Connecticut Children’s Receives $1.5 Million Gift to Create State’s Pediatric Outpatient Dialysis Center

For Immediate Release: December 20, 2018
Media Contact:

Monica Buchanan, Director, Communications

HARTFORD, Conn.—A $1.5 million gift from the Robert R. Rosenheim Foundation will enable Connecticut Children’s Medical Center to move forward with plans to create the first and only pediatric outpatient dialysis center in the state. In recognition of this extraordinary gift, the center will be named for Mr. Rosenheim, a Connecticut resident who died in 2015.

The gift was presented to Connecticut Children’s in a ceremony this fall.

“This extraordinarily generous gift from the Robert R. Rosenheim Foundation will be instrumental in creating the state’s first pediatric outpatient dialysis center,” said Jim Shmerling, Connecticut Children’s President and CEO. “With this support, families will no longer need to travel out of state to receive these services. We will be able to provide essential care for children who require outpatient dialysis while awaiting kidney transplants in an environment that is designed entirely for children. The generosity of the Robert R. Rosenheim Foundation has enabled this invaluable addition to the compassionate care Connecticut Children’s provides, and we are deeply grateful to them.”

A World-Class Center

Once the Robert R. Rosenheim Foundation Dialysis Center is completed—projected for late 2019—children who require outpatient dialysis to live will no longer have to receive dialysis at local centers designed for adults with different needs. Instead, they will receive treatment in a state-of-the-art facility designed with children in mind and caregivers who are trained in pediatrics. The new center will be located on the fourth floor of Connecticut Children’s main Hartford campus. It will feature three treatment areas—two treatment bays and an isolation room—as well as a home-treatment education room.

“It’s very gratifying to know that because of the Rosenheim Foundation support, all of these patients will get a more appropriate level of care that lessens the burden on them and their families,” said Cynthia Silva, MD, Division Head of Nephrology and Medical Director of Connecticut Children’s Center for Kidney and Bladder Disorders. “It’s hard enough for a family to hear that their child needs dialysis. Having them leave their medical home is pretty devastating, on top of the shocking news they just received. Their care gets dispersed and they hear different information. Now, they will be able to stay with the people who know them best. They know the way their care providers communicate, their expectations, their commitment.”

“We’re just so grateful that the institution and the state have taken it upon themselves to make this a priority,” Dr. Silva said. “It is time that we take better care of the more vulnerable children in our population and put their needs first.”

Who Was Robert Rosenheim?

Robert Rosenheim began his career in advertising in New York as a television airtime buyer.  After learning the business, he went out on his own, selling advertising for a football highlights show in the 1960s.  Eventually, he established Robert Rosenheim Associates, a media brokerage firm working with various television networks and customers.

Mr. Rosenheim, who lived in Sharon, also owned a horse farm in upstate New York and raised champion horses for harness racing. He had no children of his own or surviving family when he died in 2015, and his foundation was set up so that his estate could support the two causes he cared about most: children and animals. The foundation officers felt that the pediatric outpatient Dialysis Center at Connecticut Children’s was a natural choice and that as the first and only facility of its kind in the state, it represented an appropriate tribute to his memory.

“Connecticut Children’s is a perfect fit,” says Michael Samartino, the president of the Rosenheim Foundation and Bob Rosenheim’s long-time accountant. “When I was first presented with the idea of a naming opportunity for the Dialysis Center, I spoke with several pediatricians who all assured me that it was a much needed facility in Connecticut. Bob was more than just a client; he was an extraordinary man, and we feel good knowing his legacy will live on at Connecticut Children’s.”

About Connecticut Children’s

Connecticut Children’s Medical Center is the only hospital in Connecticut dedicated exclusively to the care of children and is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best children’s hospitals in the nation. With a medical staff of more than 1,000, Connecticut Children’s provides comprehensive, world-class health care in more than 30 pediatric specialties and subspecialties. Connecticut Children’s Medical Center is a not-for-profit organization, which serves as the primary pediatric teaching hospital for the UConn School of Medicine, has a teaching partnership with the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University and is a research partner of The Jackson Laboratory. Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health is a national leader in community-based prevention and wellness programs.

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