Vincent Memorial Hospital History
The Vincent Memorial Hospital Foundation, Inc., is a charitable organization that fuels research and training in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Vincent Center of Reproductive Biology.
Early Mission and Support
Vincent Memorial Hospital was founded by the friends of Mrs. Mary Ann Vincent, a generous Boston actress who had a great heart for women in need. Dedicated to the care of wage-earning women, the freestanding hospital was originally located at 44 Chambers St. in the West End of Boston, near Massachusetts General Hospital. The hospital’s early medical staff consisted of Grace Wolcott, MD, and Lena V. Ingraham, MD, and the hospital’s governance was led by a Board of Trustees. In addition, a Board of Managers, a group of volunteers serving Vincent patients and staff, was initiated, as well as the Vincent Club, a prominent group of donors. All groups are active today.
Growth and Merger with Mass General
The first hospital quickly outgrew its 12-bed capacity. In 1908, it moved to a new and larger facility on South Huntington Avenue, where it remained until 1941. At that time, the hospital’s Board of Trustees and Joe Vincent Meigs, MD, the noted gynecologic surgeon and Vincent chief of staff, recognized the tremendous potential of merging Vincent Memorial Hospital with the broad resources of Massachusetts General Hospital. As a result, Vincent Memorial Hospital accepted Mass General’s invitation to become its gynecology service while retaining its own hospital identity and staff, and relocated to the Mass General main campus. In 1947, after operating out of temporary quarters during the war years, Vincent Memorial Hospital moved to its permanent home on three floors of the newly completed Vincent Burnham Building.
In 1988, Vincent Memorial Hospital and Mass General revised their agreement. The corporate purpose of Vincent Memorial Hospital was restated as follows: ”The Corporation shall be organized and shall be operated exclusively to support programs for the care and treatment of the diseases of women at The Massachusetts General Hospital.” Vincent Memorial Hospital gave up its hospital license and building, but retained its endowment, and Mass General agreed to formally designate with the name “Vincent” those places and programs associated with and funded by the Vincent Memorial Hospital Corporation. In 1994, the Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology was launched with significant funding from Vincent Memorial Hospital.
Unique Foundation for Women’s Healthcare
In 2018, the Board of Trustees voted to change the organization’s name. The nonprofit corporation formally became The Vincent Memorial Hospital Foundation to better reflect its role as a funding organization while recognizing its heritage as a hospital. Over the years, funding has evolved to focus on the often “non-reimbursable” part of medicine, namely training new physician-scientists and advancing novel research studies in the Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology. In recent years, the organization has provided unrestricted funds to support teaching and investigation in women’s care at Mass General. To ensure this critical work continues, the organization works to replenish its endowment through annual fundraising appeals.