Categorized | Health

Training for enhanced newborn care begins at KCH


Kona Community Hospital is the first hospital to participate in an islandwide neonatal (newborn) educational class developed by the Collaborative Health Initiative (CHI). This course is anticipated to be taught at the three Big Island hospitals that deliver babies and at other neighbor island hospitals.

The goal of the course and subsequent training is to improve newborn outcomes by enhancing infant resuscitation skills at community hospitals.

A pilot neonatal resuscitation and stabilization course organized by CHI was conducted in February at KCH by a team of trainers that included three physicians (two neonatologists and one neonatal hospitalist), a respiratory therapist and a registered nurse with NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) experience.

Participants included eight registered nurses and four respiratory therapists who were instructed on the resuscitation and stabilization of sick babies. A state-of-the art newborn simulation mannequin was utilized to provide trainees with a realistic learning experience and several hands-on stations were provided for the attendees to review other necessary stabilization procedures and skills.

CHI director and neonatalologist Dr. Sneha L. Sood said, “This project has been made possible by dedicated volunteers from CHI as well as various financial donations from community sources. Community advocates and members of the Senior Advisory Board, Barry Taniguchi and Dr. Virginia Loo, and neonatologist Dr. Sherry Loo, have been instrumental in spearheading the CHI. In addition, the enthusiasm of the nurses, respiratory therapists, and physicians at Kona Community Hospital was outstanding and we really appreciate the support of their administration for this project.”

The program will benefit the staff in maternity and patients, said James Ruiz, MD, obstetrician/gynecologist and chairman of the Obstetrics Department at KCH.

“Having more skills at approaching a sick newborn will help stabilize the baby and ease a lot of the anxiety of caring for it. In a small community hospital, there is often a wait until the pediatrician arrives, many times these situations are hard to predict,” Ruiz said. “Our personnel will be better prepared with this training; it also brings in the extra hands of the respiratory staff more directly. Many thanks to those that are enabling this.”

The CHI is a Big Island-based initiative consisting of multidisciplinary health care professionals and community leaders from the Big Island and Oahu who have been volunteering their time to improve maternal-child health care.

For more information about CHI, contact Sneha Sood at or Leocadia Conlon at

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