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Wahiawa General Hospital:

Our Historical Beginning

Wahiawa General Hospital (WGH) is a community-owned, nonprofit hospital located in Wahiawa, Hawaii, on the island of Oahu. The story of WGH plays a big part in the history of the Central Oahu Community it serves. Health care dates back to when the ancient Ali'i (royalty) traveled to the Stones of Kukaniloko to give birth. Later, midwives and plantation doctors were the ones who provided the community with most of its medical care. But ironically, it took an act of war, not healing, to finally bring a modern healthcare facility to the area.

WGH actually resulted from the effect of World War II on the entire island of Oahu. With the expectation of wartime casualties, the Hawaii Office of Civil Defense set up an emergency medical facility on the site of Wahiawa Elementary School. It was a humble beginning, but vital to the interests and safety of the Central Oahu Region. 


On October 25, 1944, community leaders founded The Wahiawa Hospital Association (WHA) to develop a permanent organization dedicated to serving the area's growing healthcare needs. The Wahiawa Hospital Association established Wahiawa General Hospital. When the Oahu Sugar Plantation Hospital closed its doors in 1956, the community's need for a new hospital building became apparent. Plans for an expanded Wahiawa General Hospital were finalized and ground was broken on St. Patrick's Day 1957; construction of the building's original wing was underway.

In less than two years, the wood-framed emergency facility became a 72-bed acute care hospital that still held firmly to the grass roots concept of the community. A special blessing came on the first day of existence for the new facility: the birth of twins!

WGH combined the notion of family doctors with up-to-date facilities, services, and equipment. It was a welcome addition to a thriving community.

The next decade saw the onset of the Korean conflict and a baby boom that kept the Obstetrics Department buzzing. Statehood followed at the end of the decade and brought still further growth to the hospital, paralleling that of the Central Oahu Community.

In 1961, a valuable new service was formed: the Pediatric Unit. The number of available beds rose to 79. Six years later, WGH became the first hospital in the state to add a Skilled Nursing Facility for long-term care and rehabilitation on the premises.

The decade of the 70's saw the closing of the Waialua Sugar Company Hospital, making WGH the only source of healthcare services in the immediate area. To meet the challenges and answer the needs, WGH expanded to include an Intensive Care Unit.

WGH now had the facilities for all levels of patient care. The total area being served stretched from Kaena Point to Waimea Bay, and from Waianae to Pearl Harbor. Nearly one-sixth of the island's population was included.

The concept of hospitals themselves was changing during the period. No longer were wards the preferred arrangement for patient care. Private rooms were becoming increasingly popular, and stringent requirements and regulations flooded the healthcare profession.

In September 1975, WGH began a $3.5 million expansion program. This added 23,000 square feet of much needed room, especially in the area of Ancillary Services. 

This ongoing need for expansion and renovation prompted WGH to invest nearly $10 million in the 1980's, giving the hospital a full complement of the latest and best technical facilities in the area.

The first phase added a 40-bed wing for an Intermediate Care Facility. The second phase included a 50-bed Medical-Surgical Wing and a new 5-bed Coronary and Intensive Care Unit.

In October 1989, WGH completed a $2.2 million surgical wing that more than tripled the size of the old unit. The new Surgical Department allowed the Hospital to upgrade its services and perform new surgical procedures. At the same time, the Radiology area was expanded and modernized.

Today, WGH is a nonprofit acute care hospital and continues to serve as the community's most comprehensive healthcare facility. Extensive renovations over the past few years have enhanced many areas of the Hospital including patient rooms, the Oncology Department, and the main entrance.

From the time it first offered families emergency medical care after the attack on Pearl Harbor over 60 years ago, WGH has provided communities in Central Oahu and the North Shore with important healthcare services. WGH is more than most medical facilities serving Central Oahu. It's an essential part of a rapidly growing community, which needs quality health care delivered by professionals who display their commitment to the fullest meaning of the word "care."

The Hospital's growth and sophisticated medical technologies have helped professionals keep pace with medical advancements. At the same time, WGH has maintained strong commitments to personalized care. This balanced combination of high technology and sensitive medical treatment ensures that WGH is "Never Out of Touch."

WGH is expanding its reputation as a teaching hospital. In 1992, it established ties with the University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine (UH-JABSOM) to initiate a new three-year Family Practice Residency Program. This program will bring more family medicine physicians to the community and provide more health professionals for Hawaii's medical needs. The medical school's "problem-based learning" curriculum has earned national recognition as one of the most progressive techniques in the country.

The Wahiawa Hospital Association also directly supports students from community high schools who are pursuing health careers. Through a special annual scholarship program, one senior for each of the area high schools — Leilehua High SchoolMililani High SchoolWaialua, and James Campbell — is awarded a $1,000 scholarship to help offset the costs of college tuition.

An important part of our Hospital family is the Auxiliary and Volunteers. The skills, talent, and dedication of our unpaid workers help make Wahiawa General Hospital a comfortable place to be. While the Auxiliary provides significant funds for the purchase of state-of-the-art medical equipment through its Gift Shop, Thrift Shop, and special projects, our in-service volunteers work in many different capacities through the hospital and long-term care facility.

Wahiawa General Hospital is a continuing saga of growth and dedication. Founded on a need that began during wartime crisis, WGH expanded to meet the growing needs of the Central Oahu/North Shore Communities. As we reflect on more than four decades of continuing service to our ever-expanding community, we look to even greater achievements in the healthcare field.

The future is all about change. New technology continues to redefine our ideas about health and health care. The face of our island is changing. To keep pace with the growing medical needs of our ever-changing community, WGH is embracing progressive plans for the future and expanding the comprehensive care we currently offer.
Hospital is strengthening its role as the healthcare provider of choice for residents of Central Oahu and the North Shore.

Click on the graphic below to learn more about the WGH logo.

Wahiawa General Hospital
Never Out of Touch

Related Information:

 Mission and Vision Statements
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v CEO's Message