Niswonger Children’s Network


Welcome to Niswonger Children’s Network

The Ballad Health Niswonger Children’s Network is a regional system of care that marks the next phase in high standards of healthcare and well-being – and the start of brighter futures – for children across the Appalachian Highlands.

The Niswonger Children’s Network strives to give you confidence your child is receiving the absolute best in children’s healthcare.

Exciting changes to our facilities

As part of Niswonger Children’s Network, Ballad Health is making changes to several of our facilities to help us better serve the needs of local children.

This is all part of our mission to foster spaces for collaborative care, making it much easier for every child – regardless of where they live – to get the highest quality healthcare.

Expanding Niswonger Children’s Hospital

With a generous donation from a donor in Bristol, Virginia, Ballad Health will be creating a new center for perinatology alongside a hub for pediatric specialists at Niswonger Children’s Hospital. These centers will work alongside the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

The Regional Center for Perinatal and Neonatal Care will work with families to promote support for patients throughout prenatal diagnosis and treatment for those with complicated fetal abnormalities.

The Regional Center for Pediatric Specialties will create an environment where our pediatric specialists can work more collaboratively as they manage the care of children throughout our region.

Center for Women and Babies

Based on the recommendations of community leaders and physicians, Ballad Health is converting Indian Path Community Hospital in Kingsport, Tennessee, into a specialty hospital for women and babies.

As part of the Niswonger Children’s Network, this hospital will have seamless coordination with the region’s perinatal center and children’s hospital.

This will help us expand the reach of high-quality OB/GYN care – including labor and delivery services – for women and children in our communities.

New pediatric ER in Kingsport

Ballad Health will soon start the development of a new pediatric emergency department in Kingsport, which will be at Indian Path Community Hospital.

As part of the Niswonger Children’s Network, this unit will provide the same high standard of care as the emergency departments at Bristol and Johnson City.

J.D. Nicewonder Family Pediatric Emergency Department

We recently opened the J.D. Nicewonder Family Pediatric Emergency Department at Bristol Regional Medical Center as part of our regional system of care for local children.

Through the Niswonger Children’s Network, we can align our hospital emergency rooms to ensure patients receive timely, appropriate care and that all locations are linked through telemedicine.

Investment in robotic surgery

Ballad Health is investing in robotics surgery with the newest and most advanced robotic system, the DaVinci Xi, being placed at Holston Valley Medical Center, Franklin Woods Community Hospital and Bristol Regional Medical Center.

This technology will enhance the care provided by physicians who practice in women’s specialties.

Extending pediatric care beyond our hospital walls

The Niswonger Children’s Network is launching and sponsoring healthcare programs throughout our region to give children the tools and support necessary to succeed.

The network represents Ballad Health and East Tennessee State University’s commitment to expanding pediatric services and specialties, along with a concerted regionwide effort to expand services for children beyond care when they’re sick or hospitalized.

Partnership with ETSU

As part of Niswonger Children’s Network, Ballad Health is partnering with East Tennessee State University to identify key strategies for expanding our pediatric services.

Through this partnership, Ballad Health can elevate our pediatric specialty and subspecialty programs – developing a robust trauma and surgical program for children.

Niswonger Children’s Hospital will now be, "Powered by ETSU Health," to reflect the strong clinical relationship between Ballad Health and ETSU.


If we aim to promote positive change in the Appalachian Highlands for children and families – whether that’s in economics, education or healthcare – we must first come together to create opportunity and resilience.

Our children are the future, and we must provide them with the care and support they need to thrive.

Strong is a shared, regionwide vision for how we can create change together. Our goal is to ensure that all children have strong starts in life, setting them up for long-term success.

As part of our collaboration with Strong ACC, the Ballad Health Niswonger Children’s Network has developed several initiatives and programs to promote healthy development for children throughout our communities.

Strong Starts

We’re proud to offer the Ballad Health Strong Starts program, a unique approach to maternity care, early childhood development and family support that is the first of its kind in the United States.

As part of our Strong Starts initiative, every woman in this region will receive an assessment during pregnancy. By utilizing artificial intelligence and other tools, we can identify children at risk for early childhood trauma before they’re born, allowing us to connect the mother and family to community-based support networks. We can connect families with childcare services, food assistance, housing insecurity resources and government assistance programs. We also offer classes for new parents, including prenatal, lactation and family classes. 

With Strong Starts, Ballad Health aims to reduce the number of children who wind up in foster care by providing the support that can keep families together and put children on a trajectory for school success. For more information or to sign up online, read about our Strong Starts program here or contact

Virtual Health Clinic

Through the Ballad Health Niswonger Children’s Network, we’re able to provide Virtual Urgent Care and Virtual Behavioral Health Services in both rural and city school districts in Tennessee and Virginia.

These programs supplement school nurses with virtual access to Ballad Health Medical Associates Urgent Care, and we’re piloting a virtual mental health program with Bristol Virginia Schools.

With the implementation of the Ballad Health Niswonger Children’s Network, we’re expanding this program throughout the region to give children easy access to high-quality medical care.

Additional initiatives & services

  • The Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) program at Johnston Memorial Hospital
  • Partnership with the city of Johnson City for UNICEF
  • Development of trauma-influenced care initiatives
  • Additional resources to support breastfeeding moms
  • Sponsoring several wellness playgrounds throughout the region
  • Leads regional child abuse taskforce

Throughout the Niswonger Children’s Network, Ballad Health is also supporting services and programming expansions for children and families throughout:

  • Regional Boys and Girls Clubs
  • Kingsport Miracle Fund
  • Virginia’s Kids Belong
  • Coalition for Kids
  • ETSU Pediatrics
  • The YWCA
  • Communities in Schools
  • Mom Power
  • Appalachian Promise Alliance
  • 180 Health Partners
  • Second Harvest summer feeding programs
  • YMCA scholarships

Support the Niswonger Children’s Network

We’re proud to be a part of a community that has always stood ready to assist children in need. They did so in 2009 when our community came together to build Niswonger Children’s Hospital, and they do the same today – through their generous support of the Niswonger Fund.

The Niswonger Fund provides the resources that help produce healthy outcomes for our region’s children. The Ballad Health Foundation Niswonger Fund ensures that the children of the Appalachian Highlands have access to the best possible facilities, equipment, programs and personnel to meet their healthcare needs.

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