Celebrate 60 Years of Care

In September 2012, UNC Health Care turns 60! This page chronicles the history of our contributions to the state throughout the past sixty years.

History

Sixty years ago, a group of visionaries created a four-year medical school and a hospital. The goal was to persuade the people and their representatives in Raleigh to support an enormously ambitious plan to improve health care by building new hospitals, upgrading old ones and training more doctors.

World War II had just ended, and America's mood was upbeat. But in North Carolina, the celebration of victory and peace was tempered by the shame. North Carolina had more men rejected for military service because of poor health than any other state. During one six-month period in the middle of the war, the rejection rate hit 57 percent. Also, North Carolina ranked near the top in infant and childbirth deaths and near the bottom in the number of doctors and hospital beds per capita.

In 1945, the North Carolina Hospital and Medical Care Commission, which the governor appointed to study the woeful state of health, recommended that North Carolina build new community hospitals and modernize existing ones where the need was greatest. The commission also called for expanding the two-year UNC School of Medicine into a four-year school and constructing a large general hospital to affiliate with the medical school.

An influential member of the Medical Care Commission - and perhaps the most passionate proponent of its recommendations - was Reece Berryhill, MD, dean of the School of Medicine.

"Dr. Berryhill's intelligence, canniness, knowledge of the state, loyalty, doggedness and absolute devotion to the medical school allowed him to organize a movement of faculty and alumni, prominent and lowly citizens, and political leaders - lay and medical - of the state that ultimately came to be called the Good Health Program," recalled the late William Blythe, MD, in his Norma Berryhill Distinguished Lecture in 1991.

Among those enlisted to promote the Good Health Plan was big-band leader Kay Kyser, a Tar Heel who later retired in Chapel Hill. At his request, the famous songwriting team of Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne composed a song, "It's All Up to You," to help generate public enthusiasm for the Good Health Plan. Kyser and his band recorded the song with two young singers named Frank Sinatra and Dinah Shore, and radio stations played it statewide.

"Even Superman supports the Good Health Plan;
He knows what it will do.
Spread the health alarm to every town and farm,
And preach the Good Health view.
It's all up to you.
It's all up to you."

"We need vitamins and medicines and beds to spare;
Places where the sick can go to get some care.

If we do these things, then we will be the state
Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great."

- From "It's All Up to You"
Sung by Frank Sinatra and Dinah Shore

Starting from scratch

In 1947, the legislature approved the Good Health Plan and the budget to begin implementing it, including the expansion of the medical school and the construction of N.C. Memorial Hospital.

William McLendon, MD, professor emeritus of pathology and laboratory medicine, said of Dean Berryhill: "He wasn't someone who would bowl you over with charisma, and he wasn't an outstanding public speaker, but he was so successful in getting and building the four-year school because of his conviction and incredible integrity."

Plans were delayed as political leaders haggled over where to locate the facilities. Eight cities coveted the prestige and economic stimulus that such a medical complex would bring, and four of them - Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh and Chapel Hill - presented strong cases. The issue was decided when out-of-state consultants recommended putting the four-year medical school and hospital on the UNC campus.

Dean Berryhill proved to be a masterful recruiter, luring people of national prominence to chair the school's new clinical departments - Charles Burnett for Medicine, Edward Curnen for Pediatrics, Robert "Daddy" Ross for Obstetrics and Gynecology, George Ham for Psychiatry and Nathan Womack for Surgery. Understanding the importance of building a strong research program, he brought in Kenneth Brinkhous to chair Pathology.

It was an impressive bunch.

"Dean Davison at Duke was reported to have commented that Dr. Berryhill had the best collection of clinical chairmen of any medical school since Johns Hopkins opened in the 1890s," Dr. McLendon said.

Members of the medical school's first four-year class arrived in 1950 and began their clinical education in 1952. N.C. Memorial Hospital admitted its first patients on Sept. 2, 1952.

A happy marriage; looking ahead

One of the keys to the success of UNC Health Care and the UNC School of Medicine's success has been the interaction between the basic sciences and clinical medicine.

