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entury of caring

The experience of yesterday & the promise of tomor row.


D 1






“Your work is to discover your work...and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.”


Set in stone, atop what must have seemed like a dream come true, 1908 marked the beginning of organized healthcare for Southeast Arkansas.





Somewhere we are taught to believe that the concepts of dreaming and being steadfast and persistent are mutually exclusive and cannot coexist. Mattie Crawford proved that theory wrong. She proved that both propositions…dreaming and commitment, while sustaining the two in spite of all obstacles…can coexist. She did both, and generations have benefitted from her dream and work. What began as a dream and vision became a mission. And for a century, that vision and mission have lived and been transformed into what we know today as Jefferson Regional Medical Center. Mattie shared her dream and others responded, proving that one person really can make a difference. Mattie’s dream…that became an organization with a vision and mission…has carried on for a century and gives us a promise for tomorrow.



come on



Mattie had a strong sense of self from a very early age, laughing it off when her corset strings showed and wearing her Gibson Girl blouses backward because she couldn’t reach the buttons in the back. She was a real people person and attended every wedding and funeral in town. If she hadn’t received an invitation, she would declare it a simple oversight. And although she had no official nursing education, she was a natural born caregiver. She nursed her mother through a long illness, and cared for both her brother and a young niece when death was near. Not letting backwards buttons or any adversity get in her way, she devoted most of her adult life to a single cause...bringing organized healthcare to her community.


Energetic and enthusiastic about life, Mattie was said to lay out her clothing at night and address them in the morning with a hearty, “Come on clothes. If you’re going with me, you’ll have to hang on.”




Dreams come and go. They are only ideas, and they can fade as quickly as they develop. Mattie’s dream of a local hospital could have easily slipped through her fingers if not for Major W.H. Davis, a planter from the Altheimer area. Davis had significant ties to the community. In addition to managing his large farm he owned and operated a general store at Altheimer. Davis had no children, which allowed a generous gift to the hospital when he died in 1906. His handwritten will gave wings to Mattie’s dream. He bequeathed the hospital organization $5,000 and 90.9 percent of the remainder of his estate, which reportedly brought his gift to near $10,000. This substantial amount spurred others to give and within several years the Davis Hospital building stood complete on the corner of 11th and Cherry.


With little family remaining, W.H. Davis left money in his will to nieces, nephews, the Methodist Orphan Home and the Davis Hospital.


early medical



There were many physicians in the “early years� of Davis Hospital who set the standard of excellence for future generations. Dr. J.T. Palmer focused on childbirth and improving infant mortality. Dr. J.M. Lemons utilized his leadership as the president of the Arkansas Medical Society and helped establish a student loan fund for youth who wanted to enter the medical profession. Dr. Louis Hundley helped organize the Jefferson County Mental Health Association. Dr. O.W. Clark was a surgical pioneer at Davis. And, Dr. William Thomas Lowe was one of the first physicians to utilize X-ray machines to help diagnose and treat patients. Not only early trailblazers in the field of medicine, these gentlemen were leaders in bringing advanced healthcare to the area in the early days of Davis Hospital.


After Davis opened, these young physicians were metaphorically blazing the trails, but before there was a local hospital, they kept busy traveling trails all across Southeast Arkansas making house calls on horseback.




oaring 20’s

The 1920’s brought big changes, including prohibition and a woman’s right to vote. It also represented a new era for Davis Hospital. Open to the public for more than ten years, the facility was new and spacious (for the times), but some residents were still superstitious about entering the hospital, and many of those who were admitted had no money to pay for their care. Davis wasn’t alone in this dilemma; healthcare facilities all across the state were struggling to stay solvent, and many of them turned over their keys to the Arkansas Baptist Convention. Davis followed suit in 1919, although day to day operations were carried out by local leaders, and the board of directors was made up of area businessmen whose families remained prominent in Pine Bluff, including H.C. Fox, Henry Marx, and W.B. Sorrells.


In the early 20th century, there were very few specialists in the Pine Bluff medical community, but one of them was William Breathwit.

Breathwit’s practice was limited to conditions of the eye, ear, nose and throat. In the 1920’s, his office was in the Citizen’s Bank Building.




B y the time Mattie died on July 29, 1923, Davis Hospital was operating on a fairly steady foundation, allowing Mattie to finally see her life’s work completed. She had never wavered in her vision for the future of Southeast Arkansas, and each obstacle simply presented a new challenge to overcome. Through the years, Mattie had been a devoted wife, daughter, church member and friend, but in the end she was probably best remembered as a community leader‌a woman whose ability to dream was matched only by her determination to succeed. On the day that Mattie Crawford passed away, her influence was not only felt but publicly honored. The streetcars in Pine Bluff stopped for 60 seconds and Pine Bluff businesses closed for 30 minutes at the time of her burial.



enduring the



The1920’s were marked by decline. During that particular decade, an average of 600 banks failed every year. In Southeast Arkansas, agriculture...the lifeblood of the community...was continually depressed. And during this time the value of farmland fell 30 to 40 percent. To top it off, there was a devastating flood that ravaged Arkansas in 1927. It covered about 6,600 square miles, with 37 Arkansas counties under water up to thirty feet deep. According to National Geographic that year, streets in one south Arkansas city were dry and dusty at noon, but by 2 p.m. “mules were drowning on Main Street faster than people could unhitch them from wagons.” Through all these difficulties, Davis continued to function, caring for patients daily with the meager resources available. Physicians at Davis treated a number of patients who had been injured as a result of the flood. There were local deaths associated with the disaster. Shipments of medical supplies were also delayed as a result of the flood. It was a tough time, but the hospital endured.


As if the Great Depression weren’t bad enough, Southeast Arkansas faced a great flood, farming challenges, and personal financial difficulties. Yet Davis remained a solid pillar in those troubled times.



e l e b r at e

A s hospitals across the U.S. struggled to raise their profile, Florence Nightingale’s birthday was adopted as National Hospital Day. The public was invited to tour local hospitals and become familiar with the services available in their communities, and in Pine Bluff, interest in Davis Hospital was strong. In 1928, for example, as many as 1,500 people crowded into the Cherry Street facility for a Hospital Day reception hosted by the Davis Hospital Auxiliary. The day’s events included tours by girls dressed as nurses, musical entertainment and the dedication of a portrait of Mattie Crawford, which was donated by one of her nephews. Florence Nightingale’s birthday was an appropriate choice for the celebration, as nurses assumed a major role in the operation of all hospitals, including Davis.


Trying to shed the image of places “to die�, hospitals turned to celebrations. Over the decades, Hospital Week has become a celebration for hospital employees.


winds of



The 1930’s kicked off what has been called the “Golden Age” of medicine. During this time, the medical profession was held in high regard, with modern cures making their clinical appearance. Miracles were happening daily. It was in 1931 that Davis Hospital selected its first long-term administrator, T.J. McGinty. He set a precedent for leaders to follow. Only a handful of men have officially sat at the helm of the organization since that decade, establishing and nurturing a plan for growth that has unfolded over the last 100 years. These leaders have fit seamlessly into a singular create a state-of-the-art medical facility that would serve all the people of Southeast Arkansas. T.J. McGinty, R.C. Warren, Gene Melville, Larry Barton and Robert P. Atkinson…leadership exemplified. The winds of change may have blown through the community, but the course of leadership at our hospital has remained steadfast and true.


