March 7, 2023

Cooley Dickinson Receives $250K Gift from Smith College

March 7, 2023

Funding will support the hospital’s campaign to expand its 50-year-old Emergency Department

NORTHAMPTON, MA – Cooley Dickinson Hospital announced today that it has received a $250,000 gift from Smith College. The funding will support the expansion and renovation of Cooley Dickinson’s Emergency Department.

“We are honored and extremely thankful to Smith College for their extraordinary gift of support,” Lynnette Watkins, MD, MBA, President and COO of Cooley Dickinson, said. “For many years, Smith College and Cooley Dickinson Hospital have had a strong partnership; this gift furthers our shared commitment to create a healthy community. Most importantly, their commitment recognizes the importance of providing Smith College students, faculty and their family and friends with access to the region’s top providers and leading health care services.”

The gift from Smith College will support the $19.76 million expansion, reconfiguration, and renovation effort to allow Cooley Dickinson to meet the evolving emergency medicine needs of the community it serves.  To accomplish this goal, the hospital has embarked on an ambitious and comprehensive fundraising campaign. Approximately $6.4 million has been raised to date. The project is expected to break ground in the spring of 2023.

Kathleen McCartney, President of Smith College, with Cooley Dickinson President and CEO Lynnette M. Watkins, MD, MBA
Kathleen McCartney, President of Smith College, with Cooley Dickinson President and CEO Lynnette M. Watkins, MD, MBA

Kathleen McCartney, President of Smith College said of the gift, “Equitable access to health care is an essential component of vibrant communities. We are proud to contribute to Cooley Dickinson, which has long offered important support to our students, faculty and staff, as they expand their Emergency Department and create a specialized healing environment to manage the mental health concerns prevalent in today’s society, and especially on college campuses.”

Smith College has been a long-time, generous supporter of Cooley Dickinson. Significant donations to the hospital have included helping to fund the hospital’s North Building and Kittredge Surgery Center, as well as its Nurse Development program and comprehensive Breast Center.

Cooley Dickinson’s Diane Dukette sees the commitment of both organizations from the perspective of a hospital leader and a Smith College alumna. “It is moving to see two organizations with such similar commitments to the people they serve support each other to care for our communities,” Dukette noted. “And personally, as a Smith College alumna, I am so proud to see their investment in the critical, often lifesaving work, that is performed at the hospital every day”.

“Once again, Smith College has demonstrated their dedication to our region’s health and wellbeing. We’re incredibly grateful.”

Why a New Emergency Department is Necessary

Cooley Dickinson is expected to serve approximately 40,000 emergency department patients this year. That care will be provided in a 1970s-era building that was designed for 17,000 patients annually and is currently 40% undersized. A shortage of space means that some patients are treated in hallways. The Emergency Department also needs to expand its services to care for an aging population (three times the population from 10 years ago). In addition, the expansion will provide additional beds for people experiencing mental health emergencies.

The two-year project calls for adding 7,500 square feet of space, including nine new patient rooms; two behavioral health beds and two ‘flex’ beds to use as patient needs arise; and a family waiting area. When the project is completed, the Emergency Department will occupy more than 23,000 square feet. In addition, a computerized tomography or a CT scan machine, which provides timely access to diagnostic imaging, will be added to the Emergency Department.

Added Dukette, “our priority is to improve the care for those seeking emergency treatment.  Patients will see a nurse when they arrive. Patients will be treated in single patient rooms that allow for privacy. A nurses’ station in the center of the department means they can respond better to patient needs.  Overall, this is about making the Emergency Department as efficient and up to date as possible to enable our talented providers to take the best possible care of their patients.”



About Cooley Dickinson Hospital

Cooley Dickinson Hospital is a not-for-profit, acute care hospital that offers community-based programs and services in Northampton, Massachusetts. A member of the Mass General Brigham System, Cooley Dickinson has been advancing the health of people in the Pioneer Valley since 1886. The organization includes community-based primary care and specialty practices in Hampshire and Southern Franklin counties, and a VNA & Hospice program that provides home health and hospice nursing and rehabilitation visits. We are committed to serving our patients and communities with exceptional, compassionate, and personalized care.