Vindicator Logo

Akron Children’s touts outpatient center

Akron Children’s to help kids with stress

Thursday, December 6, 2018

By Sean Barron


With an indefinite idling of the General Motors Lordstown Complex and the layoffs of about 1,500 workers less than three months away, it’s probably a safe bet that many families – including their children – will feel a tremendous amount of added stress.

“Kids pick up on their families’ stress, so I’m glad that kids can get help and thrive, and that’s what we’re about,” said Lisa Aurilio, Akron Children’s Hospital’s chief operating officer.

In addition to services already provided, Aurilio was referring to a behavioral-health outpatient center that will offer music, art and occupational therapy, along with exercise, yoga and other therapies to help youngsters under age 18 better cope with stress and trauma in their lives.

The facility, to be housed in the former Youngstown Hearing & Speech Center building that the hospital bought about a year ago, also is an example of ACH’s continued growth and efforts to broaden essential services. The addition also was a primary topic discussed during Wednesday evening’s tree-lighting gathering and ceremony at its Beeghly Campus, 6505 Market St., to celebrate ACH’s 10 years in the Mahoning Valley.

The outpatient center will have psychiatrists and psychologists who will help children dealing with stress and other difficulties “to have an opportunity to talk through their feelings,” Aurilio continued, noting that about one in five young people need mental-health services, but only about 20 percent of that figure receive them.

Last summer, the pediatric hospital opened a $50 million complex on the property, largely to expand its pediatric services, and for which the public raised about $26 million, said Grace Wakulchik, ACH’s president and chief executive officer.

“Folks have been generous not only with their money, but with their time in volunteering,” to fulfill that aspect of the hospital’s long-term vision, she said.

The facility was founded on several core principles that include having hospital personnel care for every child as they would their own and turning no child away for any reason, Wakulchik continued.

ACH’s main objectives moving forward essentially parallel the main goals the Boardman facility has tried to achieve since its inception, explained Sharon Hrina, vice president.

“As the area’s only pediatric hospital, we have cared for thousands of local children, not only here on our Beeghly Campus, but at our locations throughout Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties,” Hrina said. “As we continue to grow and expand our services, our goal is to provide more services closer to home for the children and families of the Mahoning Valley.”

Making additional remarks was Sean Drummond, staff chaplain.

After the tree was lighted, Santa Claus made an appearance and was on hand for a variety of children’s activities.