Now a citywide network of state-of-the-art facilities, California Pacific Medical Center’s four campuses — California, Davies, Pacific and St. Luke’s (renamed Mission Bernal in August 2018) — have grown and changed with their neighborhoods. CPMC also serves San Francisco with off-campus locations and community partnerships. Over time and distance, the facilities’ goal remains constant: to provide the very best medical and preventive care.
California Campus History
The site of what became the California Campus opened in 1875 as the state’s first hospital created by women, for women. The hospital was the brainchild of Charlotte Blake Brown, M.D., who so fiercely wanted to become a doctor that she left her family in Napa to earn a medical degree at Philadelphia’s Women’s Medical College. After returning to San Francisco in 1874 and facing resistance to female doctors, she enlisted a group of prominent San Francisco women to support her extraordinary idea. By 1887, Dr. Brown expanded her care mission to include children and the training of nurses.
By 1955, adult men also began receiving care at the hospital, but women’s and children’s needs (OB/Gyn and child development) remain focal points.
Davies Campus History
In 1854, the German General Benevolent Society formed the German Hospital to provide healthcare, food and shelter for San Francisco’s German immigrants, who flooded the City during the Gold Rush. Founder Joseph N. Rausch, M.D., also proposed one of the country’s first pre-paid health plans: for a dollar a month, German-speaking immigrants qualified for a private hospital bed if they ever needed it, at a rate of one dollar per day. In 1895, the Society expanded its membership and was treating all citizens of San Francisco by century’s end.
Over the years, physical rehabilitation medicine, specialized reconstructive surgeries and neurosciences became focal points of the Davies Campus.
Pacific Campus History
In 1857, the site which would become Pacific Campus housed the West’s very first medical school. Founder Elias S. Cooper, M.D., was responsible for many other medical firsts: California’s first successful caesarean birth, San Francisco’s first use of chloroform in surgery, alcohol dressings to prevent infection and corrective procedures for clubfoot. Some credit Dr. Cooper as “the father of medical research in the West.”
The Pacific Campus became CPMC’s base for acute inpatient care in the mid-1990s. It also serves as headquarters for advanced specialized care such as cardiac and transplant therapy.
Mission Bernal Campus History
Since opening its doors in 1871 as an Episcopalian charitable hospital, St. Luke’s has cared for all San Francisco residents regardless of a person’s ability to pay. Thomas W. Brotherton, M.D., D.D., a physician and Episcopalian priest, established the hospital out of concern for the healthcare shortage south of Market Street.
CPMC’s St. Luke’s Campus assumed its new name in August 2018: Mission Bernal Campus. Featuring new safety technology, green initiatives and 120 beds, the new hospital includes 16 private Emergency Department rooms, care for new moms and babies, surgical and orthopedic services, and emergency and inpatient care for the elderly.
Off Campus Facilities
California Pacific Medical Center has a long history of reaching out across the City to serve our community in off-campus locations in different neighborhoods. While our founders may have never used the term “preventive healthcare,” they certainly supported the theory by opening well-baby clinics and offering health education classes across San Francisco in their time.
One of our best known off-campus facilities is Coming Home Hospice, a former convent on Diamond Street, which was transformed in 1985 into the first residential facility especially for people in the last stages of AIDS – the first facility of its type in the country.
In March 2007, CPMC took bold steps to reverse disparate health problems suffered by the children of Bayview Hunters Point by opening its Bayview Child Health Center, which provides access to community and civic resources.