Hospital gets $2.75M gift for trauma upgrades

  • Courtesy Faith Campbell

    From left: Dr. Spencer Smith, medical director, Wilcox Emergency Department; Peter Stengaard, Jen Chahanovich, president and CEO Wilcox Medical Center, Jenn Gross, Andy Bestwick, senior development officer, Dr. Amy Corliss, chief of staff, Wilcox Medical Center, Dr. Geri Young, chief medical officer, Kaua‘i Medical Clinic, Dawn Dunbar, senior vice president philanthropy, Trinette Kaui, board of directors, Wilcox Health Foundation & Hawai‘i Pacific Health.

LIHUE — Husband and wife Peter Stengaard and Jennifer Gross recently donated $2.75 million toward Wilcox Medical Center’s emergency department and trauma fundraising campaign.

It is the largest donation in the hospital’s history.

“A little goes a long way here. It’s critical to find spots where more money can amount to so much more than its initial worth,” said Stengaard, who along with his wife recently visited with staff and toured the trauma center that will bear their name.

As part-time residents of Kauai, he said the family is committed to investing in the health and well-being of the community, and supports causes worldwide with a focus on humanitarian efforts, education and healthcare.

The donation to Wilcox is part of the William, Jeff and Jennifer Gross Family Foundation’s total giving of $19.5 million in 2019 to 45 nonprofits across the globe.

“Good healthcare begins and ends with the systems around it that bring in the medical staff, funding and materials needed to ensure high-quality care and access to cutting-edge research,” Gross said.

“It’s not enough to think about our local hospital as a stand-alone project. I think it’s important to think of it as the branch of a tree that succeeds or fails based on the strength of its roots.”

About $4.3 million has been raised toward Wilcox Health Foundation’s $5 million campaign goal. The money raised in Wilcox’s campaign will be used to create two trauma resuscitation suites as well as renovate specialty spaces for behavioral health, infectious control, pediatrics and OB-GYN care.

There are also plans to convert semi-private observation bays to private treatment exam rooms.

Wilcox is Kauai’s only Level III Trauma Center, and was the first neighbor island medical center to achieve that designation. It is also Hawaii’s first Level III Trauma Center to be verified by the American College of Surgeons.

“The generosity of the William, Jeff and Jennifer Gross Foundation will greatly impact the health and well-being of the residents and visitors of Kauai,” said Jen Chahanovich, president of Wilcox Medical Center and CEO of Kauai Medical Clinic “We are so impressed by the commitment of the Gross family and how their foundation improves lives all around the world.”

Chahanovich said the Wilcox emergency and trauma care are “a lifeline for our island community.

“The Gross family gift will help us expand our facilities and invest in new technologies and equipment that will benefit Kauai families for generations to come,” she said.

Gross said she hopes the gift will not only strengthen Wilcox Medical Center’s example as a leading hospital in Hawaii but also serve as an example for how to optimize health care in other islands around the world.

“Overall, the growing success of Wilcox will provide another proof-point for our leaders that better resourcing our health care systems makes an enormous difference,” she said.


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