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Black-Owned Hospital Receives Historical Commemorative Marker

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in conjunction with the 30th Annual Conference on Black History in Pennsylvania commemorated// one of the state's black-owned hospitals, Clement Atkinson Memorial Hospital, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

The hospital opened in Coatesville, Pa., in 1936 and was founded by Whittier Clement Atkinson, a black physician who was shunned by co-workers at Coatesville Hospital during the 1930s.

The hospital was one of seven black-owned health providers in the state at the time, and it eventually grew from five to 60 beds and became a full-service hospital, serving thousands of people in poor and black communities.

The hospital closed in 1978, and Atkinson eventually became the first black president of the Chester County Medical Society and was named general practitioner of the year by the Pennsylvania Medical Society.

The facility reopened in 1991 as the W.C. Atkinson Memorial Community Center. Brandywine Hospital partnered with the Atkinson Center to establish a primary care clinic in the basement of the center, and later, a 22-bed homeless shelter and transitional housing facilities were added.

The center also offered outreach programs, such as a diabetes support group, wellness programs and support for pregnant women. In 2006, ChesPenn Health Services, federally qualified health center, opened a satellite clinic within blocks of the Atkinson center and was able to provide more services. With this addition, the Atkinson clinic will close in May, but the center's other programs still will be available.

The center's other programs still will be available. "We will continue to have a vibrant role in the health care of our community," Minnie McNeil, one of Atkinson's former nurses who helped reopen the clinic, said, adding, "That's very important to us"

Source-Kaiser Family Foundation/B

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