Southwestern Vermont Medical Center plans year of centennial events


BENNINGTON — Putnam Memorial Hospital, now known as Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, opened to patients on June 10, 1918. A century later, that 30-bed community hospital has grown significantly and is part of one of New England's leading rural healthcare systems.

Built with money donated by Henry W. Putnam and Henry W. Putnam Jr., the original structure cost $85,000 to construct. Putnam Hospital became Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in 1984.

To celebrate the centennial year, the corporate parent, Southwestern Vermont Health Care, has announced a schedule of events for the whole community throughout 2018.

"A hundred years of caring for generation after generation in Bennington County and beyond is certainly a milestone worth celebrating," said Thomas A. Dee, SVHC's president and CEO. "Equally worthy of celebration is what SVHC is today — one of the best and most innovative community health care systems in the region — and how we are growing our services to meet the needs of the future."

In February 2018, SVHC will release "A Century of Caring," a commemorative book covering 100 years of hospital history, and open a historical exhibit in cooperation with The Bennington Museum.

The public is welcomed to view the exhibit and others at the Bennington Museum free of charge on Saturday, Feb. 3.

"All year we will be honoring our past but also turning our attention to the future," Dee said. "We've inherited a tremendous legacy, and it's our responsibility to extend it by achieving an even higher standard of excellence for many years to come."

A Centennial Gala is scheduled for June 9 — on the eve of the hospital's 100th anniversary — at the Hubbell Homestead at Colgate Park in Bennington.

Centennial Community Day will be a free event for all ages on June 10. The event will feature 1918-inspired games, activities for children, entertainment and a road race. The day will also include annual events like the Heart Hike, Cancer Survivors Day and the Cancer Center Community Crusaders Day of Celebration.

In October, clinical leaders from around the country will be invited to a telemedicine conference called Telemedicine Reverse Innovation.

The conference will be hosted by Southwestern Vermont Health Care and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health Care.

In addition, each of the SVHC Foundation's annual events — Masters in the Mountains and The Jingle Bell — will be enhanced for the Centennial.

In a release, Dee noted several recent achievements of the institution:

- Southwestern Vermont Medical Center has been designated four consecutive times as a Magnet Center for Nursing Excellence.

- SVMC's Transitional Care nurse, Barbara Richardson, RN, was named the 2016 Magnet Nurse of the Year, and in 2017, the hospital won the Magnet Prize — given to only one hospital worldwide each year — for its Transitional Care Nursing program.

- SVHC is accredited by the Joint Commission and recognized as a Top Performer on Key Quality Measures.

- The health system received workplace honors from both Vermont Business Magazine and Becker's Hospital Review. This fall the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation earned the prestigious five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services.

More information and updates can be found at


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