For generations of Baltimoreans, Sinai Hospital has served as an integral part of their lives and the health and wellbeing of their families and community.
To celebrate the Northwest Baltimore hospital’s storied past, a group of distinguished retired physicians and others recently gathered for a virtual program called, “Come Home to Sinai.”
Sinai Hospital, which was founded in 1866 as the Hebrew Hospital and Asylum and located in East Baltimore, is part of the LifeBridge Health system.
About a year-and-a-half ago, the “Homecoming Committee,” as its members call themselves, came up with a goal to bring Sinai’s rich history to life. They wanted to host a social gathering for past and current physicians, residents and medical students. In addition, they planned to offer encouragement and monetary support to medical students, since mentoring has always been a crucial component of Sinai’s operations.
The committee decided to create a digital archive of Sinai’s 154-year history with interviews of retired and current doctors, nurses and other medical professionals sharing their personal and professional stories and experiences, as well as to discuss the hospital’s achievements over the years.
The video archive – produced and edited by LifeBridge Health multimedia specialist Scott Wender — took several months to complete.
“We wanted to make sure Sinai’s historical importance, medical excellence, scientific innovation and teaching would be preserved forever,” said Dr. Edward J. Wolfe, a gastroenterologist with LifeBridge Health.
The second objective was to host a gathering on June 28-29 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Baltimore North/Pikesville, at which individuals from different decades of employment and service at Sinai could meet and talk at an official launch to the project.
The COVID-19 pandemic, however, prevented that endeavor from reaching fruition, so committee members decided to have a virtual event this year and host an in-person gathering on June 27-28, 2021.
This year’s virtual event was a veritable “Who’s Who” of Sinai’s past, present and future, with more than 80 people in attendance.
Neil M. Meltzer, president and CEO of LifeBridge Health (and a former Sinai president), kicked off the festivities with an overview of some of the accomplishments pioneered at Sinai for more than a century. He then turned over the hosting responsibilities to the master of ceremonies, Dr. Jerome P. “Jerry” Reichmister, Sinai’s retired chief of orthopedic surgery, who kept things moving with reflections and humor.
Among the notable speakers with strong ties to Sinai who were called upon to share their experiences and memories were Dr. Debra Counts, Dr. Raphael David, Dr. Leonard Lichtenfeld, Dr. Morton Mower, Dr. Edward J. Wolf and Dr. Donald Abrams.
The topics ranged from firsts at Sinai; innovative programming and groundbreaking research; the development of life-changing medical devices; and the residency program. Also discussed were the Jewish tenets and values upon which Sinai was founded.
Meanwhile, retired Sinai pediatrician Dr. Raphael David and his wife, Irene David, announced the establishment of the Harry H. Gordon Medical Alumni Society with a $100,000 gift. Named in honor of the late Dr. Harry H. Gordon, who headed the Department of Pediatrics at Sinai, the society connects Sinai’s former and current trainees and faculty.
The Davids said they wanted to facilitate a deeper connection with Sinai’s resident alumni, while enhancing the experiences of current and future residents through lectures and other programming.
Their gift inspired the establishment of the Fund for the Future of Medicine, to benefit the resident education experience. Several retired physicians, as well as the Sinai medical staff, provided seed money gifts to help launch the fund.
Members of the “Homecoming Committee” included Dr. Stanley Brull, Dr. Raymond Caplan, Dr. Gary Cohen, Dr. Juan Juanteguy, Dr. Mel Kopilnick, Dr. Mickey Levin, Dr. Marc Lowen, Dr. Clara Pio Roda, Dr. Jerry Reichmister, Dr. Sidney Seidman, Dr. Allen Schwartz, Dr. Ed Soriano, Dr. Harry Walen and Dr. Edward Wolf. Coordinators are Susan Weikers, Ellen Lumsden and Laurie Wallace.