95 Years: Honoring the Past, Celebrating the Future

95 Years: Honoring the Past, Celebrating the Future

Monday, November 2, 2020

SARASOTA — Sarasota Memorial is honoring its past, while celebrating its future as the hospital marks 95 years serving the Suncoast region.
Insulin was a life-saving new treatment for diabetes and penicillin had yet to be discovered when the community’s first modern hospital, Sarasota Hospital, opened its doors in the fall of 1925. Local residents raised $40,000 to build the 32-bed hospital, replacing a 6-bed facility that was being used to care for tuberculosis and emergency patients.

Today, Sarasota Memorial is a thriving regional medical center, with a network of outpatient and urgent care centers, a physician practice group, a skilled nursing and rehab center, a behavioral health hospital, and plans under way to open a new hospital in Venice. With 7,000 staff, it’s also one of the region’s largest employers.

Throughout the decades, Sarasota Memorial has grown with the community, serving as Sarasota County’s healthcare safety net while offering the region’s most advanced technology and care. 

Sarasota Memorial CEO David Verinder attributed the health system’s strength to its longstanding community mission. “Our greatest strength comes from the community we serve,” he said. “Just like the citizens who built the first hospital, Sarasota Memorial remains as focused today on its core mission as it was 95 years ago.”

SMH leaders observed the milestone today in a socially distanced manner, sharing a 3D cake of the original 1925 hospital and historical slideshow for staff and volunteers. Leaders also recognized Labor & Delivery nurse Clara Rock, RN, the longest-serving nurse still providing patient care at Sarasota Memorial – 44 years and counting — and Jennifer Nguyen, one of our newest volunteers, who joined SMH in March 2020 in the midst of the pandemic.

SMH 95th birthday cake“Over the decades, this institution has continued to grow and evolve to meet the community’s changing needs,” Hospital Board Chairman James Meister said. “What continues to set Sarasota Memorial apart are the people - the physicians, employees, volunteers and leaders who commit themselves every day to providing the best care to our community.”

About Sarasota Memorial Health Care System 
Sarasota Memorial is a regional medical center offering Southwest Florida’s greatest breadth and depth of care, with more than 1 million patient visits a year. Sarasota Memorial’s 839-bed acute care hospital has been recognized repeatedly as one of the nation’s best, with superior patient outcomes and a complete continuum of outpatient services – from urgent care clinics and physician groups, laboratory and diagnostic imaging centers, to home health and skilled nursing and rehabilitation.