The imaginative cinema from the Wizard of Oz immortalized tornadoes and Somewhere Over the Rainbow became a cultural anthen in the 1930’s. New drugs, such as penicillin, made their first clinical appearance, setting the stage for big improvements to come.


d om i n at e d by



World War II was considered the most destructive armed conflict in human history. Consequentially, this event and its brutal aftermath significantly contributed to major world trends to follow. This first modern civilian war directly impacted Pine Bluff, Southeast Arkansas and Davis Hospital. As a result of the construction of the Pine Bluff Arsenal, the government spent an estimated $291,000 to expand Davis Hospital. To receive these federal funds, the hospital property was deeded over to the city for the first time and the way was cleared for the expansion, which provided an additional 120 beds. The hospital now covered two complete city blocks. Following the war, the city began negotiations to purchase the federal government’s remaining interest in the hospital. In 1945 the city purchased it for $65,000.


During the war, 10,000 civilians and 350 military personnel worked at the Arsenal. The hospital’s role as a healthcare provider was to provide a sense of security in the community and appropriate emergency services. Surprisingly, volunteers spread good will by offering patients cigarettes they could smoke in their hospital rooms.





R .C. Warren’s term as administrator began in 1946. He placed Davis Hospital in the middle of expansion and growth, moving the organization toward the regional referral center it would become. Under his leadership, he guided the organization as it moved from difficult financial times to a new level of prosperity. Warren would serve faithfully for 21 years, and is fondly remembered by most. He was described as a diminutive man who was an immaculate dresser. For some, his passion for the job could be overwhelming, especially when he was caught up in day-to-day hospital activities. But there was also no doubt that his leadership was a stable influence over the years.


R.C. Warren had a gift for connecting with people, and he was frequently photographed as he recognized employees, volunteers, and accepted donations from members of local civic groups.


Twist and



The late 1940’s and early 1950’s were a time of dramatic growth in both the field of medicine and Davis Hospital. The iron lung was used locally for the first time following a massive polio epidemic in Arkansas, and just a few short years later, the polio vaccine was introduced. The first flu vaccine had become available in Pine Bluff, and “the shot” was being administered. Adults were focused on the cold war and kids were playing with the newest toys, including hula-hoops and Frisbees, but Davis Administrator R.C. Warren was hard at work obtaining funding for the latest technological advancements. Warren developed strong relationships with local organizations that resulted in generous donations to the hospital and created a positive profile for Davis as a cornerstone of the community.


Harlow Sanders began an eight year run as chairman of the board of directors in the late 50’s. His leadership provided a number of significant changes.

In the 50’s, teenagers enjoyed milk shakes at the Chicken Basket, American Bandstand on TV and helping out at Davis Hospital as candy stripers.





Jefferson County Judge Joe T. Henslee had a vision for Southeast Arkansas and he was diligent in pursuing that vision. He left his mark on the county in many ways, including the hospital that is now known as JRMC. Henslee was responsible for the campaign to build a new facility, asking voters to approve a plan that would use federal (Hill Burton Act) money, along with $1.5 million in matching county funds, to construct a much larger, more modern hospital than Pine Bluff had ever seen. Henslee also supported a somewhat controversial move to 42nd Avenue...a move many citizens thought would bring turmoil into the residential area, but he was persuasive and persistent, and a 30-acre site was selected and purchased from about 30 different owners. Ground was broken on June 23, 1958.


After spending more than five years on the hospital project, it was only fitting that Judge Henslee would cut the ribbon at the dedication of the new facility on September 11, 1960.


hard to


et go

B y the late 1950’s, Davis Hospital had become cramped and in need of repair. As the decision to relocate the hospital was solidified, mounting opposition and public debate ensued. At the time, the new location was controversial for being too far from the heart of the city. But as the years went by, it became easy to see how the change of location was good for the city and allowed room for growth. Although criticized at the time, the move was eventually recognized as having been vital for the continued success of the hospital. At the time of the move, the name was changed to Jefferson Hospital. From the very start it was to be known as a premiere healthcare facility. Shedding the old can be painful, but it’s often a necessary part of progress. The move from the old Davis location to the new Jefferson Hospital building set the stage for miracles to happen.


Jefferson Hospital officially opened for business at 8:00 a.m. on September 18, 1960, signaling the beginning of a long goodbye to Davis Hospital. Davis was then used for long-term care patients and later became a nursing home.





out with the



I t was in 1960 when the hospital moved its primary location to 42nd Avenue. The original footprint of the new construction provided space for 250 patients and contained many innovative spaces. Physicians on staff at Davis had been consulted during the design of the new building. This was proving to be a wise decision. New technology was built in at every turn. Modern patient rooms, expansion for ancillary services and new operative suites were added. Within the structure, there was a central location for sterilization of instruments. Research had confirmed the importance of a sterile environment for medical procedures. A designated location for physician dictation was also included. This would move the local medical community toward a more uniform method of keeping medical records. The new location was more than just a change of address, it provided an opportunity for technological upgrades in every department.


Few board members were as involved with the physical growth of the hospital than three-time Chairman of the Board Wilbur West.


more than a



The new Jefferson Hospital was a showcase in Pine Bluff and home to a rapidly expanding medical community. The modern new building featured a wide variety of emerging technology and a staff that was ready to grow along with the new decade. Medical breakthroughs have an average “shelf-life” of only 18 months due to the speed of innovation and developing technologies. That extrapolates to nearly 70 times over the 100-year life of Davis and JRMC that medical care has been “re-invented.” Among the areas that were seeing exceptional growth in the early 1960’s was radiology, which required much space, necessitating the department to be expanded and relocated several times in Jefferson’s early years. Great strides were also being made in respiratory therapy, where employee James Johnson invented a device that could be attached to intermittent positive pressure machines (the newest version of the iron lung) to make the devices mobile.


Based on charges for two-bed rooms in cities of the same size, hospital rates at the new Jefferson were said to be the lowest in the nation.




imes they were a changing!

The 1960’s brought about significant changes in the medical profession, just as it did in society as a whole. When Alma Remley, LPN, began working at Jefferson Hospital in 1966, the hospital was not fully integrated, and although the African-American nurse could care for patients, she was not allowed to eat in the cafeteria. “I went home many times saying I would not return,” Alma remembers, “but ultimately nothing could keep me from doing my job or from my patients.” It wasn’t long before segregation disappeared, and Alma’s commitment to the nursing profession remained strong. In 2008, she retired from JRMC after 42 years of service. The times...they had changed.

Nursing compensation:

1908 $5 a day

1958 $2 per hour

2008 $50 hourly contract rate


As the times began to change, so did efforts to recognize the contributions and achievments of black employees. Soon many of the barriers came down, and management reflected all races.





