The Cook Children’s Story: A New Chapter Unfolds in Prosper
Cook Children's new medical center in Prosper is set to open Monday, Jan. 9.
By Ashley Antle
Larger than life-size digital displays, storybook murals, walking paths that invite exploration and play, and spaces bathed in every color of the rainbow — it’s what childhood daydreams and imaginations are made of. These are also a few of the moments of magic kids and their families will feel, see and experience when they walk through the doors of the new Cook Children’s Medical Center – Prosper.
The medical center opens to the community on Monday, Jan. 9, at 8 a.m., and is ready to serve those from Prosper and beyond seeking care under Cook Children’s signature blue peaks.
The 23-acre Cook Children’s campus in Prosper is the culmination of a multi-year expansion project into the rapidly growing northern region of the state. Cook Children’s began developing the health care landscape in the area in 2019 with the opening of an urgent care center and several area primary care offices, followed by a medical office building and outpatient surgery center in 2020. The medical center will support these existing services with an emergency department; a surgical and procedural floor; an infusion center; an outpatient imaging center; a retail pharmacy; an inpatient unit with medical-surgical and pediatric intensive care beds; and two floors of shell space that allow for growth to meet the future needs of the community.
“Cook Children’s Medical Center – Prosper is the next step in supporting those services and serving families in Prosper and the surrounding communities,” said Rick W. Merrill, president and CEO of Cook Children’s Health Care System. “It brings world-class medical care from Fort Worth closer to the homes of children living in the northern sector of the Metroplex. We’re very excited to be able to offer families the care they’ve come to expect and trust from Cook Children’s but in a location closer to their neighborhoods where they have the support structure of family, friends and community resources.”
A Leading Legacy
Those who know the heritage of Cook Children’s say that while construction of the Prosper campus took several years, it’s actually been generations in the making.
“Multiple generations have built Cook Children’s,” said Kevin Greene, vice president and administrator, Cook Children’s Medical Center – Prosper. “We have a nearly 105-year history of dedicated doctors, nurses and support staff caring for children. We are stewards of that history, and I believe that is one of the key components that differentiates Cook Children’s from other pediatric health care systems. Being able to provide top-tier pediatric care with a world-class experience is a product of our century old legacy and the generations that came before us.”
The patient and visitor experience was paramount when it came to creating the building’s blueprint. Each space of the facility is designed with everything for the child in mind.
In the main entrance, guests are welcomed by a Sistine Chapel-like painting of cartoonish flying cows — a nod to Cook Children’s Cowtown roots — a giant digital wall, and a tile motif of a tree whose color-coded falling leaves create a kid-friendly and interactive wayfinding trail to the emergency department in one direction and outpatient services in the other. At each stop in their journey through the facility, kids and their families are greeted with spaces that invite imagination, discovery, play and rest in a way that connects the dots between their ideal experience at Cook Children’s and the health care they receive along the way.
“If I had to pick one of my favorite aspects of the medical center, it's the initial presentation our families experience when they walk in our front doors,” Greene said. “It’s so focused on that child’s experience, and everything has been designed with the child in mind. You feel like you're in a special place. We were very intentional with that. I can't wait for the community to experience and understand who we are in that first moment when they walk in.”
The medical center's 10-bed emergency department adds much-needed emergency care beds to the area in a time when many pediatric emergency departments are overflowing from an unprecedented season of viral illnesses. Over the next several months, Cook Children’s anticipates opening an additional 10 emergency department beds to support the emergency care needs of children.
Anticipating future growth, a total of four operating rooms have been built and equipped to keep kids close to home when they need surgery. Two will open with the medical center on Jan. 9. The remaining two will open in the future as the community and its needs grow. Each operating room is equipped with technology that allows for real-time remote viewing and physician collaboration with colleagues at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth if needed. This gives Cook Children’s Medical Center – Prosper patients and families the advantage of the health system’s full network of world-class physicians and surgeons.
“I’m really excited about the technology built into this campus, and I like the fact that physicians and providers were involved in the design process from day one,” said Tony Anani, M.D., MPH, MBA, gastroenterologist and Medical Director of Clinical Specialties at Cook Children’s Medical Center – Prosper. “There are some features that we’re really going to enjoy while practicing medicine. One of them is the ability for doctors to beam into our surgery and our endoscopy suites. So all our partners in Fort Worth have the ability to help us with their brain trust for difficult patients up here without us having to move the child downtown, and that would not have been possible without the technology and without it being designed into the building.”
Patients awaiting surgery are prepped in one of 12 private pre-operative exam rooms. A surgery waiting area provides private space for families to wait while a child undergoes a procedure.
Until now, children in Prosper and throughout the northern region needing intravenous infusion therapy would have to travel to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth or to Dallas. A dedicated infusion center at Cook Children’s Medical Center – Prosper will now bring this critical service close to home for our families. In addition, a specialty procedure area, also referred to as the SPA, has three procedure rooms for gastroenterologists, pulmonologists and ear, nose and throat specialists. The SPA is designed so that physicians can easily work together on difficult cases.
Supporting each of these services is an imaging center equipped with all of the imaging and diagnostic technology needed to provide advanced care for pediatric patients.
Each inpatient room includes a 65-inch television that can integrate with the patient and family’s personal devices. The television serves as an interactive hub for anything the patient may need, from ordering food to entertainment to connecting and consulting with Cook Children’s specialty physicians at the medical center in Fort Worth if needed.
“We're not just Cook Children's – Prosper. We're part of the integrated health care system,” Greene said. “When a family is cared for on our campus or in one of our clinics, they will have the full weight of the entire Cook Children’s Health Care System behind them. From our home health division, to our health plan and physician network made up of more than 800 physicians and providers, our families can rest easy knowing they now have access to one of the nation’s largest integrated pediatric health care systems focused entirely on their child's care.”
Welcoming New Talent
In addition to its technology, infrastructure and patient experience, Cook Children’s Medical Center – Prosper is attracting trailblazing medical talent and bringing more than 500 jobs to the community. Trailblazers like Kanika Bowen-Jallow, M.D., a pediatric surgeon at Cook Children’s Medical Center – Prosper, and only the ninth Black female pediatric surgeon in the United States. Also, Dr. Anani, who was the first physician hired at Cook Children’s Medical Center – Prosper when all administrators had to show him was an empty parcel of land and a vision. Both Dr. Bowen-Jallow and Dr. Anani shared Cook Children’s vision and have been instrumental in the development of the Prosper campus and its services.
“Cook Children’s is hiring,” Dr. Anani said. “That’s an infusion into the economy of Prosper and the surrounding area. We're hiring people that truly care about providing care for the children in our community. I'm really excited about this because I live in Prosper. My kids go to the schools here in Prosper, and I'm happy that we'll have the care we need nearby. What’s good for kids is good for the community, including the local economy.”