For many young children and their parents, just the thought of a visit to the doctor’s office can be a traumatic experience.
New wall-to-ceiling paintings of wide-eyed forest creatures and kids flying kites under a rainbow take some of the edge off a doctor’s appointment at the Kaiser Permanente Berkeley Pediatrics Department, said department chief Nora Garcia-Zepeda, MD.
“When we moved in last May, the walls were a bit bare,” she recalled. “So, I said, ‘Let’s create an atmosphere that’s safe, warm, and fun.’”
Dr. Garcia-Zepeda said she found inspiration from online images at a children’s hospital in Pennsylvania. Then she contacted Jay Murphy, Kaiser Permanente’s National Facilities Capital Projects East Bay team manager, who solicited proposals from local artists. The work of 3 artists, Joyce Hsu, Katy Tanis, and Cindy Potter, were chosen by a vote of the entire pediatrics team, and their paintings now adorn the walls.
“Before, when kids had their height measured, they stood against a cold steel bar,” said Dr. Garcia-Zepeda. “Now they stand next to a bear.”
The work caught the eye of Kaiser Permanente area leaders, including Oakland Medical Center Physician in Chief Rita Ng, MD, who called it “the epitome of providing culturally responsive care in a warm and safe environment.”
“It makes your imagination run a little wild in the best of ways,” said Dr. Ng. “I’m so proud of the pediatrics team that made this happen.”