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Central State Hospital (CSH) opened in 1870 in Petersburg, Va., and was the first state hospital in the United States exclusively for African Americans. Rather than integrate its two existing asylums, Virginia’s governor signed legislation to house all “insane” Black people in a former Confederate hospital. The hospital remained segregated until 1968 when federal law required integration of health care facilities.
Throughout its history, the underfunded hospital's staff, patients, and their families often did not receive the care or respect they deserved. Dr. Olivia Garland was one of the first directors of the hospital to make significant improvements to change that. On this episode, she joins us to talk about that journey.
Olivia Garland, Ph.D., served as Director of CSH from 1985 to 1991. During her tenure, the facility regained its accreditation, secured funding to have all patient living areas air-conditioned, and established a residency program with Virginia Commonwealth University/Medical College of Virginia.