Read Us Daily for News in Prince William, Manassas, & Stafford

News
Sentara celebrates medical center’s 45th birthday

Forty-five years ago, Woodbridge looked like a different place.

“There was a little old house at the bottom of Jefferson Davis Highway and Opitz Boulevard where we bought chicken eggs. And there was probably two stoplights on all of two stop lights on Route 1 — one at Marsumsco, and the other at Longview Drive,” said Carol S. Shapiro, director of the Sentara Northern Virginia Wound Healing Center.

She was one of the founders of what was Potomac Hospital, which opened in 1972. On Thursday, the community gathered at what is today Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center to celebrate the hospital’s anniversary during a celebration called “45 Years New.”

Shapiro, a plastic surgeon who completed her residency at Georgetown University Hospital, was working as the physician for the Gar-Field High School Football Team when she was asked to be apart of a new community hospital.

Shapiro recognized early on the need for Potomac Hospital and she never saw Woodbridge as a two-stoplight town.

“When those kids got injured during a football game, they had to go all the way up to Alexandria. So, there was a real risk of them not getting good medical care,” she said.

Some of the first meetings of the hospital steering committee were held at the old Virginia Power building at the corner of Route 1 and Reddy Drive in Woodbridge. It was there a Board of Directors was founded, and fundraisers held to raise cash to start Potomac Hospital.

“The money that was raised to get this hospital started were community funds. The community wanted this hospital. The community paid for this hospital,” she said.

Things have changed since 1972, Norfolk-based Sentara purchased the Potomac Hospital in 2009 and changed its name to Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center. Today, the center serves a diverse population, more racially diverse than of Sentara’s other locations across the state.

Thursday’s celebration featured Prince William County Neabsco District Supervisor John Jenkins, as well as current and former hospital staff, and members of its founding team.

Send news and photos to Potomac Local


A word from our sponsors...