About PeaceHealth Southwest

In 1858, a pioneering nun, Mother Joseph, opened a hospital that would survive until this day. Although the facilities, name and technology have changed, our 155+ year history as the first permanent hospital in the Northwest territories gives us the distinction as one of the west’s oldest hospitals.

Today, PeaceHealth Southwest (PHSW) serves more than 200,000 patients per year, leading the way in providing exceptional medicine to residents throughout Clark County and beyond. PHSW was named as one of the 100 Top Hospitals® in the nation six times. This honor recognizes the many areas in which PHSW provides extraordinary care, including:
  • A birthing center with homelike features that combines advanced capabilities for high-risk pregnancies
  • A medical staff of 1,000+ providers including renowned specialists and surgeons
  • Advanced heart and vascular care, including open-heart surgery
  • One of only three trauma centers in the Portland area offering advanced emergency care
  • Comprehensive outpatient surgery centers for minimally-invasive surgeries, including orthopedic and sports medicine procedures
  • One of the only CyberKnife® Centers on the West Coast dedicated to treating brain, spine and other tumors
  • A nationally certified Stroke Center with advanced clot-busting procedures

Download PeaceHealth Southwest Fact Sheet (PDF)

Summary of Historical Highlights

PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center has been an integral part of Clark County's past and will continue to support the community it has served for nearly a century and a half.


St. Joseph Hospital founded by the Sisters of Providence. First patient, John Cloyd*, admitted June 7. (* Some historical reports show the name as John Lloyd, however, the official register is written as Cloyd.)


St. Joseph Hospital relocated to a two-story house on 8th Street, directly west of the military reserve.


St. Joseph Hospital destroyed by fire, Sept. 1.


New St. Joseph Hospital at 8th and Reserve (later to be known as the Blanchet House) opened March 24.


Dedication of the fourth St. Joseph Hospital, just north of what is now The Academy.


St. Joseph Hospital School of Nursing is dedicated.


First class graduates from the nursing school on June 10.


Clark General Hospital opened on September 8 at 3400 Main Street.


West wing added to Clark General Hospital.


Board approves name change from Clark General Hospital to Vancouver Memorial Hospital, May 15. State records show July 27, 1945 as the official date of record.


New five-story wing completed at St. Joseph Hospital.


St. Joseph Community Hospital Association incorporated and assumed ownership of St. Joseph Hospital. 

East wing added to Vancouver Memorial Hospital, 192 total beds.


New St. Joseph Community Hospital opened at 600 N.E. 92nd Avenue, with 238 beds.


St. Joseph Community Hospital and Vancouver Memorial Hospital join to become Southwest Washington Hospitals.


On Nov. 9, Southwest Washington Hospitals became Southwest Washington Medical Center, with the Medical Center campus on 92nd Avenue and Memorial campus on Main Street. 

Level III trauma designation awarded by the State of Oregon, making Southwest one of three trauma centers in the metropolitan area.

First Steps Maternity Cinic opens Aug. 1.


Health Education Center opened.


Over 16,000 community members helped celebrate the April opening of an expanded and remodeled Medical Center Campus ($32 million project), now double in size. Memorial renovation followed. 

Trauma designation was upgraded to Level II.


Open heart surgery unit completed and first patients served.


Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation unit completed with six beds open. Six more to open in one year.


Salmon Creek Medical Campus opened, housing satellite clinics for The Vancouver Clinic and Family Physicians Group. HomeCare Southwest relocated to this site.

Family residency program established, in partnership with the University of Washington Medical School and the network of UW Family Medicine Residency Programs.

More than 200 Clark County physicians and Southwest form a physician/hospital organization called Clark United Providers (CUP).

The newly developed Washington State Trauma System awarded Level II trauma status to Southwest.


Opened Family Medicine of Southwest Washington, a family practice residency program affiliated with the University of Washington Family Practice Residency Network.

Southwest receives its first National 100 Top Hospital® award (for 1994), the first year the award is ever given to any hospital.


The Cancer Center of Southwest Washington created, bringing medical and radiation oncology together with other cancer services.


