JACKSON, Miss. — The Will Rogers Institute and Variety, the Children’s Charity of the United States, awarded a $25,000 grant Aug. 22 to the state’s only Level IV neonatal intensive care unit at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
Todd Vradenburg, executive director of WRI and Ron Krueger II, Variety board member and president and chief operating officer of New Orleans-based Southern Theatres, presented the check to Dr. Rick Barr, Suzan B. Thames Professor and Chair of Pediatrics, Dr. Sajani Tipnis, associate professor of neonatology and medical director of the NICU, and Billy Needham, Newborn Center nurse educator, who applied for the grant.
“We’re so happy to have been able to work with Variety and bring this grant together,” Vradenburg said.
The funds purchased two Sentec Transcutaneous CO2 monitors along with several months’ worth of supplies. The monitor reports CO2 levels and other respiratory trends on a minute-to-minute basis via a probe placed on the baby’s chest, avoiding the need for repeated blood tests.
“We have many small patients where vascular access is an issue,” Tipnis said. “We have outstanding staff that does a very good job, but sometimes you just can’t get that line. In those cases, these machines are going to help us non-invasively monitor these babies.”
UMMC is among 14 recipients of grant money from the Will Rogers Institute this year. Last year, WRI committed $400,000 in grants for neonatal intensive care units to purchase much-needed equipment.