History - Pediatrics Department - Lincoln Hospital

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History of Lincoln Medical Center

First Lincoln Building



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        For more than one-and-a-half centuries, Lincoln Hospital has been dedicated to the care of the poor and the disadvantaged in the City of New York. Originally founded in 1839 as the "Home for the Relief of Aged Indigent Black Persons" by a group of prominent philanthropists led by Mrs. John Jay, the hospital's function gradually became the most important aspect of the operation. In 1882, the name was changed to "The Colored Home and Hospital."

        In 1895, after more than half a century of occupying various sites in Manhattan, the Board of Trustees purchased a large lot in the South Bronx -- then a semi-rural area of the city -- at the corner of 141st Street and Southern Boulevard. A new hospital was built; its facilities include the latest developments in medical care. The dedication took place on April 29, 1899. The hospital became a general hospital open to all people without regard to color or creed, although it maintained its founding connection as an institution dedicated to the relief and advancement of the Black people. During the hospital's reorganization and eventual occupation of the new site, its name was changed to Lincoln Hospital, to honor the Great Emancipator.

First Lincoln Building

        Because of the increasing demand for services required by a more densely populated South Bronx -- and a decreasing supply of philanthropic funds -- in 1925 the Board of Trustees decided to sell Lincoln Hospital to the Department of Public Welfare of the City of New York. During the next 50 years, Lincoln Hospital continued to fulfill its commitment to the care of the poor and disadvantaged, not without its share of problems brought by World War II and the post-war period. The great outflow of physicians to the Armed Forces during World War II and the drastic socioeconomic decline in the area that followed -- erosion of the middle class and great immigration from the southern regions of the United States, the Caribbean, and countries of Latin America -- took their toll on Lincoln Hospital. Nevertheless, in spite of adversity, the institution's long commitment to human services helped it survive and enjoy a resurgence in the 1970s as one of the finest institutions for the care of the sick and the training of professionals in the newly formed New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation.

        The 1990s brought dramatic changes in all areas of health care delivery. LMMHC became part of the North-Manhattan/South Bronx "Generations Plus Network" together with Metropolitan Hospital, Morrisania Diagnostic and Treatment Center, and Segundo Ruiz Belvis Diagnostic and Treatment Center. In spite of dire predictions, this network continues to strive to provide quality care to a diverse, multiethnic urban population in this era of managed care.

Lincoln Medical Center Today

First Lincoln Building

        In 1976, a new facility was dedicated about two miles from the "Old Lincoln," at a construction cost of 220 million dollars. The present hospital building incorporates some of the most advanced concepts in hospital design and sophisticated equipment. It occupies five full city blocks, providing quality health care to the entire South Bronx community, as well as parts of Upper Manhattan. Additionally, Lincoln administers the Substance Abuse Division, located at 349 East 140th Street.

        With a 595-bed capacity, Lincoln Hospital is the single largest health care provider in the South Bronx. Although it constitutes 9% of the beds in the region, Lincoln caters to 31% of the health care visits of this community, where there is fewer than one primary care physician for every 4,000 people.

Department of Pediatrics
Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center
Affiliated with Weill Cornell Medical College

Copyright © 2008 Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center, Department of Pediatrics, All Rights Reserved.
Courtesy of Dominic C. Sia, M.D.