VHC Health History

The story of Virginia Hospital Center began in 1933 when five women’s clubs joined together to establish the Arlington Hospital Association in order to meet the county’s healthcare needs. By 1944, after a community-wide fundraising effort, Arlington Hospital opened its doors for the first time.

VHC Health has continued to grow with the community, for the community, due to the support of the community. Today, we are a 437-bed teaching hospital providing the highest level of patient-centered medical care to those throughout Northern Virginia and the DC area. As a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, VHC Health brings the world-renowned expertise and knowledge of the Mayo Clinic directly to our community.

The VHC Health ​Foundation was established to advance patient care, research and technology to better meet the needs of those we serve. We need your help to do this. There are so many ways – big and small – you can be an important part of improving the health and well-being of our community.

A Need Becomes Our Mission

See how we became what we are today.

  • 1933

  • 1944

  • 1948

  • 1950

  • 1963

  • 1973

  • 1976

  • 1989

  • 2001

  • 2004

  • 2022

  • 2023

A Glimpse at Our Past, Present & Future

The story of Virginia Hospital Center began in 1933 when five women’s clubs joined together to establish a hospital in Arlington to meet the county’s healthcare needs.

They collected $5 donations from 20 local organizations and founded the Arlington Hospital Association.

By 1935, after a community-wide fundraising effort, the Arlington Hospital Association purchased a 15.5 acre dairy farm with an eight-bedroom house, located near North Edison and 16th Streets.

The property was known as the Sealock Farm. Part of the sale agreement included hospital care for owner W. W. Sealock and his family.

The women’s clubs established the Arlington Hospital Auxiliary in 1935, which continues to strengthen the Hospital’s commitment to patient care excellence. Early work included raising donations to support Hospital needs, to mending linens, to running a library program. Over the years, the Auxiliary has expanded its role to fund safety initiative and scholarship programs and, of course, escorting patients around the Hospital.

Arlington Hospital opened its doors with 100 patient beds and housing for 50 nurses

By the end of the first year, the Hospital was using more than 90% of its beds, every day. Expansion plans were already beginning.

A Residency Program

Then medical student William D. Dolan, MD formalized the Hospital’s teaching affiliation with Georgetown University. This set the framework for Virginia Hospital Center’s Residency Program, which attracts more than 500 residents and students each year.

A three-stage expansion was underway

Funded by federal and community support, the South Wing opened in 1953 and the North Wing opened in 1957, adding 70 beds, a large laboratory and radiology department, an Outpatient Clinic, and the Emergency Department.

The Hospital Expands

The Hospital expanded its operating and delivery rooms, physician quarters, food services, and cafeteria. “Citizens deserve the lion’s share of credit for Arlington Hospital.” – 1963 Building Dedication

Continuing Support

Despite the additions, the leaders could see that more space would be needed to keep up with evolving medical technology and the growing population. A new building opened in 1973, increasing patient beds to 350 and adding new radiology, pathology, emergency, outpatient, and administrative space. It also provided space for one of the nation’s first inpatient behavioral health and alcohol addiction treatment programs. From then on to today, the Hospital has remained ahead of the curve, providing our patients with the most modern, comprehensive medical care available.

Cancer Care

The Radiation Oncology Department opened with the first linear accelerator in the Northern Virginia region. Our cancer treatment options have since expanded to two Linear Accelerators, Brachytherapy, and a fully robotic radiation delivery Cyberknife System.

Cardiology advancements and establishment of Friends of Nursing

Through the leadership of John Garrett, MD, FACS, the Hospital launched the Open Heart Surgery Program. Today, the expertise of our staff and the quality of our services consistently exceed national benchmark standards for patient outcomes and satisfaction.

The Hospital established the Friends of Nursing Fund, made possible through an initial investment from the Caruthers Family. Thanks to the generous support of many donors, The Fund has since grown to a nearly $4 million endowment and continues to encourage nurses and future caregivers to pursue their dreams.

Outpatient Clinic and Arlington Pediatric Center (APC) launch

Virginia Hospital Center opened its Arlington Pediatric Center (APC) to provide comprehensive services for children of low-income and uninsured households in Arlington County. Since then, APC has cared for more than 14,000 patients through well child visits, care coordination for patients with special needs, nutrition and wellness education, mental health services, and more.

The Hospital’s Outpatient Clinic is a testament to our founders’ commitment, serving patients in need in Arlington County. It now provides comprehensive medical care to uninsured or under-insured adults, serving approximately 700 patients each month.

Building a Healthy Community

The latest addition of the Hospital was completed in November 2004. This new building holds 394 inpatient beds, made our Emergency Department and Radiology & Diagnostic Imaging Department larger, helped centralized outpatient services, and provided new, private outpatient surgery prep and recovery rooms.

For You. For Life.

Since its humble beginning 75 years ago, Virginia Hospital Center has grown from a small, community facility to a 394-bed, nationally recognized, teaching hospital that serves patients and families throughout the Washington, DC area.
In order to continue providing our patients with the best care possible, VHC Health is transforming the way we deliver care. Together, we can ensure the health of our community for generations to come.

VHC Health Announces Grand Opening of its State-of-the-Art Outpatient Pavilion

In July of 2023 VHC Health proudly celebrated the grand opening of the Outpatient Pavilion. The brand new, seven-story facility provides patients with direct and easy access to treatment facilities immediately upon arrival to the health system’s main campus, while also allowing for more inpatient beds for cancer, cardiac and stroke patients in the Hospital’s pre-existing outpatient area.

The Outpatient Pavilion houses VHC Health’s outpatient surgery, imaging, pharmacy, lab, endoscopy, and physical therapy. The new facility also has 26,000 square feet solely dedicated to women’s health. Women’s health services at the Outpatient Pavilion provide convenient, accessible care options bundled for a seamless patient experience. Developed by a female-led physician team, the continuum of women health services, from prevention to palliative care, includes obstetrics and gynecology, maternal fetal medicine, women‘s health and wellness (including aging and menopause), genetics, breast health, urology, cardiology, advanced radiologic imaging and vascular diagnostics.

The Outpatient Pavilion expansion project also includes an updated parking structure that added over 1,600 spaces for VHC Health employees, opening up space in the main campus’ other garages to provide easier access for patients and visitors.

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