A few months ago, we explored 20 little known facts about VA’s medical centers, and it was such a hit that we’ve brought it back!
Here are 20 bonus factoids about our medical centers, where committed health care professionals provide nearly 9 million Veterans with the excellent care they deserve.
- The James J. Peters VA Medical Center in Bronx, New York, is located on the highest point in New York City.
- The world’s first successful liver transplant was performed at the Denver VA Medical Center by pioneering surgeon Dr. Thomas E. Starzl.
- Bath, New York, was selected as a site for a VA medical center because its residents raised $23,000 for the project — in the 1870s! That’s more than $500,000 today.
- The modified Pueblo architecture of the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was designed to harmonize with the scenery and closely resemble the Native American village of Taos.
- Since 1973, internal medicine residents at the Durham VA Medical Center in North Carolina, have participated in an annual Thanksgiving game of flag football against residents at Duke Hospital.
- The stunning grotto at the Dayton VA Medical Center is a former limestone quarry.
- The Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center in Muskogee, Oklahoma, was the first VA Medical Center in the nation to be named after a Native American.
- Construction of the University Drive campus of the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System was delayed because an abandoned mine shaft was discovered beneath the land.
- Salem VA Medical Center in Roanoke, Virginia, is the only one to be dedicated by a sitting president, President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
- The VA Medical Center in Togus, Maine, was once a summer resort known as Togus Springs that boasted a hotel, stables, bowling alley, farmhouse, bathing house and race track.
- In the 1930s, the Doris Miller VA Medical Center in Waco, Texas, produced 2,400 pounds of ice daily at its ice plant.
- The VA medical center in Salt Lake City, Utah, once had a golf course, swimming pool, bowling alley, barber shop, and a theatre for first-run Hollywood movies and USO shows.
- The VA medical center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was a half-hour, horse-drawn buggy ride from downtown Milwaukee.
- With the largest research program in the VA system, the San Francisco VA Medical Center is one of a few facilities in the world that can conduct a whole-body MRI.
- The San Juan VA Medical Center in Puerto Rico is the only VA hospital in a U.S. territory.
- The Orlando VA Medical Center is recognized as one of the Top 100 Companies in Central Florida for working families.
- The West Palm Beach VA Medical Center in Florida is a design site for the VA’s Whole Health program, which focuses on providing Veterans with proactive care and incorporates more alternative medicine options.
- The Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, partners with the nation’s only Veteran-centric YMCA.
- VA’s first African American hospital director, Lt. Col. Joseph Henry Ward, M.D., ran the Tuskegee VA Medical Center in the 1920s.
- Many VAMCs got their start as tuberculosis (TB) facilities. William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin, was the first of VA’s 19 TB hospitals.
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