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It's hard to believe that The Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, one of the largest non-profit voluntary teaching hospitals in Brooklyn, began as just one small building rising amid the vacant fields and scattered farms where the towns of Brownsville, East New York and Canarsie come together.

Today, the hospital covers a 10-acre campus plus six  ambulatory care sites (Brookdale Family Care Centers), with buildings devoted to inpatient, ambulatory, long-term care, senior living and emergency medicine, and has the latest technology for service to our community.

The original building has endured and so too has the spirit and philosophy of the men and women who struggled to build, equip and staff what they termed a haven of healing for all who needed it.

While it was "small change"--literally nickels, dimes and the occasional dollar--that the founders collected to build their hospital, there was nothing small about their vision.  Members of the Jewish community wanted a hospital that served people of all races and creeds in a humanitarian manner.

Here are a few highlights:

    • In 1910 residents of Brownsville and East New York organize to build a voluntary nonprofit community hospital.
    • In 1914 the Brownsville and East New York Hospital Society chartered.
    • On April 11, 1921, the Brownsville and East New York Hospital opened with 75 beds.
    • In 1928, a new four-story Maternity Pavilion is completed, bringing beds to 170.
    • During the 1930s, the hospital extends services beyond East New York.
    • Renamed Beth-El Hospital in 1932.
    • From 1945 to 1950 the Physicians' residency programs expand and the nursing training programs initiated.
    • In 1948, famed physicians join staff:  Dr. Harold Neuhoff, Dr. Bela Schick, Dr. Isidore Snapper.
    • Between 1950 and 1956 internal expansion brings bed total to 334.
    • The Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory opens in 1959.
    • Building expansion in the early 1960s, bringing beds up to 500.
    • In 1963, the name changes to The Brookdale Hospital Center; the hospital address becomes known as "Brookdale Plaza" in 1966.
    • Named The Brookdale Hospital Medical Center in 1971 to reflect status as a major health care provider.
    • The 15 story Comprehensive Health Care Center Opens in 1972.
    • The Brookdale Hospital Center Nursing Home Company opens in 1973.
    • The Community Mental Health Center opens in 1973.
    • The Radutzky Emergency Care Pavilion dedicated in 1982.
    • In 1983 the Emergency Pavilion designated a Level I Trauma Center, able to treat the most critically injured and ill.
    • The Brookdale Hospital Center Nursing Home Company changes name to the Samuel and Bertha Schulman Institute for Nursing and Rehabilitation in 1983.

    • New kidney hemodialysis and ambulatory infusion units open in 1988.
    • Linroc Nursing Home opens in 1993 as the first designated long term AIDS center in Brooklyn.
    • An AIDS Designated Center is established in 1993; it is later renamed the Treatment for Life Center.
    • In 1994 opened the first ventilator-dependent unit in a long-term skilled nursing facility in Brooklyn.
    • Network of Brookdale Family Care Centers built for primary and preventive care in the community is completed in 1996.
    • A neuroangiography suite is one of several new technological advances of the 1990s' major modernization program, which continues to update and modernize the facility and its clinical programs.
    • 1997 saw the ground-breaking and construction of 86 units of senior citizen housing.
    • In 1997, the Linroc Nursing Home is renamed the Dorothy and David Schachne Institute for Nursing and Rehabilitation.
    • 1998 brought the completion of a $200 million Major Modernization Project which includes state-of-the-art technology and major improvements to the facility's infrastructure all to take the institution well into the 21st century.
    • The Arlene and David Schlang Pavilion, senior citizens housing for residents who can live independently and for those who require an Assisted Living Program opens its doors in 1998.
    • In 2000 Brookdale's two nursing homes, Dorothy and David Schachne Institute and Samuel and Bertha Schulman Institute, merge becoming the Schulman and Schachne Institute for Nursing and Rehabilitation.
    • The Schulman and Schachne Institute Adult Day Health Care Program opens its doors in 2004.
    • The Radutzky Emergency Care Pavilion completes a major expansion in 2004.
    • In 2005 Brookdale becomes a 911 receiving Stroke Center.
    • In 2006 Advanced Bariatric Care Center for Healthy Weight Loss opens its doors to provide specialized and individualized care for patients interested in losing weight and/or contemplating undergoing weight loss surgery.
    • The Alumni Hall Auditorium is renamed the Sonja and Dr. Alvin I. Kahn Auditorium in the fall of 2006.
    • In 2006 the Department of Radiology goes live with the PACS, state-of-the-art digital radiology communication system
    • In 2008 High Definition Robotics Surgery comes to Brookdale with the DaVinci SHD Surgical System. Brookdale has acquired the first DaVinci S HD Robotic technology surgical system in Brooklyn to provide its community with state-of-the-art minimally invasive, urologic, gynecologic and general surgery procedures.
    • In 2008 the Digestive Health Center opens.
    • In 2010 a state-of-the-art Coronary Critical Care Unit opens with six private rooms.
    • In 2012 a separate child friendly pediatric Ambulatory Infusion Unit was built on the pediatric inpatient floor.
    • In November 2013 Brookdale launched a state-of-the-art electronic health record system, called EPIC, which vastly improves patient care.  The implementation of the new more coordinated system has numerous benefits for patients and doctors, including greater patient engagement in their own care.  A key component of the new electronic health record is MY BROOKDALE a site, accessible through Brookdale's website that allows patients to log in and view their medical records test results, request appointments and communicate with their healthcare providers, all from the comfort of their home or mobile device.  This is done through a secure system with individual usernames and passwords for access.
    • In March 2014 Brookdale unveiled a new state-of-the-art Urgent Care Center.  The new Urgent Care Center will provide faster and more efficient medical care to community residents on an unscheduled and walk-in basis 365 days a year.  The center also includes outpatient X-ray services and a retail pharmacy for a one-stop doctor visit for most patients.
    • Elected officials, Brookdale Hospital Representatives and the world's third oldest living perform cut the ribbon on the new Brookdale Family Care Center at Pennsylvania Avenue on May 1, 2015.  The new Family Care Center is a 5,500 square foot facility offering primary care for adults and children as well as specialty care services.  A the center, the community will have access to internal medicine.  OB/GYN, podiatry, cardiology, and gastroenterology services.  The new facility will also have an on-site retail pharmacy.
    • In early 2015 our Radiation Oncology department brought on-line a state-of-the-art

      Elekta© Linear Accelerator to treat cancer in adults and children.  To complement our technology, the BHMC Chair of Radiation Oncology, Dr. Saul Arber, attended an intensive training at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.  Dr. Arber is now performing highly complex IMRT procedures in a completely renovated suite on our lower level.

    • In March 2016 Brookdale Hospital Medical Center held its grand opening for the Brookdale Breast Cancer welcoming the public, press and local politicians.  The Breast Center incorporates in one site all the services that a patient with a benign or malignant breast condition would need:  it is the embodiment of patient-centered care.  Spear headed by Dr. Magdalena Lombardi Plasilova the Center has state of the art radiological, surgical and oncologic equipment to help evaluate patients in a timely and efficient manner.  Dr. Plasilova is known for breast conservation treatments, nipple-sparing procedures and the entire range of surgical oncoplastic procedures.  The Breast Center also incorporates post mastectomy reconstruction to assure that patients get the finest oncologic and cosmetic result.