Cynthia Persily, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dr. Persily is the CEO of Highland Hospital in Charleston, WV
Do you know what happened 60 years ago? My kids would answer that with some disparaging remark about my age. No, I wasn’t born 60 years ago. But, Velcro was patented. Coca-Cola was sold in cans for the first time. Disneyland opened to the public. Kermit the Frog was created by Jim Henson. And, Lady and the Tramp screened in movie theatres. But what was the most important thing that happened 60 years ago on September 25, 1955? Highland Hospital was founded!
I love to tell the story about how our hospital was founded. Dr. William Rossman, a psychiatrist, spent nine years in Charleston from 1946 through 1955 without being able to admit psychiatric patients to any facility of any type. He and his colleague Dr. Mantz opened a facility in downtown Charleston to provide 25 beds for psychiatric care. In a little house on Quarrier Street, the foundation was laid for our current, modern, free-standing psychiatric hospital. We were born out of necessity, when none of the hospitals in Charleston would accept psychiatric patients for admission. We have thrived because we continue to meet the need for high quality psychiatric care for members of our community of all ages.
When I think about our hospital, I think of a quote attributed to Mother Teresa. She said “None of us ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.” To everyone who works each day in our hospital, to everyone who has trusted us in the past and invested in our future through dedication, time, and energy, I say thank you for helping us to do something wonderful.
To celebrate our 60th year anniversary, we invite everyone in the community to join us for lemonade and cake in the courtyard of our new hospital on September 25 from 1-3:00 p.m. Our successes of today are built upon the vision, the hard work, and the dedication of everyone in this community who has touched Highland Hospital in any way—as an employee, a board member, a donor, a neighbor, or a friend. Come join us as we pay tribute to the success of the past and our vision for the future. We hope to see you there!