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HAP through the Years: 1950–1960

May 21, 2021

During 2021, The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) proudly marks its centennial with a look back at 100 years of milestones, advocacy, and support for Pennsylvania’s hospitals.

This week, HAP provides a look at its advocacy efforts during the 1950s, a decade featuring incredible medical breakthroughs and growth for Pennsylvania’s hospitals and health systems.     

The 1950s

Medical Breakthroughs:  The arrival of the polio vaccine during 1955 marked a critical moment in global public health, helping to eradicate a disease that killed or paralyzed more than 500,000 people annually during the 1940s and 1950.

For years, Pennsylvania’s researchers played an essential role in the trials and development of the vaccine. During 1947, the University of Pittsburgh recruited Jonas Salk to lead its virus program. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia also played an important role in the vaccine development of the era.

A New Home: During 1954—with the sale of its headquarters and a desire to be closer to the Capitol—HAP moved its home offices to a converted physician’s office at 610 North Third Street in downtown Harrisburg. The association continued operations in the location for 14 more years.

Advocacy objectives:  HAP’s advocacy objectives during the 1950s focused on familiar themes: equitable reimbursement for patient care, additional funding to support the next generation of nursing students, and the creation of the Pennsylvania Association of Hospital Auxiliaries. HAP played a key role in the state’s “Hospital Study Commission,” which evaluated the state’s needs for outpatient services, support for older adults, and long-term care facilities, among other topics.

A History of Education:  Historical records show HAP’s deep commitment to educate members about the challenges facing the health care community. As hospital expansion continued during the 1950s, HAP’s educational workshops focused on personnel, public relations, and accounting processes for increasingly complex businesses. “Now that hospitals have grown to be the nation’s fifth largest industry, progressive accounting methods are a basic necessity in the operations of our institutions,” a HAP chairman noted in announcing one workshop.

A Symbol of Healing:  During 1952, HAP adopted a new seal highlighting its core mission. The new logo featured Pennsylvania’s signature keystone and four emblems of healing:  the Cross of Lorraine, the Greek Cross (also known as the Crux Immissa Quadrata), a Greek Urn, and a Caduceus. The symbols collectively represented HAP and its members’ core mission to provide relief, heal the sick and injured, and use their knowledge across Pennsylvania.

Fun fact:  C. Robert Youngquist made history as the youngest person ever elected to serve as the association’s president for 1956-57. The 33-year-old also served as the administrator of Sharon General Hospital.

Quotable:  “This past year has demonstrated convincingly the value of a strong state hospital association in Pennsylvania,” a 1957 editorial in The Bulletin said. “Standing shoulder to shoulder, Pennsylvania’s community hospitals in the 12 months past have made notable achievements in the obtaining of vastly increased state aid for care of the indigent and the preservation of Hill-Burton funds for needed construction aid.”