Chinese Hospital in San Francisco celebrates 125th anniversary

ByJason Beal Localish logo
Friday, May 10, 2024
Chinese Hospital in San Francisco celebrates 125th anniversary
Chinese Hospital in San Francisco has been providing healthcare services to the oldest Chinatown in America, celebrating its 125th anniversary.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Chinese Hospital in Chinatown is the only independent community hospital left in San Francisco. In 2024, the hospital is celebrating its 125th anniversary and its rich history serving the oldest Chinatown in America.

"Although Chinese Hospital started because of exclusion," says Dr. Jian Zhang, CEO of Chinese Hospital, "for the future, were looking into collaboration and partnership."

Chinese Hospital is a community-owned, nonprofit healthcare organization, aiming to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate care to the communities they serve, in a cost-effective way.

"It's really not just a hospital, it's very much a part of our history and a part of the community," adds Dr. Zhang.

Chinese Hospital was established in 1899, known then as Tung Wah Dispensary. Many immigrants came from China to work on railroads and at the time, they were not allowed to go to mainstream hospitals due to discrimination.

The original dispensary was damaged in the 1906 Earthquake and fire, and in 1923 the Chinese Hospital Association was formed.

"They started raising funding to build a real hospital," explained Dr. Zhang, "which was opened in 1925. Oh my god, the community was so excited, they celebrated for two weeks."

Chinese Hospitals service to the community grew throughout the decades, opening a number of healthcare clinics in San Francisco to address the communities growing need for healthcare access.

In 2012, the original hospital at 835 Jackson Street was torn down to build a brand new acute care health center, which would eventually open in 2016.

"When we built this new hospital, we celebrated for a whole week," added Dr. Zhang. "I think it's so important that it's very much a part of the community."

Arthur Chen is a member and long-time donor to Chinese Hospital.

"You may have a good hospital, but maybe too far away," Mr. Chen explained. "For the Chinese, it's not convenient. All the nurses and the assistants, they understand and they care. They love. I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to them of a job well done."

Dr. Jessica Li has been the Medical Director of the Emergency Room at Chinese Hospital for nearly five years.

"It's a real pleasure to work at Chinese Hospital," Dr. Li said. "I actually grew up here in Chinatown, so this is a place that's very special to me. A lot of family worked here, a lot of my family has been treated at Chinese Hospital. So, this place is very important to me.

It's been a true honor for me to come back here to be able to serve this community where I grew up."

In 2024, for the first time in its 125-year history, Chinese Hospital was named one of America's Best-In-State Hospitals in California by Newsweek for its outstanding care and accessibility.

"I do see hope, and I also see a lot of challenges here, too," said Dr. Zhang. "Together, I think we can overcome all the barriers and make sure Chinese Hospital survives and thrives and to continue to serve the community. We're very proud."

To find out more about Chinese Hospital, visit here.