History | VA New Jersey Healthcare

East Orange VA Medical Center

East Orange VA Medical Center is located on 34 acres on the hillocks of South Center Street and Tremont Avenue, 228 feet above sea level. The campus overlooks a residential area and offers views of the Manhattan skyline on the horizon.

Sites are located in four municipalities: Orange, East Orange, South Orange, and Newark. The location previously belonged to a Bamberger estate donated to Princeton University, but was then sold to a private owner and then purchased by the government.

Recognizing the need for medical facilities to serve veterans in metropolitan areas, Congress authorized and funded our facility in 1943. We started construction in 1948 and completed in July 1952.

On October 12, 1952, the Department of Internal Medicine and Surgery dedicated the facility as a general hospital. The 950-bed hospital was designated for surgical, internal medicine, neuropsychiatric, and tuberculosis beds.

In 1953, a series of studies was initiated by Oscar Auerbach, director of the Laboratory Service, to study microscopic changes in the lungs and other organs associated with smoking habits. By the mid-1960s, Dr. Auerbach’s research was included in the Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health.

In 1966, we partnered with the teaching hospital of the New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry to begin resident education and training.

In 1978, VA hospitals nationwide were granted medical center designation, reflecting the wide range of health care, especially ambulatory care, services provided.

In the mid-1980s, it completed a $28 million expansion and modernization program. The two-year project included modernizing and improving technology and infrastructure.

In 1996, the Lions and East Orange facilities were combined under a single leadership to become the VA New Jersey Healthcare System. Since that time, we have played a key role in meeting the health care needs of veterans.

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