By providing essential health services for the local community, citizens are ensured protection and security for themselves and their families. Having these necessary resources at their fingertips allows families to give and receive emotional support to those closest to them when they need it most.
Loudoun County, about 30 miles west of Washington, D.C., is one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation. While growth is good, it puts a great deal of pressure on a community’s essential services – especially healthcare and education. Sharon and Scott realized that the county needed to have the capabilities necessary to deal with any medical emergency that came along. We spent time with the hospital administrators and physicians discussing what could be done to strengthen INOVA Loudoun Hospital’s ability and capacity to deal with high levels of trauma. We embarked with the hospital on a multi-year program to build a new trauma and emergency center, acquire state-of-the-art equipment, bring new expertise and experiences to the emergency medical team, and train the hospital staff and the community EMS teams in advanced trauma services.
Since the implementation of the Trauma program at Inova Loudoun Hospital in October 2017, over 5,011 patients have been treated. The Inova Virts Miller Family Emergency and Trauma Center has averaged 43,000 patients per year over the past four years.
The Virts-Miller Foundation committed over $4,000,000 to the hospital system to support the new emergency and trauma program. Today, patients with severe injuries can get critical care promptly while staying close to home as they recover. Elapsed time to treatment and the support of family are two critical aspects of a patient’s ability to survive, recover quickly, and reduce long term effects. INOVA Loudoun Hospital has achieved a Level 2 trauma center designation and will very soon achieve the highest level, Level 3. Since the launch in October 2017, the trauma program has treated over 5,011 trauma patients.
A growing issue facing communities and their school systems today is the mental health and disability challenges facing teenagers and children. Societal circumstances have placed new challenges on teachers – their training doesn’t emphasize dealing with mental health issues, for instance. A Place To Be is a non-profit focused on serving families and children facing the most difficult mental and physical challenges through Music Therapy. Their mission is to help people face, navigate, and overcome life’s challenges using clinically based practices of music therapy. Scott is the Chairman of the Board & President of A Place To Be.
The Virts-Miller Foundation is currently focused on two areas of support for A Place To Be: development of the therapy staff, and in-school mental health programs for K-12 children. Programs for the education and training of Music Therapists are not common around the country and so the recruiting and retention of therapists with critical skills is a challenge. The Virts-Miller Foundation has helped develop and fund A Place To Be programs to successfully attract and retain music therapists.
One especially successful program has been The Same Sky Project which features a traveling group of performers who advocate for and promote messages of empathy, love, inclusion, acceptance, and inspiration through music and performance. The Same Sky Project showcases a changing group of teens, each with different physical, intellectual, and developmental challenges, who perform original shows at local school assemblies in an effort to communicate their daily struggles and aspirations to fellow classmates.
Popular shows such as Behind the Label, A Will To Survive, and, most recently, Abira and the Mountain and Music & Emotion, have played before more than 70,000 local students. The Virts-Miller Foundation has been instrumental in funding these special shows. In 2017, A Will To Survive, the original rock-opera style musical tackling the sensitive topic of suicide prevention in teens, played to a sold-out audience at The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.