G ene Melville was named administrator of Jefferson Hospital in 1967 and he served as an example of dedication and leadership throughout his tenure. He had a “winning way about him” and was “very efficient, warm and friendly.” He was the hospital’s biggest champion, working long hours and running energetically up and down the halls each morning, announcing the daily census. Melville continued the trend of frequent renovation during his tenure with completion of the Intensive Care and Coronary Care units and worked closely with some of the most influential board members in the hospital’s history. He was administrator until his unexpected death on March 23, 1979. As a result of his influence, the Arkansas Hospital Association memorialized him with the annual “C.E. ‘Gene’ Melville Young Administrator Award.”


Melville’s influence is also reflected at the Area Health Education Center in Pine Bluff, where the medical library is now known as the Melville Library.




Healing has always gone hand-in-hand with spirituality, and people like local businessman A.R. Merritt helped further instill a sense of spirituality into the organization. Merritt and his wife Leta were seriously injured in an automobile accident. Merritt rebounded from his injuries but his wife never fully recovered, spending the rest of her life in a skilled nursing facility. Sometime later, Merritt made a trip to the Soviet Union, where the lack of religious freedom made a deep impression on him. On the flight back to the U.S., he developed a vision of giving something to the community as an expression of religious liberty. After much thought, consultation and prayer, he decided to give enough stocks, bonds and money to Jefferson Hospital to build a chapel. Merritt Chapel was dedicated in honor of his wife. The memorial stone reads: “With humility and thanksgiving, we erect this chapel to the glory of God and for the solace of troubled hearts.�


Throughout the years, Merritt Chapel has served thousands of people through dozens of different religious activities, ranging from patient prayer services to weddings.




There has always been a spiritual component to healthcare, and with the addition of Merritt Chapel and the chaplaincy program, Jefferson Hospital embraced its spiritual mission on several different levels. Chaplains began providing a vital service to patients and their families 20 years ago, when First Presbyterian Church of Pine Bluff gave the hospital a $30,000 grant to start a chaplaincy program. In 1994, JRMC utilized this new department to provide educational opportunities for hospital chaplains. The result was JRMC’s Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program. It attracts a wide variety of theological students, ordained clergy, members of religious orders and qualified laypeople who learn how to minister to others in crisis situations.


For more than 10 years, JRMC’s Clinical Pastoral Care program was the only accredited program in the State of Arkansas for pastoral care and chaplaincy training.




ountless Hours

Volunteerism has been a vital component of this organization since day one. In the early years, it was volunteers who visualized and created a designated spot for local healthcare. As Davis Hospital opened its doors, it was volunteers who were called upon to provide day-to-day care as the hospital fell on hard times. Many of these same volunteers would provide the staying power that would contribute to the long-term success of the hospital. In the early 1960’s, a new era of volunteerism was launched. It was called “the community within the hospital”…The Cherry Reds (sometimes referred to as Cheery Reds because of their cheery demeanor) and the Gray Ladies, who were Red Cross volunteers. These volunteers proved to be a vital component in the operation of the facility. Many of these volunteers paid dues and participated in fund raisers, but their greatest gift was the gift of their time.


The first group of “Cherry Red� volunteers for the new Jefferson Hospital were capped by Director of Nurses Lillian Owen on November 14, 1960. The Jefferson Hospital Auxiliary had 172 members at the time.




tand out

The sheer number of volunteers who have supported JRMC through the years is staggering. Every tiny contribution has been valuable to the organization. Yet, as with everything, there are those who stand out among the crowd...people like Jewel Bain. Her dedication and hard work made a sparkling 1,600 square-foot, glass enclosed waiting area a reality back in 1985 with funds from the Auxiliary. The facility was named in her honor for the years she spent comforting friends and family of those in surgery. Hers was a familiar face and friendly voice for many who spent countless anxious hours in the waiting room. Bain is also credited with creating the Thrift Shop at Davis. Another volunteer to stand out and be recognized was Francis Reynolds, who in 1995 was named “Arkansas State Auxilian of the Year.� She was chosen from thousands of volunteers across the state, marking the first time a volunteer from JRMC was awarded the honor. She remains as the only volunteer from JRMC who has received this honor.


Estimates indicate that between 1960 and the year 2000, adult volunteers at JRMC gave at least 480,000 hours of volunteer service to the hospital.





A s Pine Bluff grew, local physicians began to feel the squeeze from too many patients and not enough doctors. It was a problem that prompted much discussion, and physicians heard similar complaints from their counterparts in rural areas of the state. Word made its way to the state capitol, and in the early 1970’s, the General Assembly approved a groundbreaking new concept for training family doctors known as the Area Health Education Center (AHEC). Described as “a medical center without walls,” the unique program would provide physician education and employment opportunities in smaller, underserved areas of the state. Dr. Donald Miller of Pine Bluff was asked to run the very first AHEC program, and it opened on the campus of Jefferson Hospital in September of 1973, the first of seven to open statewide.


In 1973, only about 40% of healthcare professionals training at UAMS were staying in Arkansas. In 2005, 73% of the AHEC Family Practice Residents who graduated statewide remained in Arkansas to practice, with 15% working in towns with a population of 15,000 or less.




n de r e s t i m at e

B y the time the AHEC project came along, Pine Bluff physician Donald Miller had already made a name for himself as an internist and tuberculosis researcher. However, launching AHEC and the development of regional learning centers may have been his most challenging quest and his greatest accomplishment. He guided the implementation of the Senior Elective program in 1974, followed by full three-year family practice residencies in July of 1977. He then introduced nursing education and pharmacy preceptorships, and opened the Melville Medical Library. Thousands of healthcare professionals went on to receive their training and make their homes in Pine Bluff and communities to the south. In 1979, a new AHEC facility opened at 4010 Mulberry, and when a $1 million expansion was completed in 2005, the newly expanded building was named in memory of Dr. Miller, who died in 2004.


Miller is credited with developing SEAMIC, which coordinates continuing education programs at ten Southeast Arkansas hospitals.



e n e r at io n s

A s physicians chose to establish their practices in Pine Bluff, they also established families, and many of those doctors have left both personal and professional legacies as a result. JRMC obstetrician/gynecologists Ruston Pierce and Reid Pierce have both followed in the footsteps of their father, the late J.R. Pierce, M.D. Ophthalmologist Robert Nixon welcomed his son, David, into his practice, and in 2008, David’s son-in-law, Timothy McClure, graduated from Pine Bluff ’s AHEC family practice residency program and began working in JRMC’s Emergency Department. And orthopaedic surgeon Torrance Walker and his wife, obstetrician/gynecologist Christy Walker, both grew up in medical families. Torrance’s father, David, is a local dentist, and Christy has two aunts who worked as nurses at JRMC. These outstanding physicians have set an example for excellence that will impact both patients and other healthcare professionals…generation after generation.


