Senator Julia Salazar allocates $1 million in capital funds to upgrade maternity ward at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center

Medina Salazar
State Senator Julia Salazar gives $1.375 million in allocated funds to Wyckoff Hospital Medical Center for the maternity ward upgrades
Photo by Anthony Medina

State Senator Julia Salazar, representing parts of Ridgewood and neighboring areas of Brooklyn, presented a $1.735 million check to the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center on Friday, May 10, to help the hospital upgrade its maternity ward.

Salazar’s funding, allocated to the hospital through a capital grant, would help provide the medical center with modern facilities for new and expecting parents, hospital staffers explained.

President and CEO of Wyckoff Heights Medical Center Ramon Rodriguez guided Salazar on a tour of the 12th-floor maternity ward. Rodriguez praised the senator for all her support and said the new upgrades provide a more integrated process for maternity care.

“Before, there were two floors that were part of this delivery process. Now there’ll be one room,” Rodriguez said, acknowledging the team of doctors and medical professionals who made it possible to run the maternity ward.

Dr. Ralph Ruggiero talks with Senator Julia Salazar on a tour of the maternity ward at Wyckoff Hospital.Photo by Anthony Medina

Hospital leadership also spoke on some of the challenges faced before the upgrades were made, including parents having to share a bathroom with other patients and being kept a floor away from their babies after birth.

Patient Care Manager Dr. Christine Hooker, alongside fellow doctors Ralph Ruggiero and Dr. Daniel Faustin, talked about how the new upgrades are meant to reflect an at-home environment where parents can be close to their newborns and health care.

“Our goal is to make sure that the nurses can take care of mother and baby,” said Hooker, with additional focuses on providing advanced labor and delivery training to medical staff and improved postpartum care.

Although the project has yet to reach completion, the rooms will provide specialized bedding for mothers and additional floor space for visitors and guests. Another section of the room is dedicated to the newborn’s bassinet, directly across from the patient’s bed. The bathrooms, the highlight of the renovations, provide quick and easy accessibility for parents.

One of several rooms at the Wyckoff maternity ward given upgrades to help care for patients.Photo by Anthony Medina

Senator Salazar, having pledged $3.5 million for the renovation of the Women’s Pavilion at Brooklyn’s Woodhall Hospital in the past, has continued to advocate for more female care access in her district and reinforced the need to help bring more funds to Wyckoff.

“Of course, we care about Wyckoff because it’s here in our community, but also in the context of maternal health in New York State,” Salazar said. Recognizing that in New York as a state, beyond the incredible work that you all do at Wyckoff, we have a lot of work to do to close the gap when it comes to inequality and inequities in health care, including maternal health care.”

President and CEO of Wyckoff Heights Medical Center Ramon Rodriguez, Senator Julia Salazar, Dr. Christine Hooker and Dr. Ralph Ruggiero hold up the check worth $1.375 million for maternity ward upgrades.Photo courtesy Kevena Hammond/ Wychoff Heights Medical Center

Hospital staffers say they look forward to fully utilizing the new rooms and having to prevent keeping parents and their babies apart on separate floors. The Wyckoff Doulas Save Lives Program is also expected to benefit from the upgrades, as Doulas provide childbirth and after-care services for women.