"The Southern Maryland Peninsula is only miles from Washington, D.C., but for many living there in the 1970’s, it was worlds away. A predominately African American population of nearly 400,000 didn’t have access to a community hospital. Most were descendants of slaves, working in the declining tobacco industry. With little economic or political clout, the region was being forgotten compared to the more affluent burgeoning D.C. suburbs.
In the 1960’s Dr. Francis Chiaramonte began a urology practice in Marlow Heights, Maryland. He was the son of Italian immigrants from Shelter Island, New York. Like many of his patients, he knew what discrimination felt like growing up.
He saw the healthcare needs of the community were not being served. People drove hours to Washington, D.C. hospitals for routine care. For years, Chiaramonte lobbied state and local authorities about the need for an area hospital, but to no avail, so he took it upon himself. Against great odds, the Southern Maryland Hospital opened in Clinton, MD on November 27, 1977.
Dr. Chiaramonte was a complex man. His passion for healthcare, personal resolve and temperament were legendary. His inspiring story is an example of the profound impact one person can have on their community, changing thousands of lives forever.
“We’re nine miles from the nation’s capitol, but the care here is absolutely third world.”
-Dr. Francis P. Chiaramonte (1968) See less"