FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 23, 2022) – The Kentucky Senate and House of Representatives on Wednesday passed individual resolutions honoring the 60th anniversary of the University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital. The resolutions designate April 24, 2022, as “Albert B. Chandler Hospital Appreciation Day in the Commonwealth of Kentucky” to commemorate the contributions and benefits of UK Chandler Hospital and UK HealthCare.
Senate President Robert Stivers, House Speaker David Osborne and Representative Kimberly Poor Moser joined Mark F. Newman, M.D., UK executive vice president for health affairs, and UK President Eli Capilouto for the announcement and signing of the resolutions.
“We are greatly honored today for this acknowledgment by the members of the Kentucky Senate and Kentucky House of Representatives to help us celebrate this milestone for the university, for UK HealthCare and for the Albert B. Chandler Hospital -- our academic medical center,” said Capilouto.
In April 1962, UK Chandler Hospital opened its doors and welcomed its first patients. Today, the hospital has evolved into the UK HealthCare system, operating three hospitals – UK Chandler, UK Good Samaritan and UK Kentucky Children’s Hospital – serving more than 40,000 patients annually. UK HealthCare also includes more than 60 outpatient clinics, conducting more than 2.2 million outpatient visits every year. In addition, UK Chandler Hospital has been the No. 1 hospital in Kentucky and the Bluegrass Region by the U.S. News & World Report for six years.
“Over the years, we are grateful for the state legislators who have demonstrated their commitment to the health and well-being of the people of the Commonwealth through their support of many UK HealthCare projects and initiatives, and we are especially appreciative of one of the most important endeavors in the history of our state – the opening of UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital,” said Newman. “Currently at the UK Chandler Hospital, the UK College of Medicine and the other hospitals and clinics that comprise UK HealthCare, we employ more than 10,000 physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other health care providers. This team is dedicated to providing the most advanced, high-quality patient care to Kentucky and beyond.”
Access to quality health care in the Bluegrass is something now that is often taken for granted, but that hasn’t always been the case. In the early 20th century, one of every three Kentuckians examined for military service during World War II was deemed medically unfit for duty. In 1949, there were more than 5,000 unattended births in Kentucky and the state ranked near the bottom in physician-to-patient ratio, with an estimated 1,400 additional doctors needed.
However, in the early 1950s, a group of UK professors and the Legislative Research Commission recommended that an academic medical center be built at UK to improve health care access for Kentuckians. At the time, it was projected the Commonwealth would be 2,000 physicians below the national average by 1965 if immediate efforts were not taken to create another medical school in the state.
In June 1954, the UK Board of Trustees committed to fulfilling the university's original charter to create a medical college and associated medical center once funds became available. During his 1955 gubernatorial campaign, former Gov. Albert B. Chandler then promised that he would build and appropriate funds for the medical center later named for him.
In May 1956, the project moved forward with the UK Board of Trustees agreeing to establish the academic medical center at a cost of $27.8 million, with the state providing nearly $17.1 million along with approximately $10.7 million in federal money.
After its completion in 1962, the hospital immediately became a cornerstone for educating top physicians, providing outstanding health care, and conducting breakthrough medical research.
Over the years, UK Chandler Hospital and UK HealthCare have grown to become a statewide hub for advanced medical care. UK Chandler Hospital serves as a Level 1 Trauma Center and has one of the largest intensive care units in Kentucky providing care for patients who are critically ill. During the COVID-19 pandemic, UK Chandler Hospital and UK HealthCare played a pivotal role, caring for more than 4,400 patients.
“During our anniversary celebration of the opening of UK Chandler Hospital, it is vital that we honor those who came before us and worked diligently on what was merely a vision of health care access in the 1950s and 60s,” said Newman. “We are forever grateful for those who provided the support needed to build the foundation that has led to our world-class medical facilities. It is our hope that through our work, we honor the legacy of these visionaries and leaders each and every day.”
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers." We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.