At Cohen, $10M and much-less-scary MRIs

On the wall: The mostly volunteer backbone of the nonprofit Children's Medical Fund of New York, outside Cohen Children's Medical Center.

A $10 million pledge from one of its top contributors will bring a unique, child-friendly MRI system to the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center.

The New Hyde Park children’s hospital will use the eight-figure gift to create the Children’s Medical Fund Center for Diagnostic Studies at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, including Long Island’s only magnetic-resonance imaging center specifically designed for children.

Kid-customized scanners are scheduled to arrive this fall, according to a statement from the Northwell Health system, which noted a “transformational gift” from Children’s Medical Fund of New York, a “stalwart philanthropic supporter of Cohen Children’s Medical Center.”

The pediatric diagnostic center is currently under development on the fourth floor of the three-year-old Cohen Children’s pavilion, the new six-story home of the pediatric medical center, which opened in 1983. The new MRI machines will be housed in “an environment that caters to children,” Northwell Health noted, “reducing anxiety associated with testing.”

The environment will include various amenities to make children feel at ease, including giving patients the choice of the room color and special “MRI goggles” that allow them to watch movies during their diagnostic testing. Specialists will also be equipped with hands-on “mock scanners” they can share with patients before their examinations, to help answer questions and further reduce anxiety.

The pediatric diagnostic unit will also allow Cohen Children’s doctors to avoid sending young patients to neighboring – but not child-optimized – Long Island Jewish Medical Center, which should improve efficiency between the health system’s different clinical divisions.

Once operational, the pediatric diagnostic unit should provide MRI services to more than 4,500 patients each year, according to Northwell Health estimates. Charles Schleien, executive director of Cohen Children’s Medical Center, noted those services – and the less-stressful environment for those thousands of pediatric patients – wouldn’t be possible without Children’s Medical Fund of New York.

“This kind of financial support helps us build on our foundation of excellent pediatric care,” Schleien said in a statement.

To date, Children’s Medical Fund of New York has donated over $86 million to Cohen Children’s Medical Center, counting it among the largest supports of the nationally ranked pediatric hospital. With the latest donation, the circa-1966 nonprofit has also added its name to the outside wall of the new Cohen Children’s pavilion – a fitting reminder of the charity and hospital’s shared commitment to “putting patients first,” according to CMFNY Executive Director Gina Segreti.

“Children are patients with different needs than adults,” Segreti said. “When we realized we had an opportunity to improve their experience and reduce their stress, we wanted to be a part of that.”