Item Details

Piedmont Sanatorium (Burkeville, VA)

Online; Visual Materials
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From the Virginia Department of Health Health Bulletin, Piedmont Sanatorium Number, Vol. II, No. 1, November, 1938: "....Prior to 1918 no adequate public facilities existed in Virginia for the treatment of the tuberculous Negro. Several years previous to that time a campaign was conducted by the State Department of Health to remedy this situation. In these efforts the Virginia Tuberculosis Society and the Negro Organization Society actively and inspiringly cooperated. It was appreciated then, as it is today, that tuberculosis among the colored race would have to be reduced if satisfactory progress in lowering both the incidence and death rates in the general population were to be achieved. "In 1916 the Legislature made an appropriation to purchase land and erect a small hospital for the institutional treatment of Negroes suffering with tuberculosis. Population and transportation factors were responsible in locating the sanatorium one mile east of Burkeville. "The work of clearing the land and remodling the farm structures, already on the 310 acre tract, was started in the latter part of 1916. Actual construction on the new buildings began in 1917. One twenty-five bed pavilion and the administration quarters were completed in March, 1918. On April 22nd of that year Piedmont Sanatorium formally was opened and the first patient admitted. "With Dr. H. C. Carter as superintendent and Miss Mary E. Gilliam as head nurse representing the professional staff, assisted by twelve employees, this institution, the first of its kind in the South, immediately began to make history. The twenty-five beds soon were filled. A waiting list at once developed which, incidentally, has existed from that time to the present. "In June of 1918 the State Tuberculosis Association offered $5,000 for a second pavilion provided by the State Board of Health would complete it. As a result of the Moton Building was erected. With a rearrangement of facilities in the Agnes Randolph Pavilion and this new construction the total bed capacity in September, 1918, was increased to 70. "In September of 1918 a course of study for nurses was outlined by the staff. The orginal class with an enrollment of two students began work shortly thereafter, marking the start of the Piedmont Sanatorium Trainig School for Colored Women. It is significant that this was the first school in the United States training Negro women in tuberculosis nursing. Since 1925 a six-months, post-graduate course has been made available. Since 1918 seventy-four nurses have been graduated. Many of these alumni now are supervisors of Virginia sanatoria and of others in southern States; several are engaged in Public Health and social service work, while others are doing private duty in a New York City tuberculosis hospital. The importance of this branch of training is becoming more evident each year. "During 191 occupational therapy was introduced, made possible through a donation from the National Tuberculosis Association. This work has continued ever since that time. All patients going to meals and on exercise attend the classes. "Again, with the financial aid of the National Tuberculosis Association a course of instruction, including clinical work, was offered to the colored physicians of Virginia; it was well attended and highly successful. "Addtions to the professional and maintenance staffs, while slow and few, were made in a successful effort to keep pace with the institution's ever increasing needs. Essential equipment from time to time also was added. "In May, 1921, a small nurses' home was completed; and in 1923 the first half of a new building for bed cases, provided for by the General Assembly in 1922, received its first patients. The completion of this wing increased the patient capacity to 98. "The spiritual and moral welfare of the institution's patients and employees was not forgotten. Early in 1922 the Piedmont Sanatorium Welfare Board was organized. In May, 1923, the Board requested permission to erect a chapel. By the combined efforts of the members of this Board, the patients, staff, employees, and many friends $3,000 was collected. The chapel was dedicated in April, 1924. "The second wing to the infirmary was opened for patients in March, 1926. It was named 'The Carter Building.' The capacity thus was increased to 150. The Negro Organization Society donated funds for equipment of the basement of this building for friends and relatives of the patients, also for colored physicians, who visit the institution. "On March 1, 1931, Dr. J. B. Woodson was appointed superintendent and medical director, Dr. Carter having previously died. During the seven years of Dr. Woodson's administration many improvements to the grounds and buildings have been made. "To date nearly 5,500 patients have been treated, exclusive of the large number of patients referred by the physicians to the institution for examination. "Twenty years have passed since the sanatorium was established. The staff now consists of the superintendent and medical director, assistant medical director, assistant physician, superintendent of nurses, dietitian-housekeeper, technician, business executive, and medical department secretary." Cf. prints20166.
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University of Virginia Visual History Collection
Historical Collections & Services, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, Charlottesville, Va.
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