Overall, the quality of health care, access to health care and health status of North Carolinians have improved immensely over the past 60 years. And UNC Health Care and the UNC School of Medicine have played a crucial role.

Arguably, the greatest impact has been in educating students and training residents who have chosen to practice in North Carolina. Beginning with the graduation of the first four-year class, the medical school has produced more than 5,400 new physicians. More than 3,000 physicians - one-fifth of all those currently practicing in North Carolina - are UNC School of Medicine alumni or former UNC Hospitals residents.

About 40 percent of UNC medical graduates remain in the state, as do a large percentage of physicians who complete their residencies here.

Firsts at UNC Hospitals

How well do you know your UNC Health Care history? A lot has happened since our first patients were admitted on Sept. 2, 1952. Here are just a few of UNC Health Care's significant achievements of the past 60 years:

  • Members of the Hospital Auxiliary, now known as UNC Hospitals' Volunteer Association, begin rolling bandages to prepare for the opening of the N.C. Memorial Hospital - March 1952
  • The first patients are admitted to the N.C. Memorial Hospital - Sept. 2, 1952
  • Partial Thromboplastin Time (PTT) developed - 1953
  • 48 members of the first class of the expanded four-year program at the UNC School of Medicine receive their MD degrees - 1954
  • Heart-lung machine first used in surgery - 1957
  • Volunteer tutorial service for pediatric patients began - 1961
  • First intensive care unit opens at UNC - 1962
  • State's first hospital-based public school for children established - 1964
  • First successful separation of conjoined twins - 1965
  • First successful organ transplant (kidney) - 1968
  • Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) program created - 1972
  • Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center opened - 1974
  • CT scanner first used - 1976
  • First set of triplets born after being carried to term - 1980
  • North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center opened - 1981
  • MRI scanner first used - 1986
  • First set of quadruplets born - 1984
  • State's first test-tube triplets born - 1984
  • First heart transplant - 1986
  • Carolina Air Care helicopter transport service established - 1986
  • Medical School surpassed $50 million in NIH research funding - 1988
  • N.C. General Assembly creates the University of North Carolina Hospitals entity - 1989
  • First cystic fibrosis patient in the Southeast to receive a double lung transplant - 1990
  • State's first heart-lung transplant - 1991
  • First liver transplant - 1991
  • First pediatric heart transplant - 1992
  • State's first pediatric heart-lung transplant - 1993
  • State's first bone marrow transplant for a patient with sickle cell disease - 1994
  • Medical School surpassed $100 million in NIH research funding - 1995
  • Merger of UNC Hospitals and the clinical programs of the UNC School of Medicine creates the UNC Health Care System - 1998
  • State's first surviving set of quintuplets born - 1998
  • State's first fetal surgery to correct spina bifada - 2000
  • UNC Health Care buys Rex Healthcare - 2000
  • Medical School surpassed $150 million in NIH research funding, garnering $170 million - 2001
  • First patients treated in N.C. Children's and Women's Hospitals - 2002
  • Oliver Smithies wins Nobel Prize - 2007
  • UNC Health Care System facilities become tobacco-free campuses - 2007
  • N.C. General Assembly establishes the University Cancer Research Fund, which eventually will grow to the equivalent of a $1 billion endowment - 2007
  • UNC Health Care purchases Chatham Hospital - 2008
  • Patients begin receiving care in the N.C. Cancer Hospital - 2009
  • School of Medicine announces plans to expand to Charlotte and Asheville - 2010
  • UNC Hospitals earns Magnet Designation for nursing excellence - 2010
  • Construction begins on UNC Hospitals' Hillsborough Campus - 2011

The 'Good Health Plan'

Frank Sinatra and Dinah Shore aren't names that most people associate with health care reform.

But in the 1940s, these rising stars lent their voices - quite literally - to the campaign to improve the health of North Carolinians. They recorded a song titled "It's All Up to You" to help generate public support for the state's Good Health Plan.

The song began with Shore singing the first verse:

Even Superman supports the Good Health Plan
He knows what it will do
It's all up to you; It's all up to you.

