There’s a new kid in town and his name is Moke.  He’s a baby western lowland gorilla— the first male western lowland gorilla born at the National Zoo in nine years. This is the same species as Koko, perhaps the most famous gorilla, who has learned more than 1,000 symbols and understands 2,000 spoken words. They are a critically endangered species, and the National Zoo is engaged in cultivating interest in preservation efforts.

Since his birth on April 15, all eyes in the Great Ape house have been on Moke—and the keepers say that first-time mother, Calaya, has been a terrific mom and that her infant is doing just fine. “Moke already looks bigger,” says Great Ape keeper Melba Brown.  “He has more hair, his eyes are bright and he is very alert. Although he still naps, he does not take them as frequently as he did a few weeks ago.”

Knowing that the new addition is doing well is important.  It’s a good sign that he is growing up to be a strong and healthy adult—a “Silverback” like his father.

There is a touching series of photos on the Washington Zoo website. They show Calaya gently holding her newborn out where she can see him, and bending down to give him a tender and motherly kiss. One imagines that it is joy that we can see in her eyes.

Moke will be carefully watched for signs of normal growth and development, and every effort will be made to provide a wonderful environment for his development.

It’s fun to watch babies grow up and to think about all of the things that are happening to them as they develop. When growth stops or is uncertain, we become concerned, and we seek solutions that will help them get back on track. Growth is life.

Some of the ways you can tell a healthcare organization is growing are pretty obvious—like a new facility being built in White Oak. It is so exciting to see it taking shape!

Our growth as an organization is best seen in how we serve our communities. Our strategic objective for growth focuses on continuing to increase the number of patients served as we stretch to become the “Best Integrated Delivery Network.” Among the ways we will achieve that goal are through growth in our ambulatory network, our in-network referrals, increased integration with primary care, and the excellent experiences that drive patient loyalty.

For little Moke, growth is bright eyes, alertness, and putting on the pounds. For Adventist HealthCare, growth is focusing on those things that help us deliver excellent care to our patients and communities. Watching growth happen is always a joy and a reason for gratitude.