Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Dedicates the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation Interfaith Center

Hospital Los Angeles
(CHLA) announced Friday the grand opening and
dedication of the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation Interfaith
Center. The 2,400 square-foot non-denominational indoor and outdoor
space will serve as a place of emotional and spiritual respite for CHLA
patients, families and staff.

“This magnificent spiritual care center will provide our patients and
families with a tranquil setting where they can freely connect with one
another and their respective faiths,” says Paul Viviano, president and
chief executive officer of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “Today’s
opening exemplifies CHLA’s ongoing commitment to serving families from
all cultures and all faiths.”

Joining Viviano at Friday’s dedication were local faith leaders and
representatives including: His Eminence, Archbishop Hovnan Derderian,
Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America;
The Most Rev. José H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles; Chaplain Efrat
Brayer, Jewish on-call chaplain at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; Mr.
Khurram Ahmed, Muslim chaplain, Islamic Center of Southern California;
Rev. Dr. Tina Jitsujo Gauthier, from the Faculty of Buddhist Chaplaincy
Program, University of the West; Swami Sarvadevananda, Minister and
Spiritual Leader of the Vendanta Society of Southern California.

“Spiritual care is a vital component in helping people heal,” says
Kathleen McCarthy Kostlan, member of the CHLA Board of Trustees and
chairperson of The Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation, which has named
the Center with a generous $5.5 million gift. “Numerous studies show
that the benefits of spiritual care during hospitalization can include
shorter hospital stays, improved pain management, motivation to heal and
an improved sense of well-being.”

The new Leavey Interfaith Center, which is centrally located between the
Marion and John E. Anderson Pavilion inpatient tower and The McAllister
Building, features:

  • 900 square feet of indoor prayer and meditation space—nearly seven
    times larger than the hospital’s current chapel
  • A spacious interfaith sanctuary for ceremonies and group activities
  • A semi-private Our Lady of Guadalupe devotional with a kneeler
  • Four semi-enclosed meditation and prayer spaces
  • Symbols representative of the diverse array of faiths our patients
    including Catholicism, Eastern and Western Christianity, Buddhism,
    Judaism, Islam and Hinduism
  • A 1,500-square-foot shaded outdoor Reflection Garden with soothing
    water features, symbolic art and landscaping

With this new space, patients and family members can connect with their
faith in the tranquil meditation rooms and the Reflection Garden when a
retreat from the hospital room is needed.

“With 12,600 patient contacts over the course of a year, our spiritual
care team is committed to providing support, comfort and hope to
patients and families of all cultural, spiritual and religious
traditions,” says Rev. Dagmar Grefe, PhD, manager of Spiritual Care
Services and Clinical Pastoral Education. This includes conducting
bedside visits with patients and families in their time of need,
spiritual counseling and rituals such as baptism, communion, confession
and blessings, as well as guidance and support for hospital staff
including education about religious traditions that may impact a child’s
recovery experience at CHLA. The spiritual care team is available
around-the-clock, seven days a week for critical emergencies.

Kostlan, a 1957 alumna of the University of Southern California, has
been a dedicated supporter of CHLA for more than three decades. In
addition to serving on the hospital’s Board of Trustees, Kostlan is a
longtime member of Las Madrinas, one of the hospital’s longstanding
Associates & Affiliates fundraising groups. Kostlan’s parents, Farmers
Insurance co-founder Thomas Leavey and his wife, Dorothy Risley Leavey,
cultivated a passion for philanthropy in Kathleen. The couple’s
commitment to helping those in need inspired them to establish The
Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation in 1952, which Kathleen now chairs.
Previous to The Leavey Foundation’s most recent support for the
hospital’s Interfaith Center, the Foundation supported the
Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit at CHLA—a unit which received the
national gold-level Beacon Award for Excellence from the American
Association of Critical-Care Nurses in 2013.

About Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is a nonprofit pediatric health care
organization dedicated to creating hope and building healthier futures
for children. Honored as the premier children’s hospital in California
and among the top 10 in the nation, we treat 107,000 young patients
annually from Los Angeles and around the world. As a pediatric charity
of choice, the hospital relies on the generosity of the community to
support its groundbreaking pediatric research and the complex care it
provides for critically ill and injured children.

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Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Monica Rizzo, 323-361-5745