Dr. Guy Otha Saulsberry: Founded The Kirkwood General Hospital To Serve Black Patients

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Dr. Guy Otha Saulsberry founded the Kirkwood General Hospital. The Kirkwood was a 27-bed facility opened in an old mansion. Dr. Saulsberry also purchased two other mansions to be able to accommodate more African American patients.


Saulsberry was born in 1899 in Muhlenberg County, KY. He was the youngest son of David Houston and Frances Gish Saulsberry. After graduating from Attucks High School he went on to attend Kentucky Normal School and Howard University Medical School where he graduated in 1927. After completing his studies, he opened his practice in Detroit, Michigan.


When Dr. Saulsberry was not admitted to the staff of Woman’s Hospital, he founded the Kirkwood General Hospital (1943-1974), located at 301 East Kirby. The facility was later moved to W. Davison and Petosky; the city wanted the original hospital site for the building of the Detroit Center of Creative Studies. Kirkwood was the last Black hospital to close in Detroit.


By March 6, 1967, the Kirkwood General Hospital was a 161-bed capacity and had accreditation from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals. The hospital had 134 members on staff and 12 departments one of the largest employers of black workers which were also a black-owned business.

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