Then Sinatra delivered the second verse:

Spread the health alarm to every town and farm
And preach the Good Health view
It's all up to you; It's all up to you.

By the 1940s, the overall health of North Carolinians was dismal, and health care leaders knew something had to be done. A special commission appointed by the governor proposed a massive plan that included building new community hospitals and upgrading others. The plan also called for expanding the University of North Carolina's two-year medical training program to a four-year, medical degree-granting institution and constructing a large teaching hospital in Chapel Hill. The whole package was called the Good Health Plan.

Everyone was in favor of better health care services, of course, but many questioned whether the state could afford the Good Health Plan. Legislative approval was not a given.

Among those who came forward to promote the plan was Kay Kyser, the world-famous big-band leader who later retired in Chapel Hill. He enlisted the help of the now-legendary song-writing team of Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne, and they wrote "It's All Up to You."

"We need vitamins and medicines and beds to spare
Places where the sick can go to get some care
Lots of new equipment to combat disease
Clinics where the poor can go for moderate fees."

Frank Sinatra and Dinah Shore recorded the song, with Kyser and his band backing them up. "It's All Up to You" was played on radio stations across the state as part of the campaign to educate the public and build grassroots momentum for the Good Health Plan.

"If we do these things then we will be the state
Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great."

The General Assembly adopted the Good Health Plan in 1947. Three years later, the UNC School of Medicine admitted its first four-year class. Two years after that, in 1952, N.C. Memorial Hospital opened to patients.

Cornerstone Of State-Wide Plan

In honor of our 60th anniversary, we are republishing this newspaper article from 1951. It was published while North Carolina Memorial Hospital was under construction and explains the role that the hospital and the UNC School of Medicine played in the state's Good Health Plan of the late 1940s.

The North Carolina Good Health Program Is Reaching Maturity
Sunday, Sept. 30, 1951 - Durham Morning Herald
By Robert W. Madry

CHAPEL HILL – After struggling through growing pains for half a dozen years, the North Carolina Good Health Program has finally reached the stage of adolescence and seems well along the way to maturity.

Five years ago there were 33 counties in North Carolina without a hospital bed. Today the number has been cut to 17.

A total of 104 projects looking toward a healthier North Carolina have been initiated since the program was activated in 1947. They involved a budget of $60,000,000.

Forty-four of the projects have been completed, 46 are under construction, and 14 are projected. The State’s hospital facilities have been increased by about one-third.

Under the program set up in 1947 a total of 39 new hospitals were to be built, but that doesn’t begin to tell the whole story, for substantial additions were provided for 29 of the existing hospitals to bring the total to 68 with 4,287 beds.

When this program is completed, no citizen in North Carolina will be more than an hour’s driving distance from one of these hospitals.

Fifteen health centers were in the plan, and five of these have already been completed. Of 15 nursing homes approved, nine have been completed and six are under construction. The 15 nursing homes will give the State an additional 1,013 beds.

Added up, this means that North Carolina now ranks second in the nation in post-war hospital construction. Figures from the U.S. Public Health Service include work under contract last July 1 and show that Texas leads with 5,176 beds, followed by North Carolina with 4,287. Other states next in order are Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Great Increase In Hospital Beds

North Carolina has had a phenomenal increase in hospital beds in the last quarter of the century. In 1924 there were 2,186, in 1947 9,635. The number now is estimated at 14,000.

The size of the hospitals range from 20-bed institutions such as those at Bryson City, Sparta and Belhaven to the 400-bed teaching hospital being constructed at Chapel Hill in conjunction with the University’s expanded four-year medical school. Seven of the plans have a hundred beds or more.

Dr. John A. Farrell, executive secretary of the North Carolina Medical Care Commission, points out that only a third the burden of the total new program has been borne by the State.

In round figures, the program, as of July, had cost more than $60,000,000 approximately one-third of which was appropriated respectively by the State, and the cities and counties of North Carolina.

