A New Place Like Home

Breaking ground on the new Young Adult Residence across the street from The Children’s Inn

Four people holding shovels at groundbreaking

Fifty years before The Children’s Inn at NIH opened its doors, there were already places like home on the campus of the National Institutes of Health. On a chilly December morning, the process officially began to convert one of them into part of “A Place Like Home” as The Inn broke ground on its new Young Adult Residence, to be housed in a residential building across the street from The Inn’s main building.

Jennie Lucca, the Chief Executive Officer at The Inn, joined NIH Principle Deputy Director Dr. Lawrence Tabak and a group of VIPs for the groundbreaking of the new residence, which will provide space primarily focused on young adults coming to The Inn. The expansion will allow The Inn to accommodate as many children, teens, and young adults as possible to continue the vital work being done at the NIH Clinical Center and across the entire NIH campus.

The new residence was conceived under the vision of Inn trustee Diane Baker. Several years ago, she saw the way in which The Inn could provide “A Place Like Home” for a broader range of young adults. She worked with Inn and NIH leadership to expand the upper age limit of Inn residents to 30 years old and has continued to provide tireless leadership and effort in planning for the renovation with that population in mind.

Baker’s vision became a reality thanks in large part to the stewardship of Tony Clifford, NIH Chief Engineer in the Office of Research Facilities. Using plans developed by Chief Program and Services Officer Cathy Morales and Director of Facilities and Construction Management Brian Schmoyer, it will include six guest rooms for families; an expansive kitchen, dining room, and living room; and laundry facilities and support areas that mirror what currently exists at The Children’s Inn.

The new facility will be housed inside a building known as the Rabson House and officially called Quarters 15B, located a stone’s throw from The Inn on the opposite side of West Drive. In 1940, 12 homes were constructed on the grounds and rented to Public Health Service officers. Those homes, known as “The Station,” provided a close-knit community for the families who occupied them for more than 70 years.

Most recently, Quarters 15B was home to Drs. Alan Rabson and Ruth Kirchstein. Dr. Rabson served as the Deputy Director of the National Cancer Institute, and Dr. Kirchstein was the Acting Director of NIH on two separate occasions, in 1993 and again from 2000-02. She lived in the house from her arrival at NIH in 1974 until her passing in 2009.

The new Young Adult Residence will focus primarily on the unique needs of the young adult population that comes to The Inn. One such resident is Faithanne, who has been coming to The Inn for over a decade to receive treatments for a rare and difficult-to-treat soft tissue cancer called alveolar soft part sarcoma. She is now 21 years old and, despite the ongoing treatments that bring her back to The Inn several times a year, is pursuing a career in medicine with a goal of traveling the world.

“The Children’s Inn has always been a place like home for me, no matter how many times I’ve returned to NIH for treatment,” Faithanne said. “I’m so excited that young adults now have a new space like home.”

Construction began at the start of 2024 and will continue with an anticipated completion in the final quarter of 2025.