Bayshore Community Hospital and Meridian Health Affiliated Foundations today announced a $5 million charitable contribution from Mrs. Janice Mitchell Vassar, whose sole desire, in her words, is to "make my hospital the best hospital it can be."
Given in honor of the memory of her brother, Ashby John Mitchell, Mrs. Vassar's gift will propel Bayshore Community Hospital's vision to significantly grow cardiovascular services, as well as enhance access to services for the vision impaired throughout the communities Meridian Health serves. The donation stands as the largest single gift to Bayshore and marks the second $5 million dollar gift to Meridian Health within the last year.
"There is no more profound way to give back to a community in its entirety than to give to your community hospital," says David Flood, president of the Meridian Health Affiliated Foundations. "As we continue to grow the breadth and depth of services at Bayshore Community Hospital, Mrs. Vassar's gift will create a lasting legacy, and is already serving as a catalyst for other community leaders to lend their support."
At Bayshore, a significant portion of the donation will be used to fund the expansion of cardiovascular services, specifically the construction of two new state-of-the-art heart and vascular labs. As part of the Meridian Cardiovascular Network and through its strong relationship with Jersey Shore University Medical Center, a recognized leader in open heart surgery in New Jersey, cardiovascular services have become a signature service at Bayshore.
"Mrs. Vassar's gift supports our vision to continually advance care at Bayshore," says Timothy J. Hogan, FACHE, regional president of Bayshore Community Hospital and Riverview Medical Center, "and marks the beginning of a project that will change the landscape of cardiovascular care in our community."
The gift also continues Mrs. Vassar's dedication to helping the vision impaired with the remainder of the donation funding a dedicated outreach coordinator, free screenings, educational programs, access to community resources through the Taking Care of New Jersey mobile health unit, new technologies and aides for the vision impaired, and an
internship that will provide students with hands-on experience working with patients with disabilities including the blind and vision impaired.
Mrs. Vassar's keen interest in health care and helping the vision impaired is born of strong family ties. Her father, John William Boyd Mitchell, was an accomplished newspaper editor who endured a personal battle with glaucoma. His dedication to his work was not stopped by the disease, as Mr. Mitchell's family, including Jan's sister, Lois Roberta Mitchell, would read the current events to him so he could dictate important editorials for the Hudson Dispatch - the second largest morning newspaper in the state. Her husband, Hervey Provost Vassar, whose ancestors founded Vassar College and Vassar Brothers Hospital, shared Janice Mitchell Vassar's passion for serving the vision impaired, helping Mrs. Vassar create the Vassar Eye Center at Bayshore in 1995. In 2001, the John William Boyd and Kathryn Roberta Mitchell Pavilion at Bayshore was named in dedication to her parents. With this gift, Mrs. Vassar honors her brother, Ashby John Mitchell, and invests in a vision to move Bayshore forward.
"Janice Mitchell Vassar is an extraordinary woman," says John Lloyd, president and CEO of Meridian Health. "She has honored her family's legacy of philanthropy and public service through so many kind deeds and good works of her own. Her personal legacy will be strongly tied to the phenomenal changes and bright future at Bayshore Community Hospital."
There are plans to begin construction on two new heart and vascular labs in 2013. In 2012, Bayshore's catheterization lab met stringent requirements to become designated as a full service catheterization lab. Bayshore also applied to New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services and was granted the permission to develop and implement a Primary Angioplasty program, which will begin in the first half of 2013.
"This gift touches so many things that are dear to my heart," says Janice Mitchell Vassar. "Through my gift to Meridian Health I am able to create an ongoing resource for the vision impaired and, in memory of beloved brother Ashby, I am able to be a part of Bayshore's exciting future and help my hospital provide the best cardiac services to our community."
Bayshore Community Hospital