Under the plans it is the responsibility of the University of North Carolina’s Health Center at Chapel Hill to serve as the cornerstone for the State-wide program.

A report just issued by Dr. Henry T. Clark, Jr., administrator of the recently created Division of Health Affairs, presents an amazing picture of progress at the Health Center during the last academic year.

At the University here, Dr. Clark’s report emphasizes, a large, complicated and in many respects unique Health Center, is growing from relatively humble beginnings. “Approximately 85 percent of the proposed construction for the Health Center is now committed to contracts, and the State Budget Bureau has authorized the transfer of certain financial reserves which will cover remaining essential needs,” the report says.

New Medical Facilities

Planning and construction of new medical facilities made steady progress during the academic year 1950-51. The main 400-bed teaching hospital and out-patient clinic, on which construction was begun in October, 1949, are now 70 per cent completed despite a strike during the past winter. This building should be turned over to the University by January, 1952, and be ready for acceptance of patients by the following April.

In August, 1950, the contract was let for a cancer research floor in the clinic building, for which the U.S. Public Health Service contributed $200,000, and this floor will be completed at the same time as the main hospital and clinic building.

Construction of dormitory quarters for approximately 100 interns, resident and fellows was started in November, 1950, and this building should be ready for use by June, 1952.

Contracts were let last March for a North “wing” to the main medical building to provide necessary increased teaching and research facilities for the Departments of Pathology, Anatomy and Pharmacology. Plans are now underway for a comparable South “wing” which will be started by October.

Since the main offices of the School of Public Health occupy the ground floor of this same building, the “wing” construction will also provide some space relief for that School.

In July a contract was let for converting the top floor of the present infirmary (which is, in effect, a wing of the main hospital) into an obstetrical floor and for the addition of another floor to complete the obstetrical-gynecological in-patient facilities.

TB and Psychiatry Units


In addition to these construction projects, action by the 1951 General Assembly provided for two more key units for the total Health Center. In the field of tuberculosis, funds were appropriated by the Legislators of 1949 and 1951 to the North Carolina Sanatorium Board of Directors to construct a 100-bed chest unit adjacent to the main University hospital. The Federal government also appropriated $500,000 by way of the Hill-Burton Act.

In the field of Psychiatry, funds were made available by the 1951 General Assembly to the North Carolina Hospitals Board of Control to develop a central teaching service facility at the University. A 60-bed psychiatric unit is now being planned jointly by the University and Board of Control representatives as a wing to the main hospital. An additional floor for alcoholics is also being planned in this unit with other State funds made available to the University through a special committee of the Hospitals Board of Control. It is hoped that construction on these new projects will be under way by mid-Fall this year.

Two key clinical appointments in the Medical School have been made recently. They are Dr. Nathan Womack, professor of surgery in the University of Iowa, as Professor of Surgery, and Dr. Charles W. Burnett, formerly Professor of Medicine at Southwestern School of Medicine, as Professor of Medicine.

The regular basic science teaching program in the Medical School functioned at an increased tempo during 1950-51 since instruction of the first class of dental students was added to the usual teaching load.

This Fall 58 highly promising students, a maximum class, have been accepted for the first-year class in medicine.

In the field of research, the basic science faculty has been as active as heavy teaching programs, cramped quarters and small budgets permitted. As one indication of activity, however, there were 57 publications from the various departments during the year and modest “outside” grants of over $100,000 for 17 individual projects.

In the field of service, the Department of Pathology deserves special mention for its diagnostic and consulting services to 28 hospitals in the State, to 44 surgeons in private practice, to the State mental and tuberculosis hospitals and to Watts Hospital in Durham.

In post-graduate education an outstanding series of lectures and clinics was sponsored in each of seven communities over the State. Approximately 300 practitioners from a wide area attended these programs.

Progress of Medical Foundation

Related to all this development has been the growing activity of The Medical Foundation of North Carolina, Inc., under the able direction of its President, Major L.P. McLendon, and its Executive Vice-President, Dr. C. Sylvester Green. Charters in May, 1949, with some 453 leading citizens of North Carolina as sponsors, it has as its objective the procuring of funds to promote the health of the people of North Carolina. The objectives of the Foundation are $100,000 per year in expendable funds and the eventual building of a multimillion dollar endowment. During its first full year of operation, the goal for expendable funds was passed and progress was made on the endowment.

