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Press release

Centra Virginia Baptist Hospital Celebrating Centennial Year of Care

Published on Monday February 19, 2024

In 2024, Centra’s Virginia Baptist Hospital (VBH) is celebrating one hundred years of caring for the communities of central and southern Virginia.

The hospital originally opened on July 12, 1924 as Virginia’s first Baptist hospital. Since then, the hospital and its Caregivers have striven to provide healthcare excellence, compassion and innovation. Through decades of growth, VBH’s teams have remained devoted to healing those in need while also training others to carry on that legacy.

Kim Price, a member of the last graduating class of the Virginia Baptist School of Nursing and current President of the Centra Virginia Baptist Hospital Alumnae Association said, “I am thrilled to be sharing this milestone with our past and current Caregivers and our community. Miss Mary Cowling, the first superintendent of the hospital, created a tradition of caring at VBH that ‘the patient always comes first.’ I feel so honored to be a part of her legacy of caring for our community within the healing setting of the Baptist.”

VBH was the first hospital in the state to have air conditioning installed in its operating rooms, was the first hospital in central Virginia to use plastic wristbands for patient identification and housed Lynchburg’s first psychiatric unit. Other notable firsts achieved by the hospital include the establishment of the first neonatal ground transport system on the East Coast in 1973 and Lynchburg’s first open heart surgery that was performed by Dr. David Frantz in 1989.

“As we celebrate Centra Virginia Baptist Hospital’s centennial milestone, we get to reflect on a century of unwavering dedication to serving our community’s healthcare needs. It’s an honor to be a part of VBH's enduring legacy of providing excellent care,” said Tab Culbertson, the current President of Centra Lynchburg General Hospital and Virginia Baptist Hospital.

Throughout this centennial year, Centra plans to honor past achievements and express gratitude to all who have been part of VBH’s history through a series of commemorative themes in addition to a celebratory birthday party this summer.