It’s possibly the most exciting clinic-opening of the year, because Beijing LIH Olivia’s Place Pediatric Clinic’s mission is unprecedented in China: it strives to bring high quality, developmental and behavioral pediatrics and pediatric therapy to local and expat children. Americans Nelson and Quynh Chow are the founders of the facility, partnering with Chinese investment firm and consultant group LIH (Long-term Investment in Healthcare). The Chows are the parents of a daughter and son; Olivia (age 7) and Peyton (5). Olivia, who has Down Syndrome, is the namesake and inspiration for both the new Beijing LIH Olivia’s Place and Shanghai-based Olivia’s Corner. The Beijing branch of Olivia’s Place, Eliott’s Corner, will join forces with LIH Olivia’s Place in its new 980sqm facility. We sit down with Nelson Chow to find out more about the new clinic, its initiatives, and the necessity for raising the status of therapy services in China.
Tell us more about the mission of LIH Olivia’s Place
We’re doing this to bring about therapy change in China. We recognize that a lot of expats have a choice. They could go back to their home country. It’s the locals who don’t have any support, and because of that, they lose all hope. That’s why a lot of children get abandoned, why there are so many special needs kids in orphanages here, and why a lot of kids are locked in the house. There are stigmas involved because there are no services. We thought, if we’re going to do this, and we’re going to have so many foreign therapists on our staff, they need to be here for a reason other than therapy; they must be here to actually help influence and change the [state of therapy]in China so that millions of kids China can eventually get services just like our kids do.
Having a mission like that, if we really want to change the way therapy is being done in China and to be able to offer these kinds of services, then we knew we had to be a model clinic; to be high quality, [provide]supervision for everyone, continuous education, and all the things that an organization provides to actually better the individual. It shouldn’t be just individuals all put together; it should be a whole organization that represents everyone and allows everyone to do their best.
What are the challenges to carrying out your mission?
The multi-disciplinary nature. When you start doing cross-functional work, [therapy and medical], you involve the whole medical community and have to make sure that the link between the therapy and medicine is there. It’s one of the challenges but we really want to do it because we recognize that that link is missing now.
What kind of services will be provided at the new clinic?
It’s a true multi-disciplinary clinic: exactly the one stop shop we’re missing with a lot of our children. Basically, it’s a medical clinic that sees children with behavioral developmental issues from the medical all the way to the therapy. When a child comes in, you want to make sure can assess their full condition, so we can decide the best possible way to treat and help the child. It really increases the efficacy of treatment when you decide you want to [treat]it through medical or therapy means. For example, with medical you have behavioral developmental pediatricians who first see a child and, depending on the child’s conditions, can determine whether it can be handled medically, treated through therapy, or a combination of the two. And through that, we’ll have all the supporting therapists and staff to help out as well as consulting doctors we can refer to help with the medical issues. Other areas that we’re involved with are genetics, imaging, swallowing, and cardiology.
How did the partnership with LIH develop?
We work very closely with Kunming Medical University, one of the major top universities helping drive therapy in China. Together in fact, we helped connect Kunming Medical University to University of Hawaii to start China’s first bachelor’s program in speech and language pathology at a medical school. In doing that, we came to know the head of their rehabilitation division at Kunming Medical University who had been working with LIH on an adult rehabilitation hospital in Kunming. We were put in touch with LIH’s founder and CEO about a year and a half ago and have since been talking about potential ways we can work together because they have a very parallel mission to ours.
Tell us more about the company’s education initiatives.
If you look at our client base, it’s probably going to start shifting more towards Chinese children. Of course, with that comes the education of the Chinese parents and community in general; letting them know how therapy can benefit their children and what the uses of therapy are. It’s not just the parents, but also the medical community. They don’t know or understand therapy because it’s traditionally been at such a low level in China. So we’ll train the medical community on what therapy is and how doctors can use it because that’s the missing piece.
Another component is internal education. That’s one of the things that we really value – people continuously educating themselves. If you actually educate everyone involved, you’re going to start generating the infrastructure that’s needed on a large scale to change therapy in China. It’s going to involve all these groups and right now they are all at various stages in understanding from a very low level to a little more. We’ve always been working on education but I think now together with LIH, we can do much more because we have a lot more resources at our disposal.
Where do you see Beijing LIH Olivia’s Place a year from now?
We hope that the clinic is running, stable, and providing for all the things we want to do along our mission and at the same time, we’ll be looking at expanding Shanghai as well, doing something similar or even bigger.
LIH is carrying out other initiatives we’re going to be involved with, not just related to pediatrics but adult rehab as well. Our mission has always been and will be to serve pediatrics but a lot of what we do and the techniques we develop can carry over to other LIH components.
Beijing LIH Olivia’s Place Pediatric Clinic
Services include ABA therapy, audiology, developmental and behavioral pediatrics, occupational therapy, physical therapy, play therapy, psychological testing and therapy, speech and language pathology, and swallowing and feeding evaluations and therapy. Children aged 0-18 with attention deficits, Autism Spectrum Disorder, developmental delays, handwriting problems, learning disabilities, reading problems, speech and language disorders, and other needs can receive world-class help and support.
Rm 113, 2/F, Bldg 6, 13 Jiuxianqiao Lu, Chaoyang District (64616283, firstname.lastname@example.org) www.oliviasplace.org
Editors Note: This article has been amended from its original version as it appeared in the August issue of beijingkids magazine. Pictured above is Peyton Chow (5), not Eliott Hu (8). Eliott is namesake of Eliott’s Corner and son to Jacqueline Chen, the founder of Eliott’s Corner and the general manager of LIH Olivia’s Place; Peyton is Nelson Chow’s son and Olivia’s brother. We apologize for the confusion.
This article originally appeared on page 26-29 of the beijingkids August 2015 issue. Click here to read the issue for free on Issuu.com. To find out how you can get your own copy, email email@example.com.
Photos: Ken and courtesy of LIH Olivia’s Place