The School of Nursing under the leadership of Dean Elizabeth Kemble, and her staff after a year of intensive preparation, is off to a good started with its First class this Fall.

Contracts for the School of Nursing building and its associated dormitories were let in October, 1950. Work on these is now approximately 40 per cent completed and they are expected to be in use by June, 1952. Plans for construction of one of the three dormitories – the one proposed to house graduate nurses – had to be postponed because of inadequate funds.

An integrated four-year program of nursing education, with admission of freshman women student, was approved by the Board of Trustees last March.

School of Dentistry

The School of Dentistry proved its vigor by accepting its first class of 40 student last Fall, by conducting its instruction program largely in Quonset huts, and by developing what one faculty member described as “the finest group spirit in my 25 years of dental instruction.” The arrival of a second class this month has created even greater space problems but these are being met on an improvised basis.

Adequate facilities for dental instruction await the completion of the “wings” to the Medical Building (for basic science instruction) and the School of Dentistry building itself (for clinical instruction). Construction of the School of Dentistry building began in August.

The Dental faculty now numbers 13. These are fine men and their presience is added assurance that other excellent men will be attracted to the School of Dentistry faculty as needed.

The Dental Foundation of North Carolina, Inc., was established in November, 1950, by a group of forward-looking dentists of the State with its primary purpose being to give financial support to the School of Dentistry for research and other activities not commonly supported by State appropriations. The first $20,000 was promptly contributed by the organizing group.

The 11-year-old School of Public Health, one of only two such schools in the Southeastern states, continued its remarkable growth during the year by adding an 11th department – the Department of Maternal and Child Health – and by again functioning at capacity operation both in its regular quarters on the ground floor of the medical building and in six other temporary or semi-permanent spots around the campus.

The School conferred 122 degrees during the year, ranging from B.S. in public health nursing to M.P.H. and Ph.D. In addition, 1,300 other non-degree students received instruction from public health faculty members in the regular courses, in institutes and in field training areas.

The School now has 76 full-time staff members including 31 full-time faculty members, engaged in vital teaching, research and service work.

Of the total operating budget of $500,000, only about $200,000 represented State appropriations. In addition, approximately $100,000 represented teaching grants from private and governmental agencies, and the remaining large sum represented research grants.

School of Pharmacy

The most noteworthy items during the year in the well-established School of Pharmacy were the promotion of Prof Edward Brecht to the Deanship, the maturing of a program for graduate education, and continued capacity operation of the undergraduate program.

In the graduate field, the first Ph.D. degree ever awarded by the School of Pharmacy was given at Commencement last June. Total graduate students numbered 12 during the year and these give promise of future distinction as teahers and research workers. As usual, graduate activities were supported almost exclusively with “outside” funds – from the North Carolina Pharmaceutical Research Foundation, Inc., and from a growing group of drug manufacturers and individual contributors.

The undergraduate student enrollment averaged 190 and there were 47 members of the graduating class.

Despite its recognized national standing, the School of Pharmacy is not training enough pharmacists to fill the needs of the State. This is the only such school in North Carolina. This is shown by the fact that North Carolina stands second from the bottom among the states in ratio of registered pharmacists to population. A new and larger building is an urgent need if North Carolina’s demand for more registered pharmacists is to be met.

