Walter E. Bundy Jr, M.D., was a highly respected pediatrician in Richmond. He did not identify exclusively with Richmond’s academic pediatricians or with his community colleagues, but considered the two groups complementary and worked comfortably within both environments. In 1997, he was honored with the creation of a named chair funded through contributions of the Richmond community.
As Bundy Professors of Community Pediatrics, we provide a link between the VCU Department of Pediatrics and community pediatricians. This position endows us with a unique perspective on the discussions to build a freestanding, full-service, independent hospital for children.
Recently published letters incompletely present the children’s hospital story and how pediatric care is provided in Richmond. Currently three different hospital systems provide nearly equal amounts of pediatric inpatient health care. This fractured environment is a barrier to creating a single entity exclusively dedicated to children.
An independently governed, freestanding, full-service children’s hospital would be the center of a health care system just for children that would provide high-quality care, teaching, research, advocacy and community outreach. Well-researched data have shown that this children’s hospital system is financially achievable and sustainable. Obstacles and concerns abound, but there is passion and money to build this hospital now. Richmond is the only metropolitan area of our size in the nation without a full-service hospital for children.
We doctors who have served as Bundy Professors —Harry L. Gewanter, J. Mark Shreve, Peter Mellis, Bob A. Archuleta, Gayle Schrier Smith, Robert Shayne and Phil Dawson — have strived to represent children and their physicians as would Dr. Bundy. His dream was to see a single children’s hospital within his lifetime; it is ours as well. Bricks and mortar are not a hospital, but are a start for a single, inclusive entity wherein academic and community physicians can collaborate under one roof and improve the lives of the children we serve.
Help us make this dream come true.
Philip Dawson, M.D., on behalf of all Bundy Professors. Richmond.