When obstetrician/gynecologist Tom Vaughn Jr., MD, opened his medical practice in Mount Airy nearly 40 years ago, little did he know that his pioneering efforts and advocacy for women’s health issues would be formally recognized posthumously by his family, friends and countless former patients – each of whom contributed in his honor to the Northern Hospital of Surry County Foundation.
But that’s exactly what his work helped inspire, with the recent For Her campaign. Launched in September of 2017, the goal of the campaign was to raise $120,000 for the implementation of 3-D mammography at Northern Hospital.
Friday night, family, friends and colleagues gathered to celebrate the official ribbon cutting on the 3-D Mammography Suite at the hospital.
“Through the extraordinary generosity of many donors – including community and business leaders, grateful patients, and friends of Northern Hospital – we reached our goal in less than four months,” said Matt Linville of the Northern Hospital Foundation. “In addition, as part of the foundation’s commitment to the campaign, it matched each contribution dollar-for-dollar – which brought the total contributions to $240,000.”
Due to the early positive response to the campaign, the hospital was able to make arrangements in February to purchase and install the necessary software/hardware upgrades to make 3-D mammography available to patients who would benefit from its enhanced imaging of breast tissue.
“At the present time, some 42 percent of all eligible patients now choose 3-D mammography rather than the traditional 2-D imaging,” said Linville.
Like Ann Vaughn, who facilitated contributions to the For Her campaign to honor her husband’s legacy, there are as many reasons to donate as there are donors.
“We appreciate that people are motivated for different reasons when they choose to support the healing work of our hospital and affiliated clinics, our physicians and nurses, and/or our life-saving and life-enhancing programs and services,” said Linville.
Many individuals – such as Tammy and Jim York, owners of Petroleum Transport Company Inc., based in Pilot Mountain — take a big-picture view of the help their contributions can make. Last fall, when the business executives met with Linville and the then-hospital CEO Ned Hill, they already understood that advanced mammography would help with the early detection of breast cancer.
“We concluded that the project was a good use of funds and would benefit many who live in Surry County,” said Tammy York, who serves as vice president of her company’s firm. “We wanted to help make 3-D mammography a reality for all citizens in our county and were happy to contribute to the Northern Hospital Foundation.”
Honoring Dr. Vaughn
In appreciation of the of the more 60 donors to the For Her campaign, the foundation hosted a reception and ceremony on Friday evening to recognize the gifts and unveil commemorative plaques that identify the donors. In addition, a special plaque – dedicated to Dr. Tom Vaughn — was unveiled in remembrance of Mount Airy’s earliest women’s-health pioneer.
After graduating from the U.S. Military Academy, the newly-commissioned Lt. Vaughn distinguished himself in combat in the late-1960s as a Ranger and Green Beret in the 5th Special Forces Group, and as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division.
Returning to civilian life, he earned his master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Virginia; and then pursued his love of medicine at the University of Virginia, earning his medical degree in 1975.
“With those two degrees, everyone thought he would deliver the first baby on the moon,” joked Ann Vaughn, his wife of 47 years and the catalyst behind the $60,000 donated recently in his honor.
Today, 3-D mammography is the most sophisticated imaging technology available to detect breast cancer; and the recent introduction of 3-D mammography to Northern Hospital’s arsenal of advanced diagnostic options positioned Northern as the first community hospital in Surry County to offer such technology to patients.
For Ann Vaughn, it represented the essence of what had been her husband’s approach to preventive medicine and technological progress.
“My husband was the first in Mount Airy to add a dedicated mammography clinic to his practice for the convenience of his patients – and that was back in the late-80s and early-90s,” she said. “Tom readily embraced the latest and most advanced technology that would improve women’s health, so it was a natural fit for me to want to help raise funds to bring 3-D mammography to Northern Hospital in honor of Tom’s memory,” she added.
Northern Hospital Foundation has served as the fundraising arm of the hospital for the past 34 years.
Three years ago, the hospital breathed new life into the foundation’s relatively dormant operations by recruiting Matt Linville, a proven fundraising expert and former commercial real-estate and tax-investment advisor, to renew its efforts. Born 45 years ago in Northern Hospital, the Surry County native applied his visionary leadership and finely-honed professional skills to jumpstart the foundation’s activities.
“It’s really awesome that Northern Hospital is where I began my life … and where I am now,” says Linville.
“The monies raised through the foundation – which come in the form of grants or donations from generous individuals or corporations – help to accelerate the hospital’s timeline for purchasing necessary equipment, upgrades, supplies or systems,” Linville said. “The foundation’s primary objective is to help the hospital continue to provide access to cutting-edge care … as quickly as possible.”
Since Linville joined the Northern team, the foundation has raised more than $800,000 through grants and various capital campaigns designed to support critical hospital initiatives — including renovations to the medical/surgical patient rooms; additions to the cardiac rehabilitation program; and, most recently, the acquisition of 3-D mammography as part of the For Her campaign.
For more information about Northern Hospital Foundation or how to donate, visit the foundation’s website at www.northernhospitalfoundation.com or contact Matt Linville at 336-783-8484 or [email protected]