MORGANTOWN, W.VA. – A grassroots effort to honor United Mine Workers of America President Cecil E. Roberts aims to raise $1 million for the new WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital.
Roberts is a native of West Virginia and sixth-generation coal miner. As UMWA’s president for nearly 25 years, he has championed the rights of fellow miners, healthcare workers, and other professionals across the United States and Canada. His successful efforts to protect pension and healthcare benefits for UMWA members ensured “a promise made was a promise kept.”
More than 2,600 union members have generously contributed to the Children’s Hospital initiative to date, raising over $400,000 toward the $1 million goal. Their investment in the health of West Virginia’s children will recognize Roberts’ hard work and dedication by naming the new Pediatric Heart and Vascular Institute in his honor.
“The United Mine Workers of America is proud to contribute to the health and safety of future generations by donating to the creation of a new pediatric heart and vascular hospital wing at WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital,” UMWA International Secretary-Treasurer Levi Allen said.
“It is highly appropriate that this wing be named after UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts. He has dedicated his life to protecting the health and security of not only coal miners and other members of our union, but their families as well. Hundreds of thousands of workers and their children have quality healthcare today because of the work Cecil Roberts has accomplished in his career of dedication to ordinary working families.”
Robert Gustafson, M.D. – affectionately known as "Dr. Gus" – played an integral role in the growth of the WVU Medicine Children’s Pediatric Heart Care Program during 40 years as chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery, professor of Surgery and Pediatrics, and associate dean of faculty at the WVU School of Medicine. During his tenure, he has treated more than 15,000 patients from across the state.
“This is a milestone moment for WVU Medicine and the children of West Virginia,” Gustafson said. “As the state’s only hospital offering pediatric cardiothoracic surgery, we perform over 150 procedures a year, and this gift will allow us to perform even more life-saving procedures to aid children in need by expanding our resources.”
The UMWA donation supports the “Grow Children’s” capital campaign, which seeks to raise $60 million for a new children’s hospital that will provide comprehensive healthcare services for kids and families within a dedicated, state-of-the-art facility. Slated for completion in 2021, the 150-bed, nine-story hospital is under construction next to WVU Medicine J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, which houses existing WVU Medicine Children’s services on its sixth floor.
The President Cecil E. Roberts-United Mine Workers of America Pediatric Heart and Vascular Institute will offer a range of specialized services, including early diagnosis, monitoring, and care planning during pregnancy through WVU Medicine Maternal-Fetal Medicine. The 6,300-square-foot facility will feature:
- 11 exam rooms
- Four echocardiography rooms
- A stress test room
- A pulmonary function testing room
- A nurses’ station
- A consultation room for private consultation with families
- A reading room for providers, which will facilitate faster results for patients
“We are so grateful to the UMWA for celebrating its legendary leadership by investing in the health and well-being of our children,” Amy L. Bush-Marone, R.N., B.S.N., M.B.A., C.N.O.R., chief operating officer at WVU Medicine Children’s, said. “The union’s donation will carry on Cecil Roberts’ legacy through continued excellence in pediatric heart care for West Virginia and beyond. The new Pediatric Heart and Vascular Institute will ensure that our new hospital provides the best medical and surgical treatments for complex heart conditions to patients from birth into adulthood.”
The union’s gift was made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.
Individuals and organizations interested in supporting the expansion of WVU Medicine Children’s can call 304-598-4346 or visit wvumedicine.org/growchildrens.