Highland Hospital to be renamed for Supervisor Wilma Chan

OAKLAND — Highland Hospital’s name soon will be modified to include that of former Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan, who was fatally hit by a car last fall while walking her dog.

The venerable trauma center will be called Wilma Chan Highland Hospital, the Board of Supervisors unanimously decided Tuesday.

The name change is a fitting honor for a county supervisor who made health care accessibility one of her main goals, the board concluded.

RELATED: California AG pulls out of legal fight over appointment to Wilma Chan’s seat

Chan chaired the board’s health committee during her tenure and was involved in the creation of Alameda County’s First 5 Commission and expansion of health services at Peralta Community Colleges. She was the first chair of the Alameda County Children and Families Commission, and had served four years on the California Medical Assistance Commission board.

OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 17: File photo: Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan photographed during a visit by California Governor Gavin Newsom in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, June 17, 2021. Chan was struck and killed in Alameda Calif., on Wednesday morning Nov. 3. 2021 (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group) 

“From the time I first met Wilma over 40 years ago until her untimely passing, she was deeply devoted to serving the community and working towards greater equity, especially when it came to accessing health care,” board President Keith Carson said in a written statement. “During her tenure on the Board, Wilma’s efforts helped ensure that our public health systems thrived and continued to serve people where there is the greatest need. I cannot think of a more appropriate way to memorialize her contributions to Alameda County than to rename Highland in her honor.”

The Highland campus is the flagship of the public Alameda Health System, which was founded in 1864 and has five hospitals, more than 800 beds and 1,000 physicians. Highland itself has 236 inpatient beds and is home to a regional trauma center.

As a state Assembly member, Chan introduced legislation to cover California’s 800,000 uninsured children, as well as bills to prevent overcharging uninsured patients to end hospitals’ practice of overcharging uninsured and underinsured patients.

She was an advocate for a big renovation of Highland Hospital, and in 2013 she brokered a deal to transfer San Leandro Hospital to the Alameda Health System from Sutter to keep it from closing.

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