Washington, DC—First Lady Michelle Obama visited patients, families, and staff today at Children’s National Health System for the eighth consecutive year, joined by television and radio host Ryan Seacrest.
Mrs. Obama and Mr. Seacrest began their visit by touring the Heart and Kidney Unit (HKU) and spreading cheer to patients and families staying there. The HKU at Children’s National provides progressive, comprehensive care for patients with various cardiology and kidney conditions.
“We are so grateful that Mrs. Obama has chosen to celebrate the winter holidays with our young patients for the past eight years and are thrilled Ryan Seacrest could join her this year,” says Kurt Newman, MD, President and CEO of Children’s National. “As First Lady, Mrs. Obama has been an incredibly strong advocate for the health of all children and we are honored to call her a friend of Children’s National.”
Following the tour, Mrs. Obama and Mr. Seacrest – accompanied by First Dogs, Bo and Sunny – arrived in the hospital’s Main Atrium, escorted by two patients, Maryam Noor Ashard, 13, and Abi Soliman, 5. They greeted patients, families, and staff from throughout the hospital and then, as part of Mrs. Obama’s annual tradition, read the holiday classic ‘Twas the Night before Christmas to the audience. The children in the audience asked the First Lady and Mr. Seacrest questions about their family holiday traditions. Instructors and students from Just Rock Enterprises, the Amours vocal group, and Reggie Rice–the “Super Magic Man”– treated children and families to a holiday concert complete with interactive songs and games.
To complete the visit, Mrs. Obama and Mr. Seacrest visited Seacrest Studios in the Main Atrium to greet additional patients and participate in an interview that was broadcasted to patients throughout the hospital. Seacrest Studios is a state-of-the-art multimedia broadcast studio at Children’s National that was made possible in partnership with the Ryan Seacrest Foundation (RSF). The studio provides regular programming for patients in the hospital including games, talk shows, celebrity visits, and dance parties. RSF currently has Seacrest Studios at 10 hospitals in Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Nashville, Orange County, Philadelphia and Washington D.C.
“It is a very special holiday surprise to have the First Lady and Ryan Seacrest visit our patients and their families. Their visit means so much for these families who cannot celebrate the holidays at home this year,” says David Wessel, MD, Executive Vice President, Chief Medical Officer for Hospital and Specialty Services.
For more than 130 years, the First Ladies of the United States have shared the Children’s National belief that every child should have the best possible chance to thrive. They have made special visits to Children’s National and have attended events to demonstrate their commitment to serving the nation’s children. First Lady visits during the holiday season can be documented as far back as Bess Truman.
Children’s National is located less than four miles from the White House and, in addition to being a Leapfrog Group Top Hospital and Magnet® designated, is one of only four pediatric hospitals in the country to have been ranked in the top 20 in every one of the 10 specialty areas rated by U.S. News & World Report.
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The Heart and Kidney Unit (HKU) at Children’s National is the hub for progressive and multidisciplinary cardiac and kidney care. Patients and families in the HKU have access to a team of cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons, nephrologists, critical care specialists, neonatologists, and nurse practitioners who provide comprehensive medical and surgical care.
Contact: Emily Hartman or Lauren Lytle at 202-476-4500.