MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. - Northern Westchester Hospital (NWH) launched its centennial year of celebrations last Thursday, marking 100 years of care with special guests and the unveiling of a new interactive historical timeline.
The celebration began with welcome remarks from Joel Seligman, president and CEO of NWH.
“It’s a very exciting time for us,” Seligman said. “I just got here 15 years ago. You all, and your families and friends and neighbors, have been responsible for what we’re celebrating tonight for the last 100 years...You represent the whole diverse community that we work with, our physicians, our volunteers, our staff, elected officials, community supporters, our artist community...”
Seligman then began to paint a picture of what medicine was like in Mt. Kisco 100 years ago.
“Surgery was often done on your dining room table...the nearest hospital was in New York City and you got there via a bumpy horse-drawn wagon driving down the pothole-ridden Albany Post Road...now known as Route 9, or a not-so-clean cot tucked into the baggage section of a local train, if you were lucky. Once you got to New York City, if you were lucky, an ambulance met you and took you to the hospital. But that really only happened for the fortunate few who had the resources to pay for that type of care.”
But he said a handful of local visionaries, after 10 years of fundraising, opened the 15-bed Mt. Kisco Hospital, which was just up the road from the current location of NWH.
“That’s the beginning of the Northern Westchester Hospital story. And I’m proud to say that 100 years later, the mission that they envisioned and set out for us remains true today: to provide the highest quality of patient-centered care close to home for all the members of our community,” Seligman said.
Later in the program, Nancy Karch, chair of the hospital’s Board of Trustees, spoke about NWH becoming a member of Northwell Health, which she said has world-class facilities and people throughout its system.
“It includes 21 hospitals, facilities that specialize in pediatric and psychiatric care, a pioneering research institute...a visionary approach to medical education...We’re very excited about this new chapter in our history. To speak personally, this is a very, very exciting affiliation for our community. The system has resources and expertise, as you will learn, that are just remarkable.”
Northwell Health is formerly the North Shore-LIJ Health System.
The evening concluded with a ribbon cutting ceremony to unveil a new interactive timeline, a touch screen with video vignettes and audio, that will take visitors through the evolution of 100 years of care in the community. The timeline will include key milestones for the hospital, such as expansions, technological advances, partnerships and key moments in medical history.
New artwork from the Katonah Museum Artists’ Association (KMAA) and the Westchester Photographic Society (WPS) were also unveiled. For the centennial year, each organization was asked to provide artwork marking 100 years of care in the community that will remain on display throughout the year.