The Big Day is Almost Here

Author: Lee Domanico, CEO

Pandemic or not, an astonishing accomplishment is about to become a reality in the North Bay.

It’s been more than twelve years of incredibly hard work – designing, fundraising, planning, and building… and finally, our seismically safe, aesthetically beautiful, technologically superior hospital is about to open. I’m thrilled to debut the Oak Pavilion at MarinHealth Medical Center.

This will be the third hospital opening I’ve been involved in during my 38-year career as a hospital CEO, but it’s probably the most satisfying since the trajectory of my career has allowed me to see this one through from start to finish.

Someone asked me about my favorite part of the process. I especially enjoyed being involved in all of the design choices for the new facility. Building a new hospital that includes the science and technology necessary for today’s healthcare was only one part of the task. The other, just as important, was to make sure our patients would have the best environment in which to heal. This includes features and amenities not always considered important in the hospitals of the past: natural light, greenery, space, privacy, and quiet.

Through the design of the new Oak Pavilion, we have the opportunity to show how science and healing can come together in powerful ways that will provide the best care possible for patients — an example of what hospitals can and should do in the future.

In the neonatal intensive care nursery (NICU), for example, large skylights make it possible for natural light to stream in, softening sterile-looking technology needed to save the lives of fragile infants. Thanks to outward facing corridors, staff who work in areas like the OR will have the benefit of seeing more natural light during their workdays. Every part of the hospital, including the floor to ceiling windows in patient rooms, has some view of nature, whether of Mt. Tam or one of the nine gardens around the facility. One of my favorites is a three-story terrace garden that can be accessed from patient and visitor waiting areas on all three floors. Spending time there will provide serenity for staff and visitors alike.

Everyone is having to adapt to a new normal these days, and we are no exception. With that in mind, our celebration of the opening of the Oak Pavilion will be virtual, in order to follow public health guidelines and keep everyone safe. When faced with this challenge, our creative folks got going. The special event planners, working with our communications and digital experts—have come up with a way for the community to safely “visit” the new facility before it opens.

We will offer a virtual journey through the Oak Pavilion via a special website where guests can see the new facilities just as they would be able to on a physical tour. I’ll be there, giving welcoming message along with other “tour guides” who, when you click on the links, will give you in-depth information about the new hospital’s various technologies, capabilities and design. It could be, with a virtual tour, guests may get more information than they would have on a regular opening day. A benefit to having to adapt!

After the virtual celebration and a final check and walk around of the new facility, the first patients will be moved from the existing patient care areas into the new Oak Pavilion about the middle of September.

It will be an amazing day to be able to stand in the new facility, looking forward to the future, but also looking back and marveling at all that it took to make this dream happen. There really aren’t enough words to adequately acknowledge and thank all the people who made it possible: the community at large, donors, all the caregivers - physicians, nurses, staff. It goes without saying, this crowning achievement is dedicated to all of them.