Physicians are members of an even larger family, a family of nurses, technologists, clinicians and support staff...that for generations have made the hospital an extension of their family and home.


setting the



Nursing has been referred to as a “caring” profession. Nurses spend long hours at the bedside caring for patients. It’s not unusual for a bond to develop between patient and nurse. It happened in 1920 when Nurse Coral Mae Page tended to a 2-year-old orphan who was suffering from malaria. She cared for the girl during her lengthy hospital stay. As the child’s strength returned, Coral realized she couldn’t bear to part with the girl. Against the odds, she adopted her, and raised her into adulthood. Coral gave the best of herself to the orphan girl. And in return, the love she gave was multiplied again as the orphan dedicated her life to nursing. It’s this type of dedication that allows nurses to provide the best patient care possible. Coral set the tone of what has remained the goal of nursing at JRMC for more than 100 years…the best care possible.


“We got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it on the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.” - John Lennon





During the late 1970’s, it was becoming more and more difficult to recruit nurses to fill open positions at the hospital. One thing was clear, maintaining quality healthcare would require some method of training our own nurses. A number of people were instrumental in the initial concept of a JRMC School of Nursing. Jessie Clemmons was one of these people. Having worked at JRMC as a nurse for a number of years, she found her true calling in 1981 when she transferred to the school as an instructor. She would later serve as director of the school, and right up until the time of her retirement, Jessie influenced the future of nursing at the hospital and throughout Southeast Arkansas. The School of Nursing has produced hundreds of nurses, and many have stayed in this community to work at JRMC. With the efforts of many dedicated instructors, the school is making an investment in the people of Southeast Arkansas.


As long as there has been a hospital in Pine Bluff, there has been a school for nurses. Since the opening of the JRMC School of Nursing in 1981, a total of 805 students have been pinned and received their Registered Nurse degree from the school.


forging the



C ertain people are drawn to the art of healing and in particular, becoming physicians. These have traditionally been men, but over the last few decades that has changed. Women are now practicing in virtually every field of medicine‌right here in Southeast Arkansas. They have more than carved out their own niche in the field. While the overall percentage of female physicians still remains relatively low, the precedent has definitely been set. There have been plenty of pioneers willing to enter a traditionally male profession. Lloyene Bruce-Reid, M.D., was one such pioneer who dedicated her life to healing in an era when it was not the popular thing. She began her pediatric practice in Pine Bluff in 1974. For over three decades she has practiced medicine, touching thousands of lives and inspiring countless others with her groundbreaking career. She served as JRMC chief of staff in 1996 -1997, the first woman to hold the position. A little over 34 years after Dr. Bruce-Reid began her practice, 25 women are serving on the medical staff at JRMC. And that number can only increase with each passing year.


Not only are female physicians enjoying the same success as male doctors, many are involved in the teaching and training of tomorrow’s physicians.


A new



Nursing has gone through a dramatic transformation during the past century. In the early years at Davis, nurses were not only caregivers, they served in many various roles. They cleaned rooms, changed bed linens, washed clothes, even cooked and served food. At mid-century, the image of the white-starched nurse evolved and became ingrained in our collective conscience. However, as the decades passed, that image changed radically, and not just in terms of uniforms. Society began to change its preconceived notions about the age, race and gender of modern nurses. The profession has become highly specialized. In 2008, nurses regularly adjust and maintain highly advanced medical devices and equipment. They work hand-in-glove, actively participating in specialized treatments and procedures. As the field continues to branch into even more specific areas, the nursing profession will continue to evolve.


Nursing was once considered a woman’s profession, but more than five percent of all nurses are now men, and the numbers are growing rapidly.


E very person leaves a legacy when they pass from this world. For most of us, only

Mattie Hudson was born at Locust Cottage in Southwest Jefferson County in 1852. She

family and friends remember the impact of our contributions. But occasionally, someone

was a spirited young woman who inherited a compassionate personality from her father,

comes along with a dream so big and a determination so strong that the project takes on

James Hudson, who was known throughout the community as a genuine humanitarian.

a life of its own and explodes beyond the confines of one person’s control. Mattie Crawford

Mattie also possessed a natural instinct for nursing the sick. She cared for several

was one of those people. What began as a personal goal to build a hospital in her hometown

seriously ill members of her own family, both before and after her marriage to attorney

evolved into the development of a healthcare system that has served hundreds of thousands

John Crawford in 1882. So it was not surprising that she vigorously took up the cause of

of people for more than 100 years.

building a local hospital.

A generous, headstrong woman, Mattie was a wife and homemaker when, in May of 1893,

Fund raising became a constant in Mattie’s life, from tag sales to beauty pageants, and

a group of women in Jefferson County, Arkansas, raised enough money to stage an impressive

she was not shy about lobbying for the cause. She found a friend in Major W. H. Davis,

exhibit about their community at the Chicago World’s Fair. Invigorated by the experience,

who owned a farm and general store in Altheimer. Major Davis made a number of early

they decided to use the small amount of leftover funds to build a hospital in Pine Bluff. They

contributions and then left approximately $10,000 to the project when he died in 1906. As

organized as the Women’s Hospital and Benevolent Association, and began the daunting task

a result, it was decided that the hospital should be named in his honor. After many years

of raising money and support for the very first community hospital in Southeast Arkansas.

of soliciting and saving, construction finally got under way at 11th and Cherry Streets. By

Although she was just another member of the group following the World’s Fair, Mattie

1908, the dream was finally a tangible thing...the date was cast in stone above the doorway

Crawford’s name would become synonymous with the hospital project for the next 30 years.

of the new Davis Hospital. While Davis didn’t open for business until July 14, 1910, the date


on the building is considered the birth of the organization which has continued to grow

and reinvent itself for 100 years.

Baptist Convention. Through the flood of 1927 which devastated many businesses, and the

There was great celebration when the 50-bed hospital opened, but the struggle was

Depression, which resulted in the closing of two Pine Bluff banks, Davis managed to stay

far from over. Keeping the doors open was a constant challenge, and Davis actually shut

afloat. One bright spot for the hospital was the development of the medical community. A

down for a few days on several different occasions. Mattie Crawford continued to support

number of excellent physicians began to practice in Pine Bluff, doctors such as O.W. Clark,

the hospital, providing hundreds of hours of free help to the staff. When the community

William T. Lowe, J.M. Lemons, William Breathwit and J.T. Palmer. They were instrumental

suffered an influenza outbreak, both Mattie and John Crawford moved into the hospital to

in the growth of the hospital, and many held statewide leadership positions with the

help until the crisis had passed. By 1919, there was no denying the economic realities, and

Arkansas Medical Society.

the Arkansas Baptist Convention took over operations of Davis, as it had with several other

Arkansas hospitals. However, local people remained directly involved with daily activities

education. Many people still believed hospitals were only for the dying, so National

at Davis, including employees and board members.

