St. Mary’s Medical Center Holds Summer Festival to Celebrate 100 Years of Long Beach Medicine

To celebrate 100 years of medical care delivery in Long Beach, St. Mary’s Medical Center hosts a massive birthday party to which the entire city is invited.

This summer, St. Mary will host countless celebrations to celebrate a century of health services focused on underserved and vulnerable communities. Because St. Mary’s is primarily a safety net hospital, meaning that it primarily provides care for Medicare or uninsured people, health equity has long been one of its major focuses.

Many of St. Mary’s programs aim to serve diverse disenfranchised communities, including CARE centres, healthy families and low vision programs. With 360 beds, a trauma level II program, robotic surgery, a cardiac unit, maternal and child health services, the medical center has evolved into the first Catholic hospital in South Los Angeles.

St. Mary will thank staff and patients beginning in August through masses, group barbecues, celebrations and community block parties.

“For 100 years, people came to us because they were vulnerable and needed help. I invite you to help me with this,” said Michael. Niels, President of the Foundation with Dignity, Health St. Georges Mary.

The Sisters of the Charity of the Incarnate Word worked at St. Mary’s Hospital in the early days of the medical center. (Courtesy of St. Mary’s Medical Center)

History of St. Mary’s Medical Center in Long Beach

The Sisters of Charity of the Word of the Incarnation purchased the then St. John’s Church. $160,000 from a Long Beach doctor to Mary’s Hospital. One of the sisters’ mother, Rashidas, approved the purchase of the hospital, and the sisters invested another $140,000 in renovations, and she opened the medical center two months later.

At the time, the sisters’ medical center was located only in Houston, Texas. When asked why she wanted to buy St. Mary’s Hospital, Mother Lasidas said: Mary will make Long Beach a better place for everyone. “

“We truly believe it’s our legacy,” said Niels. “It’s our legacy. It’s our ongoing commitment.”

By the time it opened on August 26, 1923, St. Mary’s Hospital could accommodate 100 patients with emergency rooms, laboratories, a pharmacy, and an operating room.

Ten years later, a devastating magnitude 6.4 earthquake destroyed St. Mary’s Hospital along with many other buildings in the city, according to the Long Beach Historical Society. The sisters have rebuilt the center and expanded it to include even more services.

The Sisters of the Charity of the Incarnate Word worked at St. Mary’s Hospital in the early days of the medical center. (Courtesy of St. Mary’s Medical Center)

By 1974, two more renovations had taken place, and the hospital became known as St. Mary’s Medical Center, doubling the number of patient beds, adding fully private wards, a larger emergency room, and an intensive care unit. It was equipped with a hospital room, a cardiology room, and an obstetrics room. child health services.

In 1996, St. Mary’s Medical Center joined Catholic Healthcare West and was named Dignity Health in 2012.

Carolyn Caldwell, CEO of St. Mary’s Medical Center, said, “One of our focuses as we approach our 100th anniversary is to make health equitable for all. Trying to enjoy it,” he said.

The center quickly became a source of health and hope for underserved communities in the Long Beach area.

St. Mary’s Medical Center opened the CARE Center in 1986. It is the first management network in the country to provide comprehensive care for patients living with AIDS and HIV. Today, CARE provides HIV treatment, PrEP and PEP, social services, dental care, health education, and housing assistance to the LGBTQ community, regardless of their ability to pay.

“It was a very scary time for many, but St. Mary was at the forefront of creating the CARE program, and it continues to do so,” Caldwell said.

The CARE program currently regularly assists approximately 1,600 clients.

The Medical Center has many programs for families of Southeast Asian, Latino, and other backgrounds. Family health programs include advocacy and health education programs for young men, home visit programs for parents of newborns, infant massage workshops, and parenting workshops.

The Family Health Program was created for Cambodian families immigrating to the United States in the 80s, Caldwell said. The center has transitioned many of its programs to virtual visits and workshops during the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing an even tighter network of Long Beach care centers, hospitals and departments. Caldwell said they turned to each other for support and resources.

Nelly De La Cruz and Arlene Ramirez donated 80 care packages to nurses at Dignity Health St. Mary’s Medical Center in Long Beach.

“St. I’ve been looking for it,” Caldwell said.

100th anniversary event

The first of St. Mary’s summer celebrations is the Centennial Mass on August 23rd on St. Mary’s campus. The Archbishop of Los Angeles, José Gomez, will be in attendance along with eight members of the Word of the Incarnate Charity Sisters who previously worked at St. Mary’s.

After Mass, St. Mary’s will set up food trucks and tables on the lawn and host a picnic-style barbecue for the entire staff.

The sisters will be honored for all their achievements in Long Beach and beyond at an invitation-only celebration on August 24. Current and former board members, as well as longtime major donors, will be in attendance to honor the sisters’ achievements. sister’s legacy.

On September 30th, the entire community will be invited to a block party-style festival on the 14-acre campus of St. Mary’s Medical Center. It runs from noon to 7pm. The festival features local food stalls, artisan markets, children’s activities and live music. music etc.

“St. Mary’s has a city-wide party in Long Beach. We’re serious about bringing all of Long Beach’s culture to campus.”

Michael Niels, Mary, Chairman, Dignity Health St. Louis Foundation

The main stage hosts musical performances by bands that rotate throughout the day, but anyone who wants to showcase their talents is invited to perform on the community stage.

Purchasing a wristband gives attendees access to the “Taste of Long Beach” section of the festival, where they can sample dishes from a variety of local restaurants. Local non-profits that have worked with St. Mary will be highlighted in a separate section of the festival.

On the morning of the festival, around 11:00 am, all religious groups and denominations are invited for a time of ‘blessing and thanksgiving’.

“It’s an honor to be able to do what we do…you pay attention to us and invite us into your life in a special way,” said Niels. “So our first goal, or number one, was to thank Long Beach for letting us be a part of your lives for 100 years.”

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