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Dome - A Transformative Era

Dome May 2014

A Transformative Era

By: Ronald R. Peterson, President, The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, Executive Vice President, Johns Hopkins Medicine
Date: May 1, 2014


Ronald R. Peterson  President, The Johns Hopkins Hospital  and Health System Executive Vice President,  Johns Hopkins Medicine
Ronald R. Peterson, President, The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System<br/>Executive Vice President, Johns Hopkins Medicine

On May 7, 1889, a large crowd gathered in the rotunda beneath the great dome of what is now known as the Billings Administration Building to celebrate the opening of The Johns Hopkins Hospital. They listened as Johns Hopkins’ first president, Daniel Coit Gilman, and the hospital’s designer, John Shaw Billings, spoke of their aspirations for what was then believed to be the largest hospital in the country.

A century to the day later, on May 7, 1989, a similarly large group—including 125 collateral descendants of Johns Hopkins (a bachelor who had no children)—also gathered under the soaring dome to celebrate the hospital’s 100th birthday.

Now, as we mark the hospital’s 125th anniversary, we can look back on an astounding quarter-century of achievements since our last celebration. These have had a profound impact on health care—not only in Baltimore and Maryland, but across the nation and around the world.

Over the past 25 years, The Johns Hopkins Hospital has undergone a prolific physical redevelopment, beginning with the 1992 opening of the Dr. Robert Heyssel Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center. This was followed by the opening of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Building and its adjacent Hackerman-Patz Patient and Family Pavilion; the David Rubenstein Child Health Building, as the new home for our storied Harriet Lane Clinic; the opening of the Robert H. and Clarice Smith Building of the Wilmer Eye Institute; and, of course, the 2012 opening of our billion-dollar, 1.6 million-square-foot Sheikh Zayed Cardiovascular and Critical Care Adult Tower and The Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center—essentially an entirely new Johns Hopkins Hospital.

We have also exponentially expanded the hospital’s services beyond the hallowed halls under the dome by opening satellite outpatient health care and surgery centers at Green Spring Station, White Marsh and beyond.

In January 1997, Edward Miller was appointed the inaugural dean/CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine. This major restructuring of our organizational governance enabled the hospital through its parent, the Johns Hopkins Health System, to reaffirm the historic partnership with The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. As a formal alliance overseen by a newly constituted governing board, the creation of Johns Hopkins Medicine completed our original benefactor’s desire for a united hospital and school of medicine. And now, under Miller’s successor Paul Rothman, Johns Hopkins Medicine ensures the continued growth and vitality of The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Symbolizing that vitality, for 22 of the last 24 years, U.S. News & World Report has named us the best hospital in the country, based on nationwide surveys of thousands of physicians.

Our extraordinary skills were also highlighted in two multipart, award-winning television documentaries, Hopkins 24/7 in 2000 and Hopkins in 2008.

May includes National Nurses Week, and I should add that a five-part TV series from 2001, Nurses, spotlighted these remarkable Johns Hopkins caregivers. Their teamwork, innovation and professionalism have earned us the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s coveted Magnet designation for nursing excellence repeatedly since 2003, when Johns Hopkins became the first hospital in Maryland so honored.

During the past 25 years, Johns Hopkins has put immense emphasis on patient safety and has been recognized internationally as a leader in this field. This reputation was enhanced by the 2011 creation of our Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality.

This has been a transformative period, as significant as any since Billings voiced the hope 125 years ago that The Johns Hopkins Hospital would become “a model of its kind” for medical care and education.

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