Hospital Day was created to increase interest in local hospitals. Davis’ 1928 invitation

By the time Mattie Crawford died in 1923, she had seen her dream become a reality.

to the public resulted in as many as 1,500 people turning out on May 12 for a first-

Her great contributions were reflected throughout the community, as streetcars stopped

hand look at the facility. As president of the Davis Auxiliary, Mrs. H.C. Fox and her

running for 60 seconds when her death was announced, and Pine Bluff businesses closed

Auxiliary members decorated the hospital lavishly and arranged for refreshments and

for 30 minutes at the time of her burial.

entertainment. Ten little girls dressed as nurses escorted guests on tours through the


Even though Mattie was gone, Davis was able to weather hard times, thanks to the

One of the biggest obstacles facing all hospitals in the 1920’s was lack of public

hospital and an oil painting of Mattie Crawford was presented to the hospital by

c o mmu n i t y. In t h e l a t e 1 9 5 0 ’s J e f f e rso n C o u n t y J u d g e J o e H e n sl e e l a u n c h e d a

her family.

campaign to build a larger facility on a new site. Not everyone agreed with the choice

The 1930’s ushered in a new era of leadership at Davis. The first few decades had

of a 30-acre spot on 42nd Avenue and not everyone wanted to pay higher taxes to cover

seen numerous administrators come and go, but things changed in 1931 with the

a bond issue, but after many public meetings and much campaigning, the plan was

arrival of T.J. McGinty. The first male administrator at the hospital, McGinty set a new

approved and work began in 1959. A dedication ceremony and open house was held on

standard of stability by remaining in charge until 1942. He witnessed many changes

July 15, 1960 and more than 5,000 people came through the doors. With 256 beds, the

during his time at Davis, including the start of World War II and plans to build the

latest medical equipment and plenty of room to grow, the new hospital also unveiled

Pine Bluff Arsenal, which was established November 2, 1941. With the arsenal project

a new name...Jefferson Hospital...and a new form of governance, Jefferson Hospital

under way, it was clear that the community needed a larger hospital. The property

Association. Davis Hospital remained open as a long-term care nursing facility.

was deeded back to the city so federal funds would be available for expansion, and

$291,000 was spent to add a second building and 120 beds.

bounds, and Jefferson Hospital was growing right along with it. Nurses began to take

In 1946, one of the hospital’s most visible and accessible administrators joined the

on much greater technical responsibility. Physicians branched out into even more

staff. R.C. Warren spent 21 years raising the profile of the hospital and cementing its

specialized areas. Several new wings were opened at the hospital. And a new Auxiliary

place as a cornerstone of the community. However, despite Warren’s enthusiasm and

was formed, with more than 100 women gathering at the Pines Hotel on July 11, 1960,

the structural additions, Davis Hospital still couldn’t keep up with the growth of the

to develop a new organization for providing volunteer assistance at the new facility.


A unique era was under way in medicine. Technology was advancing in leaps and

It was also in the 1960’s that local businessman and hospital board member A.R.

hospital can also be attributed to the commitment and skill of our board of

Merritt donated funds to build a chapel at Jefferson, which was named in his wife’s

directors. Dozens of men and women from the community have served over the years,

honor and is still utilized.

donating their time to ensure that South Arkansas has access to the best healthcare

In 1967, Gene Melville took over as administrator of Jefferson. He was efficient,

services possible. A perfect example of the board’s dedication is Wilbur West, a local

friendly and a tireless champion of the hospital. The JRMC medical staff was also

businessman, inventor and farmer who led the efforts to build the new hospital on

undergoing exciting growth in the 1960’s. A number of talented young physicians

42nd Avenue. Not only did he serve on the board for many, many years, he served

had moved to Pine Bluff following the war, and those doctors were quickly making

three terms as chairman and was involved in virtually every area of the hospital’s

a name for themselves in both family practice and specialty fields. Physicians such

continuing development. Wilbur was only one person, but he is representative of the

as V. Bryan Perry, Robert Nixon and Tom Ed Townsend became household names and

continuous level of excellence JRMC has enjoyed in the membership of its board.

continued to practice for more than 50 years. Another significant development was the

establishment of the Doctor’s Clinic, the first multi-specialty practice in Pine Bluff.

is also attributable to, and greatly influenced by, its nurses. They represent thousands

It launched a new way of providing medical services, as well as the careers of many

of people, initially only women, who spent millions of hours caring for patients. Nurses

influential physicians, including Walter Wilkins, Sanford Monroe, George Talbot,

such as Lillian Owen worked at both hospital facilities for a total of 31 years. She was

George Roberson, John Crenshaw and Bobby Jenkins.

director of nursing for many of those years, and after her retirement, continued to

volunteer at the hospital and serve on numerous statewide healthcare boards. Another

Along with the influence of physicians and administrators, the success of our


It goes without saying that the hospital’s growth, sustainability and longevity

nurse who greatly impacted the hospital was Jessie Clemmons. In her 35 years of service,

graduated on Friday, December 16, 1983, with then-Governor Bill Clinton speaking.

she worked first as a hospital nurse, and then as director of the School of Nursing, where

It was in the early 1980’s that Larry Barton began his time as administrator of the

she helped hundreds of young nurses begin their careers.

hospital, and it was his guidance that helped in the development and successful

execution of these projects.

The 1970’s brought additional technological advancements including coronary

and intensive care units, an investment of $1.2 million. The radiology department also

underwent an expansion, and the Area Health Education Center (AHEC) opened on

walls. A number of clinics opened, including HealthCare Plus, the Watson Chapel

September 17, 1973. It was the first AHEC facility in the state, and it included a Family

Clinic and Pine Bluff Imaging. The hospital also began managing clinics in other

Practice Residency program and a medical library named after Administrator Gene

communities, although growth at the main facility was not neglected. Inpatient

Melville. Melville served Jefferson Hospital proudly until his death in 1979, and his

Rehab and Transitional Care Units opened during this time, and plans were

dedication was further memorialized when the Arkansas Hospital Association named the

formulated for moving the hospital into the 21st century. Recognizing the role

C.E. Melville Young Administrator Award in his honor.

Jefferson Hospital now played as a regional referral center, the name was changed

to Jefferson Regional Medical Center – JRMC.

In the 1980’s, work was completed on a $22 million, 200,000 square foot hospital

By the 1990’s, Jefferson Hospital began extending its reach outside the hospital

expansion that included more acute-care space and the original Jefferson Professional

Center, a five-story medical office building which connected to the hospital by a skywalk.

in 1992, during a time when the hospital was facing some of its deepest economic

In 1981, the Jefferson School of Nursing opened, and its first class of Registered Nurses

challenges of the last century. Within one year, Atkinson had completely turned the


Along with a new name came a new CEO. Robert P. “Bob” Atkinson came to JRMC

tables and the hospital was operating in the black, a status that continues in 2008.

and administrators through close relationships with all three. If Mattie Crawford

The year 2000 dawned brightly on a medical facility that knew no boundaries.

were alive today, one can only imagine her reaction to the incredible progress that

New construction included a new front entrance to the hospital on 40th Avenue, a

has sprung from her hard-fought dream of a community hospital. Technology today

four and a half story parking deck, a new front lobby and a central waiting room.

is more than Mattie could ever have imagined, and the tools that allow us to serve

The I-530 Medical Mall was purchased, and Jefferson Professional Center II was

280,000 residents of 11 Arkansas counties would be beyond her comprehension.

built, providing three more floors and 40,000 square feet of medical office space

