If you look at the history of hospitals around the country, many have roots dating back 100 or more years. Most were built in the city proper to handle populations booming.

Their mission—to care and treat patients for a myriad of reasons—continues today.

Locally though, one hospital group not only treats symptoms inside, but reaches out to surrounding neighborhoods to help cure inner city ills.

Premier Health, parent of Miami Valley Hospital and now shuttered Good Samaritan, is offering an antidote to assist its neighbors.

Back in 2000 The Genesis Project was launched in the Fairgrounds Neighborhood in Dayton, which includes Miami Valley Hospital.

“Premier Health and its hospitals are anchor institutions in the community, and our health system’s board is locally led. Our mission is to improve the health of the communities that we serve, and we feel that an extension of that mission includes investing in our communities to enhance the quality of life for residents of our region. We partner with other organizations to maximize the impact of that investment and enhance economic development efforts. Both the Genesis and Phoenix projects are textbook examples of how that partnership approach results in more livable neighborhoods,” says Mary Boosalis, president and CEO of Premier Health, who led Miami Valley Hospital during earlier phases of the Genesis Project.

Was it successful? Have you been in the area lately? Rehabbed and new houses, Brown Street redevelopment, new restaurants, stores, improved traffic flow, all accomplished not only by Premier, but partners including the University of Dayton, the City of Dayton and CityWide Development Corporation. 

“It truly is remarkable to see how far the neighborhood has come, and we’re really pleased that some of our employees contributed to that success by purchasing homes in the neighborhood. It reflects the Dayton spirit,” Boosalis adds.

But can lightning strike twice at Premier’s other hospital Good Samaritan? Spoiler alert… you bet!

“The Phoenix Project began in 2003 and has been a successful collaboration between Premier Health and the City of Dayton and CityWide. Again, we recognized that neighborhood stabilization and enhancement create the best environment in which health and wellness can flourish. We have been ‘walking the walk’ for decades through community investment and partnerships to improve the health of the community and positively move the needle on social determinants of health such as education, hunger, housing, community safety and economic development,” says Craig Self, chief strategy officer for Premier Health.

And now, drum roll please, the Phoenix Next Project is “full throttle” in the neighborhood surrounding the now shuttered Good Sam. Premier is priming the pump with millions to spur revitalization efforts. Last I looked it’s working with more to come. 

“It really is tremendous. Premier Health and Good Samaritan Hospital have invested $13 million in the neighborhoods surrounding the hospital since 2003, and the overall investment is approaching $70 million. During that time, we’ve seen a new school established in the community, a new library, a new health center and many other amenities. The area still faces challenges, but it has much to be proud of and to build upon,” Self says.

So, what’s next for Phoenix?

“We’re looking forward to spurring additional development by pledging an additional $10 million to optimally position the 13 acres that make up the former Good Sam campus and the surrounding neighborhoods for the future. The urban firm planning NEXT has been leading the process of gathering community input for redevelopment ideas, and we anticipate that the Phoenix board will vote on a reuse and redevelopment options plan by the end of 2018,” Self says.

And if you could look in to the future with a crystal ball?

“It’s hard to know for sure, but when you look at how much progress was achieved by the Genesis and Phoenix projects over a similar time period, we think the area could look very different. You have to be realistic about the possibilities, but there are many reasons for optimism,” Self says.

Many in the community were shocked and saddened with the closing of Good Sam. A tough decision had to be made, but as I always say, there is a silver lining.

“We certainly understand that there have been some concerns about the closing of Good Samaritan Hospital. It was a beloved institution, and the spirit of the Good Samaritan lives on through former Good Sam employees who were offered employment elsewhere at Premier Health, as well as the health system’s other employees. Much of the feedback that we’ve received from the neighborhood about plans to redevelop the site has been positive. People don’t want to see a large, outdated building slowly deteriorating in the community. They want to see a plan move forward and see the land redeveloped so that it continues to contribute to the well-being of the neighborhood,” Self says.

Bottom line, Self says, Premier’s commitment to care and well-being extend outside the walls.

“We’ve recognized for a long time that it’s important to reach out if we want to build healthier communities. The Sisters of Charity instilled those values when they opened Good Sam in 1932, and those values live on through Premier Health today. The Genesis and Phoenix projects are just two of many examples of how we’ve ‘walked the walk’ for a long time. And we plan to continue that commitment to northwest Dayton.”

Now, not to be selfish, but for this Five Oaks boy and if I may speak for my neighbors, we need a grocery store nearby.

Self says, stay tuned!

Sounds like an upcoming column to me.



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