partnership

Public dollars will fund the heavier construction associated with the Mother and Baby Unit and other required facility upgrades. A minimum of $25 million in private philanthropy is needed for all improvements to existing units and spaces, exterior building changes, public art, interactive exhibits and some medical equipment. Space dedication opportunities exist at all levels. To learn more, contact the VMC Foundation.