However, if Mattie could walk the halls of JRMC and talk with the doctors, nurses,

across the street from JRMC. The South Central Center on Aging opened in October

housekeepers, lab technicians and admission clerks that keep our hospital going 24

of 2003, and more than 80 acres of land was purchased in White Hall in 2005, where

hours a day, she would see her dream reflected in every face. She would hear it in

a second Wellness / Professional Center will open in the Spring of 2009.

every voice, and feel it in every touch. The next 100 years hold greater possibilities

In 2008, growth and change continue and stability and wisdom continue to make

than even we can imagine, but we know those possibilities will be realized if we

it possible. President & CEO Bob Atkinson works closely with Administrator Walter

continue caring for our patients the way Mattie cared for hers. It is a legacy we are

Johnson and Board Chairman Jerrel Boast to sculpt the plan for the next century.

proud to carry on. A Century of Caring. The Experience of Yesterday and the Promise

Vice President of Patient Care Services Louise Hickman guides the development

of Tomorrow.

of not only nursing services but new opportunities at the School of Nursing. And C h i e f of St af f Dr. Om ar At i q i nt egrate s th e be st in te re sts of patie n ts, ph y sic ian s







The birth of the Davis Hospital coincided with the beginning of the modern age of medicine. Innovative technology was poised to forever change medicine. Radiology was to be the instigating force. From that first X-ray forward, the practice of medicine was to be greatly influenced and impacted by its tools. In the old days, the tools of medicine would fit in a doctor’s black bag. Slowly they evolved into giant machines that filled the hospital. Many of these, such as computerized tomography scanners, required specifically constructed spaces to house them. A far cry from the black bag! Countless other innovations, including the electrocardiograph, magnetic resonance imaging, digital subtraction angiography, linear electron accelerator, 64-slice CT, and digital mammography were embraced and utilized for the benefit of the patient. Every field of medicine has been touched by the influx of modernity. Poised at the crest of this wave of technology, JRMC has looked to the future and pursued the quest to bring the best medical tools to Southeast Arkansas.


There have been many technological firsts at JRMC over the last 100 years, including the first 64-slice CT scanner, the groundbreaking Anterior Approach surgery for hip replacement, and the first cardiovascular surgery program in Southeast Arkansas.





A ny fine craftsman knows technique is just as important as tools. The craft of medicine combines the skills of the head, heart and hands. This past century these crafts have undergone a dramatic transformation. One example of such innovation was the birth of the clinical laboratory, which occurred during the Davis Hospital years. Physicians could now take specimens from patients and examine them for disease. Medical labs were cranking out groundbreaking vaccines and treatments on a regular basis. Another example is the evolution of surgical techniques and therapies and their critical role in medicine. From laparoscopic and minimally invasive surgical techniques to therapeutic intervention, such as cardiac stenting, the craft of medicine has advanced dramatically over the past 100 years.


It takes many sets of hands to run a hospital ‌.hands to type admission orders, hands to administer medication, hands to hold in a moment of concern. In 2008, more than 1800 sets of JRMC hands provided healthcare services in Southeast Arkansas.




The 1960’s through 1980’s brought a new generation of healthcare providers to Southeast Arkansas, men and women who would drive the medical community to a new level of excellence. In the 1960’s, the Doctor’s Clinic introduced the idea of multi-specialty practices to Pine Bluff, a place where bright young physicians came to work with a new set of skills and a new vision of what medicine could provide. While there were many shining stars from this era, a few names that come to mind are Doctors Bud Irwin, George Roberson, Hayes Hoover, Teryl Brooks, Clyde Tracy, John Crenshaw and Bill Nuckolls. Soon, other general practitioners and internists began going back to school for specialty training and then bringing their skills home...people like Dr. Bobby Jenkins, an internist who studied cardiology in Little Rock and then became the first cardiologist to practice in Pine Bluff. Jefferson Hospital was entering a new and exciting time of growth, both technologically and in terms of the medical staff.


Strong physician skills and leadership have historically been landmarks for Davis and Jefferson hospitals.




Thanks to across-the-board advancement in both the tools and craft of modern medicine and the specialty training of our medical staff, the average lifespan in Southeast Arkansas has increased nearly 30 years. It’s a direct result of the continued investment in medical technology and training. Unprecedented growth and expansion continued at JRMC throughout the last half of the century. In the 1970’s, Coronary and Intensive Care Units were constructed and began operating. In the 1980’s, a $22 million expansion was completed including a new patient tower. In the 1990’s, a separate Inpatient Rehab Unit and skilled nursing Transitional Care Unit were opened. All of this growth is one more example of our commitment to a better tomorrow.


Many of the results that have been gathered at the hospital during the last century have been literal rather than figurative. For example, more than 150 million lab results have been recorded since Davis Hospital opened.


agents of




xcellence in governing

Wilbur West

George H. Dunklin

Phyllis Thomas

Archie Sanders

George Makris

A local industrialist, business owner, farmer and WWII hero, Wilbur West served more than 36 years on the hospital board of directors, the longest tenure in the hospital’s history. His drive and influence inspired much change at JRMC and guided us through our years of most significant growth.

As an astute businessman, George Dunklin shared his professional experience & personal dedication during two terms as chairman of the board, once in the 1980’s and again in the 1990’s. He was innovative in his own business practices, and brought the same forward thinking attitude to the hospital.

Phyllis Thomas made her mark at JRMC, not only as a dedicated hospital supporter, but as the first woman to serve as chairman of the board of directors. Never one to avoid a challenge, she proudly carried on the vision and leadership qualities of hospital founder Mattie Crawford.

The first African-American to serve as chairman of the JRMC Board of Directors, Sanders brought a strong background of community involvement to JRMC. A man of the people, he supported Pine Bluff and Jefferson County not only as a businessman, but a volunteer on a personal level.

George Makris served on the board of directors from 1991 to 2006, including a term as chairman from 2002-2004. He brought a new, younger set of business skills to the board which resulted in unprecedented growth and financial stability, including an impressive “A” rating for multiple bond issues.


T.J. McGinty McGinty assumed command at Davis Hospital as the leadership of the Women’s Benevolent Association ended. His term began and ended during a period of time when the hospital was operated by a state-wide church organization which would set the stage for future expansion.


ed by a few

R.C. Warren

Gene Melville

Larry Barton

Robert P. Atkinson

Warren served as the administrator for 21 years. His term, which began in 1946, placed the hospital in the middle of expansion and growth. He was one of the most influential men in the history of the organization and guided the hospital’s move from Cherry Street to 42nd Avenue.

Melville became Jefferson Hospital administrator in 1967. Those who worked closely with him describe him as efficient, warm, friendly and “always on the job,” with a great sense of humor. Each morning he energetically ran up and down the halls announcing the daily patient census.

Barton worked to meet the needs of the growing Pine Bluff community and is credited with construction of Jefferson Professional Center, which to some at the time was considered a risky venture. Today, JPC has proved Barton to have been visionary. He served successfully for 12 years.

