The collection provides historical documentation of the evolution of the Duval Medical Center (DMC) of Jacksonville, Florida, during its pivotal growth years of 1963-1973. The institution, called the "nation's oldest publicly supported hospital," began on June 4, 1870, as the Duval County Hospital and Asylum, with the express purpose of helping the indigent sick of Jacksonville. The Hospital grew steadily through the early twentieth century, as did the total population of Duval County. The latter almost doubled from a total of 280,000 people in 1949 to 500,000 in 1964 and the need for larger medical facilities became critical. It is estimated that approximately twenty-five patients were turned away on a daily basis because of a shortage of beds.
To address this need, the Duval County Hospital Authority was created in 1963 by the Florida Legislature to make possible the construction of a new hospital facility. In 1964, Duval County medical and governmental leaders lobbied for the passage of a $20 million dollar bond issue. Its successful passage enabled the DMC to broaden its patient base and become a hub in the medical teaching community, and to eventually build a new hospital which would offer medical service that would improve care for the entire community.By 1969, the DMC had grown into a 256 bed community general hospital, serving more than 100,000 patients and operated by the Duval County Hospital Authority. 1971 saw both a new medical complex and a new name for the institution. Upon the opening of a new eight story, $27 million dollar health complex in March, the facility officially changed its name to University Hospital.
Documents pertaining to issues and activities, including correspondence, newspaper clippings, presentations and speeches by Dr. G. Dekle Taylor, minutes of various Committee meetings, reports, brochures and fact sheets on the 1971 University Hospital complex, and two photographs of Dr. Taylor being inducted in 1969 as President of the Center's Medical Staff.
This collection was donated by Dr. Taylor, a Jacksonville physician and a principal participant in the Center's transformation during this time period. He served on the Duval County Hospital Authority from 1964-66, as Chairman of the 1968 Ad Hoc Committee for the Improvement of the DMC, and as President of the DMC Medical Staff in 1969-70. The majority of the correspondence and documents pertain to his role and activities as a leading proponent of change for the DMC.Overall, the materials give insight into the medical issues regarding the delivery of health care in Jacksonville during this time period, particularly the chronic funding problems common to large community charity hospitals. Committee reports also detail the long range expansion programs of the Duval County Hospital Authority, and the efforts of determined medical leaders to re-evaluate and redefine the community role of the DMC.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection:
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