Talking to local physicians over the past several months as part of my work with Bon Secours Richmond Health Systems has been a history lesson – and a lesson in Richmond’s racial legacy, the importance of community, and the deep passion many doctors bring to their work.
Richmond Community Hospital (RCH) opened its doors more than 100 years ago in Jackson Ward, and moved onto Overbrook Road behind Virginia Union University in the 1930s. It wasn’t more than a half-mile from the old Richmond Memorial Hospital. For decades, black patients turned down Overbrook Road while white patients motored up to the doors of Richmond Memorial. Community made a final move in 1980 to its present location on North 28th Street in Church Hill; Bon Secours acquired it in 1995.
While many people know RCH for its important history, I’ve had a meaningful opportunity to explore the hospital’s future. It is so well-positioned to be in service to an almost-forgotten corner of the city – Church Hill and the broader East End (including portions of Henrico County) – that its mission literally is its middle name.
Over the past three months, Juliet Brown and I have been meeting with area physicians – including some of the leading black doctors in Richmond who were so instrumental in Community’s success – to talk about ways in which Bon Secours can broaden and strengthen RCH’s service to the community, and explore ideas on broadening that community. And while the outcomes of our work are for the leadership at RCH to discuss and share, it is exciting that much of what the physician community already sees in RCH mirrors what the hospital’s staff has worked hard to create.
For us, this has been exactly the sort of engagement we love – one which gives the Floricane team space to facilitate meaningful, actionable conversations that position groups of people to create a strong future together.
We can’t wait to see the future Richmond Community Hospital emerge from the heart of Church Hill.