Atkinson joined JRMC as President & CEO in 1992, and long-term economic health has been the keystone of his tenure. In 2008, Atkinson received the A. Allen Weintraub Memorial Award, one of the highest honors bestowed upon an administrator by the Arkansas Hospital Association.


some of the

Dr. William Lowe

Dr. E.C. McMullen

Dr. J.M. Lemons

Dr. Lowe is credited with bringing X-ray technology to Pine Bluff. One of the first known physicians at Davis, Lowe was already a practicing doctor when he returned to school in 1910 to study radiology. Many of the students at that time were exposed to radiation when testing equipment.

Although he never had children of his own, Dr. McMullen had dedicated his life to caring for children before Davis ever opened. In fact, when physicians began receiving board certification in the field of pediatrics, he was grandfathered in because of his many years of experience in the area.

While making his mark as a practicing physician, Dr. Lemons is also remembered as a leader in the development of a structured medical community. A former president of the Arkansas Medical Society, Lemons was also a champion of the state’s Student Loan Fund, which provided financial assistance to medical students.




Dr. Tom Ed Townsend

Dr. Sanford Monroe

Dr. Townsend joined the medical staff in 1953 and was a founding member of the Children’s Clinic. A champion of nursing and involved in the design of the new hospital, Townsend later served on the hospital’s board of directors. More than 50 years later, he was still seeing patients.

A founding member of the Doctor’s Clinic in the 1960’s, Monroe joined with fellow internist Dr. George Talbot to open the first multispecialty clinic in Pine Bluff. A number of other notable Pine Bluff physicians soon joined the practice, including young surgeons, internists and a urologist.


pecializing the


Dr. Walter Wilkins

Dr. Banks Blackwell

Dr. P.B. Simpson, Jr.

Dr. John R. Busby

Dr. James Campbell

Wilkins was the first board certified surgeon in Pine Bluff, and he left a significant legacy of medical excellence behind. He was a leader in the Southeast Arkansas medical community as well as in the hospital, serving also as chief of staff and medical director at Jefferson Hospital.

The first board certified orthopaedic surgeon in Pine Bluff, Banks Blackwell was always focused on the next generation of healthcare professionals. He gave thousands of dollars in scholarship money for nursing students, as well as helping cover expenses for dozens of medical students.

Dr. Simpson, the hospital’s first neurosurgeon, changed the course of Jefferson’s future, raising the hospital’s profile and providing a new level of medical care to the community. Simpson’s patients came from all across Southeast Arkansas and Northern Louisiana for treatment.

There was much excitement when Dr. John “Bo” Busby joined the JRMC Medical Staff. He was the hospital’s first cardiovascular surgeon and his arrival signaled the beginning of an expanded heart program at fact, the only cardiovascular surgical program in Southeast Arkansas.

Nephrologist James Campbell developed JRMC’s dialysis program into a state-of-theart department, upgrading equipment and protocols to bring the hospital more in line with programs around the United States. He has been a diligent and effective liaison between patients and the medical community.


decades of

Lillian Owen

Theresa Caldwell

Owen was director of nursing at both Davis and Jefferson. She joined the staff at Davis in the mid-1940’s and retired in 1977, continuing to volunteer at Jefferson and work with statewide healthcare organizations. Respected by the physicians, Owen also served as a mentor to several generations of nurses.

Caldwell spent more than 35 years at Davis and Jefferson hospitals, serving in the Med/ Surg unit and as a nursing supervisor. Her granddaughter remembers playing under the ironing board as Caldwell starched and ironed her uniforms. In 2008, that granddaughter is a member of nursing management at JRMC.



Jodel Standley

Renee Dempsey

Mary Wynne

Standley joined the staff at Davis Hospital in the 1940’s and ran the labor and delivery department for more than 40 years, including the transition between Davis and Jefferson. She is consistently remembered by physicians of the time as one of the best, setting a new standard of nursing care.

During the 1980’s and 1990’s, Renee Dempsey stood out as one of the best nurses at Jefferson Hospital. She was in charge of surgical nursing, and was instrumental in the development of our openheart program, preparing the OR nurses and adding the necessary resources to provide effective post-op care.

As manager of JRMC’s recovery unit, Wynne exhibited the ultimate characteristics of leadership and compassion. During her tenure at the hospital, she implemented numerous changes including new anesthesia protocols, ventilator technology and changing the recovery process to a same-day schedule.


James Johnson


Johnson was one of JRMC’s first inhalation therapists who devised a coupling so his inhalation machine could be attached to small oxygen tanks. This made the machine mobile so it could be transported to patients throughout the hospital and in ambulances to and from the facility.

mploying the best

Joyce Linzy

Jim Neff

Jerry Park

Mike Newton

As director of Jefferson Hospital’s radiology department, Linzy was one of the first women to supervise a department outside of nursing. For more than 40 years, Linzy continuously brought new technology to Southeast Arkansas, including the first CT scanner and the first MRI machine.

Assistant to the CEO from 1986 to 1997, Neff made a significant contribution to the areas he represented including quality, medical staff, home health, hospice and Davis Life Care. He often worked until the wee hours of the morning only to return early the next day, ready to resume his duties.

Park was a pharmacist at JRMC, and although his demeanor was quiet and unassuming, many employees found him unforgettable. Always patient and willing to answer questions, Park was not only an excellent pharmacist but an unwavering example of true customer service.

Working in the lab for more than 40 years, Mike Newton became an expert in every aspect of his chosen field. He spent many of those years as director of the department, dedicated to his area of healthcare service and equally committed to his employees and the success of the hospital.


Susie Martin Martin was one of the first volunteers at Davis Hospital and originally worked with Mattie Crawford to help organize the Davis Hospital Volunteers. In 1960 when the hospital moved to 42nd Avenue, Martin was still volunteering and was on hand when the Hospital Auxiliary was organized.



Jewel Bain

Francis Reynolds

Gerald Andrews

Pat Crain

Described as the volunteer of volunteers, Bain could always create the buzz needed to generate funds. She led others by the hard work she demanded of herself and is credited with varied projects, such as a new surgical waiting room and a long-time thrift shop that operated at Davis.

Stylish and gracious, Reynolds devoted herself to the JRMC Auxiliary in the 1990’s. She held several positions on the board including president, and even enlisted her husband to decorate the community Christmas tree outside the Merritt Chapel. Reynolds was Arkansas’ State Auxilian of the Year in 1995.

After he retired, Gerald Andrews continued working to improve the lives of his friends and family. He helped develop a prostate disorders support group at JRMC, diligently promoted prostate health awareness for the hospital at area events, and volunteered with JRMC’s sickle cell support group.

A past-president of the JRMC Auxiliary, Pat Crain has been very generous with the time she gives our hospital, working at the Information Desk, and participating in dozens of Auxiliary events each year. In the true spirit of a volunteer, she’s up for any challenge and always has a positve attitude.



Frances Crabtree

Havis Hester

Jay Bradford

In the earliest days of Davis Hospital, women ran the operation, and Frances Crabtree is listed as the very first superintendent. Whether it was a paid position or a volunteer effort, we can’t really say for sure, but we do know that Crabtree was instrumental in the development of Davis’ history.

