On Monday March 7, we will conduct the ceremonial ground breaking for our new hospital in White Oak, Maryland. As you read this Mission Moment today, the property is already being prepared for the new hospital by removing trees with heavy equipment and preparing the land for the large footprint of the hospital and medical office buildings. I am very excited about our future and am already looking forward to our ribbon cutting ceremony in 2019!

A few weeks ago I wrote about the vision of the two physicians who help to found what was then called the Washington Sanitarium. Doctors Daniel and Lauretta Kress established the first facilities for women’s health in Montgomery County, and following World War I they also helped establish the first cardiac care here. Building on this legacy, in the 1960s and 70s, under the leadership of physicians like Dr. Kenneth Cruze, WAH lead the way in our region in cardiac research and surgical innovations. Since 1971 we have performed more than 16,000 open heart surgeries and over 100,000 cardiovascular procedures.

Another innovator, Dr. Henry Miller, was also on our founding hospital staff back in 1913. His interests were focused on nutrition, particularly the benefits of a vegetarian diet. During World War II, his soybean research led to the development of soymilk and vegetarian protein products, both years ahead of their time.

There were innovative milestones across the 20th century. In 1954 Doctors J. W. McFarland and H.W. Vollmer introduced a groundbreaking program to help smokers “kick the habit” in just five days. This successful program helped to inform the United States Surgeon General’s landmark report linking cigarettes and lung disease—and has influenced the work of smoking cessation for decades. And commencing in the mid 1970s, WAH Pulmonologist Dr. Alfred Munzer, as President of the American Lung Association, has been an influential voice in the fight against the effects of secondhand smoke, and instrumental in the successful campaign to ban smoking on commercial airlines.

These and other stories from our history have strengthened our resolve and hopes. We share with these pioneers a singular passion for better care for the communities we serve. It has been the motivating factor in our work since the very beginning, and it continues to guide our development of a vibrant new hospital in White Oak, while continuing to provide important population health services in Takoma Park.

We stand on the shoulders of giants.