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Adventist Health White Memorial

Adventist Health White Memorial is a teaching hospital, which provides inpatient, outpatient, emergency and diagnostic services to communities in and near downtown Los Angeles. It is owned and operated by Adventist Health, staffed by 1,879 employees, nearly 700 volunteers, 462 physicians, and 86 residents.

History

On September 29, 1913, the small storefront medical clinic in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights, opened its doors for the first time with the aid of the clinic's director, Dr. August Larsen. The second-hand medical instrument equipped clinic provided treatment at no cost and served as a training ground for physicians attending the College of Medical Evangelists—now Loma Linda University. It was until 1915, when the talented Dr. Percy Magan serves as the new director of medical education at the clinic, leaving a prestigious teaching post and practice. A contribution of $30,000 from philanthropist Josie Phillips allows the hospital to nearly double its capacity expanding from 59 beds to 94 beds in 1922.

In 1937, the new White Memorial Medical Center building opens—the first fireproof hospital in the state. The designer is noted architect Myron Hunt, who also designed the Rose Bowl. The 1950s decade brought many expansions to WMMC, including a new wing that doubled the bed capacity of the hospital and included a radiation laboratory, electro-encephalobraphy unit, psychiatric ward and complete emergency facilities. It was during this decade that the new White Memorial Church was completed adjacent to the hospital. The opening of a $4.2 million Diagnostic and Treatment Center, now called the North Tower, became the highlight of the year 1968. In 2010, a $250 million project to rebuild the hospital became complete—made possible in part by $89 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding for seismic upgrades and $30 million in community support.

Today, Adventist Health White Memorial is one of the region's leading not-for-profit hospitals. Medical services include behavioral medicine, cardiac and vascular care, intensive and general medical care, oncology, orthopedic care, rehabilitation, specialized and general surgery, and women's and children's services. As a major teaching hospital, White Memorial also plays an important role in training physicians, nurses and other medical professionals. In 2012, White Memorial celebrated its 100th year of providing healthcare for its community.

The Boyle Ave location was constructed as a result of the efforts of about 50 women fundraising. On April 21, 1918, the new hospital opened in a cluster of single-story buildings as an earthquake rocks the opening ceremony attended by 2,500 people. In 1930, the Great Depression hit and White Memorial physicians accept payment from patients in flour, sugar or household goods. During this time, medical students provided janitorial work for free and nurses made home visits at no compensation. In the 1980s, White Memorial hit rock bottom, financially. Nationwide, the cost of delivering care was spiraling upward and many patients lacked health insurance or the ability to pay. The medical center was forced to eliminate programs and made difficult decisions about reducing staff. After years of belt-tightening, the hospital's future finally looked brighter. Despite the hardships, White Memorial has survived and flourished.

In 2011, U.S. News and World Report named the hospital one of the top 25 best hospitals in the Los Angeles metro area. In the same year, White Memorial won five 5-star awards from Professional Research Consultants, Inc. (PRC) for exceeding overall quality of care. In 2012, U.S. News and World Report ranked White Memorial as a first-class facility in both the city of Los Angeles and the state of California— #12 of the 32 top rated hospitals in the Los Angeles metropolitan area and #20 of the 41 strong-performing hospitals in California. The Collaborative Alliance for Nursing Outcomes (CALNOC) has also recognized WMMC as a top hospital for nursing quality and success in reducing both hospital-acquired pressure ulcers and patient falls. HealthGrades awarded the hospital with 14 designations for being a "National & State Leader in Clinical Excellence."

The facility is named for Ellen G. White a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church who was instrumental in securing the property for Loma Linda Medical Center and Loma Linda University. White Memorial was founded to provide practical experience for Loma Linda medical students. In 2017, White Memorial Medical Center changed its name to Adventist Health White Memorial.