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Glendale Adventist Medical Center looks back on 110 years

This side-by-side image shows the Glendale Hotel on the right, which was converted to the Glendale Sanitarium in 1905, next to the Glendale Adventist Medical Center, photographed on Friday, August 21, 2015.

This side-by-side image shows the Glendale Hotel on the right, which was converted to the Glendale Sanitarium in 1905, next to the Glendale Adventist Medical Center, photographed on Friday, August 21, 2015.

(Left: Courtesy of the Special Collections Room, Glendale Public Library; Right: Roger Wilson / Staff Photographer)

Glendale Adventist Medical Center turns 110 this year, a long journey since it was established within the walls of a former hotel and when the average stay was about 40 days.

In 1905 the Seventh-day Adventist Church converted the Glendale Hotel — a Victorian era-style structure — into the Glendale Sanitarium. Stays at the facility encompassed spa treatments and exercise routines to help recuperate and reenergize — all that at a time when a hospital bill amounted to a couple bucks.

While there have been massive leaps forward in medical science and technology, some of those early principals of overall wellness continue to ring true today, according to hospital officials.

“The ideas that the founders had regarding whole-person wellness are beginning to be understood as fundamental to the health of our community,” said Dr. Michele Cosgrove, the medical center’s chief of staff.

A lot of that relies on outreach, educating the public and medical staffers spending more time outside of the hospital and in the community, said Warren Tetz, Glendale Adventist’s senior vice president.

Part of looking past the supercentenarian anniversary will revolve around increasing local ties.

“The use of tobacco is still pretty prevalent in the Glendale community,” Tetz said. The message of quitting remains one that needs to be delivered, Tetz added.

“It would be an almost dramatic improvement in their health, particularly as they get older,” he said.

After its early years, Glendale Sanitarium was eventually relocated to a new campus where the current hospital currently stands and initially occupied a five-story main building with 225 beds.

Sanitarium services continued to be offered, and the grounds even had its own croquet field.

By the 1970s, advancements in medical science led surgeons to perform the first open-heart surgery at the hospital in 1973.

In the same decade, a new main building known as the east tower was built and the facility updated its name to Glendale Adventist Medical Center.

Flash forward several decades and the hospital now houses 515 beds and employs 800 physicians and 900 nurses, making it the largest hospital in the San Fernando Valley.

Despite a series of major changes in the past century, Glendale Adventist remains at its core a faith-based hospital.

When desired, people are welcome to pray with hospital staff, a long-standing tradition, Cosgrove said.

“It’s a very beautiful and very reassuring moment when patients and their families and their healthcare providers are able to pray together,” she said.

The hospital will celebrate its 110th birthday with a celebration from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at the JCPenney Court of the Glendale Galleria. Admission is free and there will be aerialists, stilt walkers and treats.


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