By the numbers

Patient Care

  • 803 beds at UNC Hospitals
  • #1 in Patient-Centeredness in the nation
  • 1 and only Leapfrog Hospital in NC (65 Nationwide)
  • 242 Best Doctors
  • 59 Top Doctors
  • 3 specialties ranked in “Best Hospitals”
    • Gynecology - #34
    • Ear, Nose & Throat - #42
    • Cancer - #43
  • 10 specialties ranked in “Best Children’s Hospitals”
    • Pulmonology - #8
    • Gastroenterology - #25
    • Cancer - #26
    • Orthopaedics - #29
    • Diabetes and Endocrinology- #32
    • Nephrology - #35
    • Urology - #36
    • Neonatology - #37
    • Cardiology and Heart Surgery- #46
    • Neurology & Neurosurgery - #47

Teaching

  • #2 in Primary Care - Best Medical Schools
  • #21 in Research - Best Medical Schools
  • 9 specialties ranked
  • 8th Most Popular Medical School
  • 180 MD students
  • 180 members of the Academy of Educators
  • 50th percentile – graduates address priority health needs of the nation
  • 80th percentile – graduates practicing in underserved areas
  • 60th percentile – field experience for community health
  • 80th percentile – NIH funding and Federal research grants and contracts (AAMC)

Research

  • 15th in NIH funding - $235 million in FY11 - 6th among all public schools
  • 1 Nobel Prize Winner - Oliver Smithies
  • 5 members of the National Academy of Sciences
  • 16 members of the AAAS
  • 18 members of the Institute of Medicine
  • #21 in Research - Best Medical Schools
  • 38th - Best Place to Work for Post-Docs (the Scientist)

 

 

60 years of Volunteers

The N.C. Memorial Hospital "Women's Auxiliary" formed several months before the first patients were admitted to the N.C. Memorial Hospital. On March 19, 2012, the group now known as the UNC Health Care Volunteer Association will celebrate its 60th anniversary. Our team of volunteers has grown to more than 2,200 people who provided more than 106,000 hours of service to UNC Health Care in 2011.

Take a look at the Volunteer Services timeline to learn more about the history of volunteer work at UNC Health Care:

  • 1952
    North Carolina Memorial Hospital Women’s Auxiliary organized
    Department of Volunteer Services established
  • 1953
    Cornelia S. Love Patient Library established
  • 1955
    First teenage volunteers on limited basis
  • 1956
    First service awards given
  • 1958
    Infant Photos started as fundraising service area
  • 1960
    Teenagers formally organized as "Candy Stripers" with 42 girls
  • 1963
    Red flannel stockings provided for Christmas Day newborns
  • 1966
    Sock monkeys for pediatric patients first made by volunteers
  • 1967
    Viola Jacobs retires as Director of Volunteer Services.
    Elaine M. Hill assumes position as Director of Volunteer Services.
    “Women” dropped from Auxiliary name.
  • 1968
    Television Rental initiated as fundraising service area
    First Christmas Eve trip for Santa’s Sack
    Patient Information packets originated
  • 1969
    Gift Shop opens in main lobby.
  • 1970
    Jr. Volunteer name replaces former teenage program of Candystripers
    First Health Careers Fair held with 93 students attending
  • 1972
    Volunteer Services receives UNC School of Medicine Distinguished Service Award
  • 1974
    N.C. Society of Directors of Volunteer Services founded. Elaine Hill is first president.
  • 1976
    Hair Corner opened
  • 1978
    Volunteer Services moves to first floor, West Wing
  • 1979
    First book sale held
  • 1981
    Auxiliary changes name to N.C. Memorial Hospital Volunteer Association
    Television rental phased out as a volunteer services area
  • 1983
    Clothing Closet started
  • 1985
    Volunteer Services receives Governor's Award for "Outstanding Volunteer Services"
  • 1987
    Hair Corner Closed
  • 1988
    Elaine M. Hill receives Governor’s Award for Excellence
  • 1989
    Hospitality Shop relocated to Ground Floor
  • 1990
    Elaine M. Hill retires as Director of Volunteer Services.
    Betty Hutton becomes Director of Volunteer Services.
  • 1996
    Cranberry Corner Too opens in Neurosciences Hospital
  • 2001
    Betty Hutton retires as Director of Volunteer Services
    Linda Bowles becomes Director of Volunteer Services
  • 2002
    Cranberry Corner Gift Shop remodeled in Memorial Lobby
  • 2005
    Volunteer Services Department relocated to new suite of offices on N.C. Memorial Hospital's ground floor
    Lending Library moves to Memorial Ground Floor
  • 2008
    Family House opens and Volunteer Association pledges $100,000 to name the Solarium
  • 2009
    NC Cancer Hospital opens with a volunteer office and workroom
    Butterfly Boutique gift shop opens in N.C. Cancer Hospital
    Cranberry Corner Gift Shop has more than $1 million in sales
  • 2010
    Priscilla D. Bevin Junior Volunteer Scholarship established