The Cancer Center of Southwest Washington became an affiliate of the University of Washington Medical School's Cancer Center network.

Southwest successfully negotiated a contract to provide specified medical and emergency services to Kaiser Permanente members living in Clark County.

Expansion of the Emergency Department completed, adding over 5,000 square feet and 29 treatment beds, for a total of 57 beds.

Healthy Steps Women's and Children's Center moved into new quarters on Fourth Plain Boulevard. (Formerly First Steps Maternity and Second Steps Children's Centers)


$8.1 million Family Birth Center expansion, adding 25,000 square feet and 28 beds for a total of 56 beds.

Second MRI suite housing an open MRI. A second spiral CT replaces outpatient unit.

Completion of a $9 million Memorial Health Center expansion for primary care.


Positive Emitron Tomography (PET)/Nuclear Medicine Scanner expands Diagnostic Imaging capabilities


Completion of 4-story Physicians' Pavilion and parking garage
Emergency and Critical Care expansion, adding 4 beds to Intensive Care and creating 16-bed Cardiac Intensive and Intermediate Care Unit.

Southwest receives its second National 100 Top Hospital® award (for 1999). 


Master Plan submitted to and approved by City of Vancouver. The first of its kind in the city, the Master Plan streamlines the permit approval process for construction projects included in the master plan.

Southwest receives its third National 100 Top Hospital® award (for 2000).  


Certificate of Need approval to add 82 beds.


Former Chrysler dealership property on Mill Plain becomes part of Southwest Medical Center campus.

Cancer Center earns top ranking in national accreditation by American College of Surgeons.

Southwest receives fourth National 100 Top Hospitals® award (for 2002), earning a spot among the ranks of national benchmark hospitals.


Comprehensive Stroke Center created

Ray Hickey Hospice House, the first inpatient hospice facility in the region, opens and receives Sparkles Award and Community Pride Design award.

Opening of the Patricia Nierenberg Child Care and Early Learning Center collaboration of Southwest, Educational District 112 and the Vancouver School District, providing child care and education. The unique facility also serves as a training ground for young adults planning careers in education and early childhood development.

Minimally-invasive surgery suite opens to serve unique needs of laparoscopic surgery.


Opening of The Holtzman Twins Special Care Nursery. The nursery was made possible by a generous $2.5 million donation from the family of David and Patricia Nierenberg.

The new patient tower, still under construction, is renamed the E. W. and Mary Firstenburg Patient Tower, in recognition of a $15 million donation from the Firstenburgs to the project.


Southwest receives fifth National 100 Top Hospitals® award (for 2005), earning a spot among the ranks of national benchmark hospitals.

David and Patricia Nierenberg announce a $15 million pledge to the Southwest capital campaign.

Cancer patients find new hope with the installation of CyberKnife  technology in the Cancer Center.


The E.W. and Mary Firstenburg Patient Tower opens February 19. The tower's lobby was christened the Angelo Lobby, in honor of a $1 million donation by Al "Corky" and Linda Angelo.

Southwest receives its sixth National 100 Top Hospitals® award, making it one of only 40 hospitals in the United States to have received the award six or more times.


HomeCare Southwest named to 2007 HomeCare Elite, a list of the most successful Medicare-certified home healthcare providers in the United States. This recognition also indicates providers in the top 100 of providers nationwide.

daVinci Robot debuts at Southwest. The success of robotic-assisted surgery leads to plans to bring on a second unit.

Southwest celebrates its 150th anniversary!


Kearney Breast Center opens.

Family Birth Center extensively remodeled

New Cardiovascular Intensive Care, Intensive Care and Progressive Care Units open on floors 4, 5, and 6 of the Firstenburg Tower, bringing the total licensed beds to 442.


Southwest enters into affiliation discussions with PeaceHealth in the fall. After an extensive due diligence review, the two hospital systems agree to move forward with the affiliation.


The affiliation between Southwest Washington Medical Center and PeaceHealth becomes official on January 1, 2011. The medical center's name changes to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center and a new logo is adopted, symbolic of the affiliation with the PeaceHealth family.

PeaceHealth Southwest