St. Philip Hospital and School of Nursing



This learning module is part of the VCU History and Health: Racial Equity program, which seeks to build a foundational awareness of health equity, diversity, equity and inclusion concepts across the entire VCU and VCU Health community.  Additional program events occur monthly. Learn more about the program here.

Learning Objectives

  • Increase awareness of the history of St. Philip Hospital and School of Nursing.
  • Increase awareness of the ways in which structural racism has played a role in health service provision in Richmond.

Between 1920 and 1962, St. Philip Hospital served as MCV’s segregated hospital for Richmond’s Black community. In 1920, MCV also established the St. Philip School of Nursing to provide nursing training to Black women, who then provided nursing services to Black patients at the St. Philip Hospital. The MCV School of Nursing admitted its first Black student in 1957, and the St. Philip School graduated its final class of Black nursing students in 1962. By 1965 all MCV hospitals had begun to admit non-emergency Black patients.

This learning module provides users with a collection of videos and readings designed to deepen their awareness of the history and legacy of the St. Philip Hospital and School of Nursing. 

The materials below can be reviewed in less than an hour, and users are encouraged to review the materials in the order they are presented. 

NOTE: Users who are pursuing the Unlocking Health Equity badge or credit through the VCUHS DEI learning requirement must complete and submit the Reflection Activity at the bottom of the page.

Learning Material

As part of a video recorded during Reunion Weekend in 2012 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the St. Philip School of Nursing's closing, alumnae shared recollections about their education at the school and their careers as nurses during the 20th century. You can hear these recollections by watching The Legacy of St. Philip School of Nursing below.


St. Phillip School of Nursing Timeline

St. Philip Class of 1958

The St. Philip School of Nursing and hospital expanded simultaneously but separately from MCV until racial integration. An excerpt from Medical Monopoly: Twentieth Century Expansion of MCV chronicles the history.

As part of the 50th anniversary closing of one of the first African American nursing schools in Virginia, Richmond Magazine published a piece entitled, Lessons from St. Phillip.

Arlethia Rogers, president of the Richmond chapter of the St. Philip Alumni Association, holds a picture of the St. Philip class of 1933.

Additional Resources

Remembering St. Philip: A panel discussion. (July 2019). 39-minute YouTube video. Richmond, Virginia: Virginia Commonwealth University.

Lacy, M. W., and Pinala W.M. (1978). A historical bulletin of the Saint Philip School of Nursing and alumnae. [Richmond, Va.]: Saint Philip Alumnae Association. 

In the Shadow of Killer King (2021). 19-minute Code Switch podcast that describes how discrimination in health care funding policy since the 1970s has resulted in lower quality health outcomes for Black Americans, including the differential impact of Covid-19 on communities of color.

History of the Medical College of Virginia. VCU Libraries Research Guide.

Reflection Activity

DIRECTIONS: Users who are pursuing VCU’s Unlocking Health Equity badge or who are seeking credit through VCUHS Human Resources must complete and submit this Reflection Activity. The Google Form link below will take users to the Reflection Activity Submission Form. The form asks the user to submit basic biographical information (e.g., name, department) and to answer one of the following prompts. Your response must be a minimum of 250 words. Users may select whichever one prompt most interests them.

PROMPT OPTION 1: What information from this learning module was most surprising to you? Why do you think that specific information stands out in your mind? If you were to share that information with someone in your workplace, who would it be and why?

-OR - 

PROMPT OPTION 2: The St. Philip nurses received a very high standard of training, yet they were not permitted to treat white patients or perform certain procedures. They also often worked in overcrowded and under-resourced conditions compared to conditions at the nearby MCV hospital for White patients. Have you ever worked or been a patient in a situation that shared any of these characteristics? If so, how did that situation make you feel and how did you cope?  If you have not had this experience,  how might a care provider or patient in this situation feel or respond to this situation.


PROMPT OPTION 3: Many people are unaware of the St. Philip Hospital and School of Nursing story in the VCU/MCV/VCUHS history. Why is it important for VCU/VCUHS employees to know about St. Philip and how might a broader understanding of this history change the way we serve our patients?

Submit Your Reflection Here.