Gift Shops and Giving Back
Three days before the N.C. Memorial Hospital officially opened, the Hospital Shop in Memorial opened on Aug. 30, 1952, as a service to patients, staff and visitors.

The first Gift Shop opened in 1968 and offered candy, gum, magazines, cigarettes, and other items for sale. The Volunteer Association currently runs two gift shops: the Butterfly Boutique in the N.C. Cancer Hospital and the Cranberry Corner in the Memorial Hospital. In addition to the gift shops, the Volunteer Association holds vendor sales in the N.C. Children’s Hospital lobby throughout the year. All profits from the two gift shops and vendor sales are returned to the UNC Health Care System.

These donated profits help support scholarships for students in nursing, allied health professions, hospital employees, junior volunteers, and college student volunteers. Since 1962, the Volunteer Association has awarded more than $840,000 in scholarships.

In addition, the Volunteer Association makes annual donations to support programs across UNC Hospitals. Examples include the purchase of gliders and rockers for the N.C. Women’s and Children’s Hospitals and the bone marrow transplant buddy program. Other programs supported by the Volunteer Association include:

  • The Health Careers Symposium
    The Volunteer Association held its first Health Careers Fair symposium in 1970 with 93 students in attendance. The annual event brings high school students from across North Carolina to Chapel Hill for a day-long program that exposes them to careers in the health care field. Two-hundred students participated in the 2011 Health Careers Symposium.
  • The Elaine M. Hill Award
    Elaine M. Hill became director of Volunteer Services in 1967, received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in 1988, and retired in 1990. After her retirement, the Hill Award was created in her honor to recognize the volunteer who exemplifies her dedication, service and concern. Any active or retired UNC Health Care adult volunteer is eligible for nomination for the award. The award is presented each April at the Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon.
  • Pet Therapy Program
    Through the Pet Therapy program, patients may request service animals to stay with them while at UNC Hospitals. Pet therapy helps patients feel safe and loved when they might lack normal social interaction during a stay at the hospital. All pet therapists for UNC Health Care are registered with the Delta Society, a certification organization for service animals. The training consists of 50 percent obedience and 50 percent aptitude training. In addition, all pets must have health check-ups every six months and retesting by the Delta Society every two years.
  • No One Dies Alone – Compassionate Friends
    “No One Dies Alone” started at UNC Hospitals in September 2010 as a partnership between Volunteer Services and Pastoral Care. The program trains volunteers to assist patients who have no family present at the time of their imminent death. Volunteers are trained and specify when they will be available. Volunteers are then notified when a patient is alone and if the patient could benefit from having a volunteer sit with them, play music, sing, read, or hold their hand. This service is available 24/7 and is patterned after a program that began in Eugene, Oregon.
  • Tea Service
    In 2007, cancer survivor and volunteer Wanda Wooten began serving coffee, tea and cookies to patients and staff on 6 East. She brought her cart to each room, asked how patients, family and visitors were feeling and if she could serve them tea, coffee, or a cookie.

    After staff in other areas began requesting the tea service, Wooten built a team of volunteers. This weekly tradition has now grown into a team of 11 volunteers who now serve inpatient, outpatient and staff in six oncology units on a daily basis.

Share your Memories

Did you work in South Wing? Remember when the back of the hospital was the front? Did you get your first parking ticket in the 1950s? We want to hear from you about your favorite memories from UNC Hospitals and the UNC School of Medicine from the last 60 years.

Share your memories from the N.C. Memorial Hospital, the UNC School of Medicine, UNC Hospitals and UNC Health Care at this link.

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