Long-time employees have many fond memories of Havis Hester during the years he worked at Jefferson as a tech in the emergency room. However, Hester made his greatest impact on the hospital and the Southeast Arkansas community during his lengthy career as Coroner of Jefferson County.

This hard-working state senator was an outspoken champion of healthcare issues, especially in his hometown of Pine Bluff. Bradford received much recognition for his work, including a national American Medical Association award for his dedication to healthcare reform.




Larnell Davis

Ryland Robinson

Caring for the underserved has always been a part of JRMC’s mission, and Larnell Davis has helped us expand our reach to some of the neediest residents of our community. As an administrator at Jefferson Comprehensive Care, he ensures his patients have access to the best hospital services.

A local businessman with a long history of valuable community service, Robinson also has a lengthly history with the hospital. He served on the Jefferson Hospital Association Board of Govenors through the 1990’s and is currently presiding as chairman of the Association Board.







More than 100 years ago, Mattie Crawford had a vision for a central place for healthcare in Pine Bluff. She wanted everyone to have access to the best care available. With her passion for this vision, she “willed” into existence the Davis Hospital. Regardless of all the changes that have taken place, the vision remains the same...Jefferson Regional Medical Center will be widely recognized as the healthcare leader and referral center of choice for South Arkansas by providing quality healthcare services in a cost-effective manner. Mattie’s vision has been carried out across South Arkansas creating an ever-increasing system of healthcare. From her singular vision of Davis to the modern multi-tiered healthcare system, JRMC continues to pursue her vision. And the citizens and communities across South Arkansas are better because of it.






Jefferson Regional Medical Center is committed to providing measurable quality health services in a caring environment which fulfill the needs of our patients, physicians, employers, employees and community. We don’t know if Davis Hospital had a formal mission statement, but we do know the people who worked so tirelessly to build, open and operate the community’s first hospital held the very same convictions we live by today. Over the years, physicians and staff members have made sure the care provided was the best available at the time, regardless of any hardships the organization may have faced. No one has been turned away for lack of money, and great effort has been made to extend services throughout the community. It was a growth process then, just as it is today, and although the avenues are varied, the destination remains the same.


For over a century, it is a mission that has affected hundreds of thousands of people and has been carried out by hundreds of thousands more.

Ironically, it was just one woman, Mattie Crawford, who was willing to do whatever it took to make her dream a mission and then a reality.





When speaking about a legacy, one often gives reference to a specific family. Yet there are organizations that have had such a rich heritage, their legacy reaches out across centuries. JRMC is one of these organizations, like one big family, that has altered the course of healthcare in this community. This legacy has been transferred from one hand to the next, one person at a time‌from physician to physician, nurse to nurse, administrator to administrator. It happens each shift change as clinicians report and share information with one another. It happens from small groups to large groups as staff and management interact. Not only patient to patient, staff to staff, group to group, it grows hour by hour, day by day, and decade by decade. It’s a living and growing legacy of care. We guard it safely and preserve it as we hand it off into the future. It is this legacy that inspires the promise of tomorrow.


The legacy continues to grow as we share our skills and compassion with others. It extends out into the community year after person at a time. And after 100 years of living, it’s only getting stronger.




From the earliest days of Davis Hospital to the desperate times of the Great Depression and throughout both World Wars, generosity has been our cornerstone. We’ve always provided healthcare for those who could not care for themselves, whether that meant physically or financially. In 1927, the hospital spent $1,500 on care for patients who were never able to pay for those services. In today’s dollars and terms that number would correlate to $10 million in hospital charges. And as we have reached the highest number of uninsured ever, uncompensated and charity charges have exceeded $90 million per year. This translates to an actual cost for JRMC of $20 million. That is a huge investment in people made year after year. A miraculous thing happens when people walk through our doors; their age, gender, race, religion and station in life all disappear. Everyone receives equal treatment, just as it was 100 years ago. Charitable and community benefits are integral components that help define us.


Our generosity is not limited to charity care. Our employees give countless hours each year to worthy community organizations and events such as health fairs and other educational programs. JRMC provides substantial sponsorships annually to organizations in need.




romise of tomorrow



oday here tomorrow!

It was a challenge from the very start to create a system of healthcare that could withstand the hardships of the past century. Its continued existence is a testament to its fortitude, as well as the ideals it upholds. From the original vision, which eventually formed our mission‌to the legacy, which was built one caring person at a time, JRMC has become ingrained in the fabric of the community. Continued expansion and growth speak to this commitment. In the best of times, as well as the worst, we’ve kept growing, improving and providing. New equipment. Needed services. Quality care. Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow.






L eading care isn’t just a catch phrase. It’s a promise to the people of our community that the care they receive will be technologically advanced and provided with a personal touch, and it’s a promise that JRMC has kept for 100 years. From doctors mixing their own drugs in the back of a buggy to the Pyxis automated pharmaceutical system that guarantees the right dose for the right patient at the right time. From the earliest disease vaccines to open heart surgery. From patient notes on a scrap of paper to the Eclipsys electronic medical records system. From Dr. Lowe’s crude X-ray machine to the latest MRI machine. From Dr. Clark’s kitchen-table mastectomy to the latest skin-sparing techniques. From nurses who wiped walls, as well as fevered brows, to nurse practitioners who perform procedures alongside physicians. The medical community continues to change along with the needs of the public, and our hospital has continued to change right along with it. Leading Care.


What does leading care really mean? Providing the latest, most advanced technology? Promoting a healthier lifestyle and system of achieving it? Or providing all of the above with skill and compassion? We believe it means all these things... and more.


strengthening the



I n the late 1800’s as doctors traveled the community, they became intimately acquainted with the people they served. They offered what care they could on an individual basis. As healthcare organizations were created, places like Davis Hospital began to offer more benefits than individual healthcare. People came to Davis to give of their time and skills as well as to help financially. As this process spiraled upward, the organization began to seek out ways to give back and strengthen the community as a whole. Each year JRMC seeks out fresh new ways to serve. We often multiply our gifts by supporting worthy institutions such as Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Habitat for Humanity. And we offer free mammograms to women who can’t afford to have them. Free prostate screenings are also offered to men in the community. We’re no longer able to travel the community and visit each home, as the doctors of old. But we’re still reaching out to make those communities a better place to live. And we’re still offering the best care we know how…one person at a time.


Outreach takes on many forms. From the many free classes and screenings to continued economic development, we believe in community.





M attie Crawford took on the responsibility of caring for a community…for you. She instilled a concern for you in everything she did. She kept you foremost in her mind. And as each successive administrator, physician, employee and volunteer provided a service, it was done for you. As the hospital expanded during the war, underwent renovations, changed its name, moved to a new location, and eventually branched out across Southeast Arkansas, these changes were all made for you. State-of-the-art technology has been brought home for you…for your healthcare needs. We’ve made progress by placing you at the center of everything we do. And just to think, it all started with a simple vision…which has reached out to embrace you across the span of 100 years.



Century of Caring  

Jefferson Regional Medical Center's Century of Caring publication from its 100th anniversary year.