BY WALTER OPINDE
The first African-American Hospital and Training School was established in Chicago, Illinois on May 4, 1891; this was the current Provident Hospital and Training School, which we still see today. The hospital was owned and operated purely by the black people.
The man behind the foundation or establishment of Provident Hospital and Training School was Dr. Daniel Williams Hale, whose primary focus was to establish a hospital and training center that would train the black nurses and interns, who hungry for the medical knowledge but had been denied access to the white training hospitals. The hospital segment would also offer treatment to the black patients, who had equally been denied access to the treatment services at the white hospitals.
Reynolds Emma, an ambitious young woman who wanted to be a nurse, was, in 1889, denied a chance for admission in almost all Chicago medical training or nursing schools, merely on theu judgment by her skin color; she was a black woman. As a result of these unending frustrations, her brother, Reverend Reynolds Louis, a pastor at St. Stephen’s African Episcopal Methodist Church, approached Dr. Williams Hale Daniel for his advice and help. Dr. Daniel Hale was already a famous and respected African-American surgeon by then. With the support of Dr. Hale, Reverend Louis’ efforts could still bear no fruits; hence, they opted to launch a new medical/nursing school, which would serve only the blacks. With the motive and courage of starting a new nursing school for the African-Americans, Dr. Hale consulted different groups of people including the black ministers, businesspeople, and physicians to help him explore the procedure and strategies for establishing a hospital that would double up as a training facility. Every group consulted by Dr. Williams confirmed their support for the idea, and a fund-raising was quickly organized. This is how the Provident Hospital and Training School began.
Dr. Daniel Williams Hale, M.D. was a prominent African-American educator and a surgeon who performed the world’s first known and successful heart surgery. He conducted an operation that opened a human chest and repaired a damage on the sac surrounding the heart (pericardium) in 1893 at the Provident Hospital. Following his groundbreaking surgery that went viral globally, Dr. Hale was appointed the Chief Surgeon, a year later, at the Freedmen’s Hospital, Washington, D.C. in 1894. As well, Dr. Hale served as a professor at the Medical Department of Howard University, teaching/training both nurses and medical interns.
The Provident Hospital and Training School offered medical training services to the African-American interns, and care services to the same race for nearly a century before it was temporarily closed by 1987 due to certain financial challenges. However, by 1993, the Provident Hospital was re-opened through the support by the Cook County Bureau of Health Services. Its initial educational role of offering medical training also resumed one year later, in 1994, after establishing its firm affiliation with the Stritch School of Medicine at the Loyola University. It currently operates as the Provident Hospital of Cook County.
“Read more of the original story via http://www.providentfoundation.org/index.php/history/history-provident-hospital”
The Provident Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.providentfoundation.org/history/index.html
U.S. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from https://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/aframsurgeons/pioneers.html