The brand-new Cherese Mari Laulhere Children’s Village located on the campus of MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach opened its doors for patients on Monday, Feb. 22. This 80,000-sq. ft., four-story building houses a variety of medical and supportive care services under one roof, making the health care experience more convenient and efficient for thousands of children and their families across the region who need specialized pediatric care each year.
Brothers Joziah, 2, and Aaron, 19, were among the first patients to be seen in the new building by their specialty physician, Dr. Jacqueline Casillas , pediatric hematologist/oncologist and medical director of the Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Institute at Miller Children’s & Women’s. The brothers share the same rare genetic disorder called X-linked lymphoproliferative (XLP) disease that causes the immune system to overreact to infections.
This disease is characterized by a life-long vulnerability to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a common type of virus that usually does not cause symptoms other than a brief infection, but people with XLP can have severe reactions to EBV infections that can lead to death due to development of bone marrow failure and development of malignant lymphoma.
As a result, they have been under the expert care of Miller Children’s & Women’s since birth.
“Because of the type of condition my sons have, we have to visit the doctor and the lab often,” says Desiree Nagao, mother of Joziah and Aaron. “We have been going to Miller Children’s & Women’s for 18 years and it’s been most of the same staff that entire time. They have always taken such good care of my kids. Knowing that my kids are in the same caring hands, but just in a new, more convenient place that meets all of our needs is so nice.”
Many children like Aaron and Joziah have complex health conditions or may have more than one health issue, which previously required families to travel to various specialty medical offices scattered around Long Beach. Now, all the specialty care and services they need are centralized in the Children’s Village.
The Children’s Village is the only building of its kind in Los Angeles and Orange Counties with a one-stop-shop approach to outpatient specialty care for kids. In one kid-friendly location, families have access to a pharmacy, laboratory, imaging services, rehabilitation gyms, family resource center, education center and more.