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Pediatrics fundraising priority for Effingham Health System Foundation
Elizabeth Waters
Effingham Health System Foundation Director Elizabeth Waters addresses the Exchange Club of Effingham County on Aug. 10. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

SPRINGFIELD — Even though she is relatively new to her job, Elizabeth Waters spoke with the confidence of a veteran as she addressed the Exchange Club of Effingham County at the Effingham County Recreation Department on Aug. 10.

“This is kind of my first presentation in this role,” said Waters, the director of the Effingham Health System Foundation. “It has definitely been a change from what I am used to — being in the hospital setting. The clinical piece is all new to me. The fundraising piece obviously is not.”  

Waters spoke to the Exchange Club on behalf of the United Way of the Coastal Empire when she was its area director for Effingham County.

“For the Effingham Health System Foundation, our mission is to support Effingham Health System’s continued growth by increasing awareness through philanthropy and by finding financial resources that support the delivery of quality health care in our community.”

The foundation is in the midst of launching its latest fundraising campaign. The goal is to collect $3 million in three years.

“It is obviously not something that one person can do,” Waters said. “It takes a huge collaboration and community partners.”

The foundation recently collected $155,000 from health system employees for the campaign. A large of chunk of that total will go toward pediatric services. A new pediatric center is tentatively set to open early next year in the former Effingham County Industrial Development Authority building.

“If you are familiar with our county and the growth of our county, pediatrics is a huge area that we have a need for,” Waters said. “... One of the major reasons we are fundraising right now is to create, advance and provide the resources needed for that facility.”

Waters added that Effingham Health System is projected to treat 6,000 pediatric patients in 2022. It treated just over 4,000 in 2020 and 5,600 last year.

“With moving (from 1451 Ga. Hwy 21 North) to (the former IDA building), that will open up a bigger space,” she said. “We can bring in more pediatricians to better serve our community. ... There are tons of families moving to this area.”

In addition to existing primary care and telehealth, new pediatric specialty services may include nutrition, speech therapy, orthopaedics, physical therapy, ENT, mental/behavioral health and chronic disease education.

Effingham Health System is also focusing on expanding in other areas to meet the challenge of a projected 13 percent population growth in Effingham County by 2025.

“Pediatrics is really our top priority right now,” Waters said. “Second is our senior care. As you know, our hospital has a 105-bed, long-term care center that has been there for many, many, many years. We definitely want to continue to grow and expand that, and keep up with the needs and technology that is required for that. 

“In addition to that is our Cancer Care Center. This is a situation and area that is definitely a need.

“We were are focusing on in these three areas is keeping that care close to home so that we do not have to have transportation to get back and forth to Savannah where most of your specialists and doctors. It’s to provide those resources right here at home.”

To learn about giving opportunities, contact Waters at (912) 754-7565 or e-mail