The Village Improvement Association of Doylestown (VIA) was formed on April 26, 1895, by fourteen women concerned about the health risks posed by the dusty roads of Doylestown. They took bold steps to begin improving life in the community they loved, eliminating dusty streets and establishing the first visiting nurse service in Doylestown.
In 1923, seeing the need for a hospital and surgery, the VIA established the first Doylestown Hospital at the corner of Pine and Oakland with eight infirmary beds. Their vision was rapidly justified by increased need of the growing population, and in 1939 the second—larger—hospital opened at the corner of Belmont and Spruce, with a capacity of 21 beds. Within a few decades, this, too, had grown too small, and the VIA began planning and fundraising for a comprehensive care facility with space to expand nearly every medical function into a department of its own. In 1975, the current hospital on West State Street opened and received its first patients. The VIA continues to oversee governance of Doylestown Health to this day, now a multi-facility health system spanning Bucks County communities and serving thousands of individuals with expert, compassionate care.
Today, the VIA is more than 300 women strong, and continues to dedicate its considerable energies to the improvement of life in Doylestown and the Central Bucks region. In addition to health services, the VIA offers one-time grants to community efforts, scholarships to high-achieving high school seniors and women pursuing professional careers, and a variety of support through its welfare fund for emergent needs of community members.
On April 26, 2020, the VIA celebrated 125 years of serving the community. Doylestown Health President and CEO Jim Brexler shares his appreciation and pays tribute to their service and legacy of excellence.
President: Barbara Ann Price
First Vice President: Helen Hammes
Second Vice Presidents: Carol Shugars & Whitney Chandor
Vice President Health Services: Joan Parlee
Recording Secretary: Jan Cope
Corresponding Secretary: Nancy Gimbol
Vice President, Finance: Kathy Krick
Assistant Vice President, Finance: Beverly Coller Campbell
Bucks County Designer House & Gardens Chair: Joyce A. Hanson
Finance Chair: Kathleen Krick
Fundraising Chair: Sandy Homel
Governance Chair: Lillian O’Connor
James-Lorah Memorial Home Chair: Jeanne Sandusky
Marketing Chair: Carol Counihan
Membership Chair: Polly O’Brien
Welfare Fund Committee Chair: Marianne Chabot
Immediate Past President: Joyce A. Hanson
Member at Large: Joanne Murray
Member at Large: Pat Urban
Member at Large: Whitney Chandor
Member at Large: Carol Shugars
Parliamentary Advisor: Beverly Harvey
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