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A Sweet Partnership: Friends@NIH and SuiteAmerica

suiteamerica2At Friends@NIH, a big part of what drives us is finding new and creative ways to support patients and their role in fulfilling the research efforts at the NIH. One common challenge is finding housing that is both comfortable for patients and their families during a very difficult time, and also located near the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland.

This is why we are especially proud of our partnership with one of our longtime sponsors, SuiteAmerica, who provides access to a furnished apartment for those participating in trials at the NIH at no charge to the patient. We recently sat down with Claudia Park, Corporate Business Manager at SuiteAmerica, to hear more about their commitment to helping NIH patients.

“When there’s a client coming into town that needs to continue with treatment, but is not necessarily ill enough that they need to be hospitalized, then they and their family can stay [at the apartment],” Park said.

The unit is fully furnished with high speed wireless internet in order to allow families to have all the comforts of home without having to be in the hospital setting. SuiteAmerica has been providing this apartment for five years and is currently securing a second apartment that can be set aside for patients, expanding their partnership with Friends@NIH.

Park has heard for herself the positive impact that SuiteAmerica’s apartment has made on the lives of NIH Clinical Center patients.

“There was a large anniversary party that I was invited to go to in 2014, and one of the patients that was actually staying at my apartment at the time came up and personally thanked me… that was so rewarding,” Park said. “I was so moved to hear that staying in the apartment was a much more comfortable experience than staying in a hospital or even in a hotel.”

Although the NIH receives funding from the government, the Clinical Center does not receive funds to support lodging for patients that are not admitted to the hospital. This is one of the many reasons why it is crucial for companies and individuals to do what they can to help fill the gap. Park reflected on the role of the NIH Clinical Center staff in supporting patients participating in clinical trials.

“The commitment of the Clinical Center staff, to me, is above and beyond, bar none,” said Park. “Every time I’m interacting with them on a fundraiser, or any type of event, tears are always flowing. They really feel it in their hearts. This is not a job for them, this is their life. It makes me want to do more and more [to help].”

Friends@NIH is proud to work with companies like SuiteAmerica, who help further our mission of providing support and improving quality of life for patients participating in clinical trials at the NIH Clinical Center. You can help us, too, by becoming a friend and getting involved!

Written by Rhianna Stepien


The Friends of Patients at the NIH