The largest pediatrics office in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia network just had its ribbon cutting ceremony at its new location near campus.

The Karabots Pediatric Care Center — officially opened on Feb. 6 and located at 48th and Market streets in West Philadelphia — contains 56 examination rooms as well as radiology rooms, hearing and vision testing and a phlebotomy lab.

The new center is named for Nicholas and Athena Karabots, who contributed $7.5 million towards the $27 million, 52,000-square-foot facility. Nicholas Karabots is a philanthropist whose success in printing and publishing has allowed him to devote his earnings to projects that focus on causes pertaining to inner-city youth.

The Karabots Center is now also home to the primary care centers previously located at 39th and Chestnut streets and 3550 Market Street. It plans to accommodate 45,000 outpatient visits annually. The Center is physically located between the second largest primary-care center at Cobb’s Creek, which accommodates approximately 25,000 to 30,000 patients per year, and the University City site.

Having practiced at the University City location for 19 years prior to moving to the Karabots Center, Christina Master believes that the new center reflects a renewal of CHOP’s commitment to West Philadelphia.

“This one is really in the heart of West Philadelphia,” she said. “It’s near many of the schools for the kids that we serve and I think from that standpoint it reflects a commitment that CHOP has to West Philly as being our first home.”

With many community outreach programs in place, the Karabots Center aims to be more than a primary-care facility. Services available at the center include domestic violence education, the Community Asthma Prevention Program, Early Head Start and Reach Out and Read.

Reach Out and Read serves to promote early literacy throughout the country by giving new books to children between the ages of six months and five years during doctors’ visits.

“Many of our families don’t even have books in the home, so this is a way for children to get involved,” said Alicia Gresham, the director of Specialty Care and Primary Care Services at CHOP.

She believes that this program and the center both demonstrate a commitment to local children.

“[The Karabots Center] really brings a level of beauty to the neighborhood that wasn’t there and it shows that our investments in children in West Philadelphia are just as important as the twenty-some sites we have in the suburbs of Pennsylvania and New Jersey,” she said.

The Karabots Center allows for an expansion of services, an ability to serve many more children and encompasses facilities for community groups to get together. “We can provide educational experiences,” said Chief Executive Officer of CHOP Steven Altschuler. “We just instituted a health weight initiative. Basically, what we have the ability to do is to provide these all in one convenient place.”

He added that CHOP has new electronic record technology.

“So, what we’ve really tried to do is design a state-of-the-art center which will provide care for kids and position CHOP as a leading provider in this new era of health care reform,” Altschuler said.

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