Vernon J. Harris Medical Center
In the heart of Richmond is the Vernon J. Harris Medical Center, the flagship facility of CAHN. This facility is located in the community of Historic Church Hill. As a member of CAHN, the Vernon J. Harris Medical Center is committed to honoring the legend of the renowned Dr. Harris, by being conscientious about the health of our patients and rapid to bring the advancements in medicine to this community and the families we are honored to serve. We welcome you because we want to be your New Medical Home.History of Vernon J. Harris
Vernon J. Harris was born in 1894, the fifth child of Joseph Jackson and Martha Mannis Harris. They lived in the Village of Seven Pines, Virginia. Joseph Harris was a farmer and lay preacher.
Vernon's parents moved the family to the 1300 block of 32nd Street. He attended George Mason Elementary and graduated from Armstrong High School in Richmond, Virginia. He attended Virginia Union University and received his M.D. Degree from Howard University Medical School. In 1926, after serving a residency at Howard's Freedman's Hospital, he returned to Richmond to take the Virginia State Medical Board exam. Dr. Harris opened his first practice at 1105 North 29th Street and later opened an office building around the corner at 2906 Q Street where he remained until his death.
In 1925, Dr. Harris married the former Beatrice Virginia Robinson. To this union two children were born: Vernon, Jr. and Gladys Eloise Harris. Beatrice R. Harris died in January 1928. In 1930, Dr. Harris married the former Jean Louise Pace. To this union, two daughters were born: Jean Louise Harris and Diane Elaine Harris.
Dr. Harris was a "work-a-holic" who took no vacation or holidays. His patients came before all else. He carried his "little black bag" with him even on social and family occasions. His family lived upstairs over the office for many years, which made it convenient for his practice. His office hours were 8:00 am — 10:00 am; 1:00 pm — 3:00 pm; and 6:00 pm — 8:00 pm daily including Saturday and Sunday. Between his office hours he managed to eat meals and make house calls. Seldom did he get out of his office before 11:00 pm, but never complained. Unable to afford an automobile in the early years of his practice, he frequently walked, resulting in his patients calling him "the walking doctor."
Dr. Harris never refused service to any patient regardless of race, area of residence or financial ability to pay. He also did institutional work and Selective Service exams for the military during World War II. Just about all (if not all) the babies he delivered were delivered at home, as black doctors did not have attending privileges at the white hospitals. In addition, his patients did not have insurance coverage and could not afford hospital costs. It was not uncommon for him to spend all night sitting at an expectant mother's bedside waiting for a newborn.
The depression and early war years were financially difficult, and the post war years left a lot to be desired for the majority of his patients as to job opportunities and decent pay. As a result, patients frequently paid for his services with chickens, eggs, homegrown vegetables, etc. Sometimes he never received payment, even for deliveries, but his family always had food on the table.
Being conscientious about the health of the patients and rapid advances in medicine, Dr. Harris constantly read medical journals, and when St. Phillips Hospital initiated its continued educational program for doctors, he was one of the first to apply and be accepted. He as also civically responsible, taking time to attend occasional community meetings to support or oppose proposed neighborhood changes.
In June 1965, Dr. Harris died at the age of 69 after completing his morning rounds. His children became professionals. Vernon, Jr. graduated from Catholic University in Washington D.C. as an Electrical Engineer and worked for General Electric in the Aerospace Business until his retirement in 1988. Gladys received her Master's Degree in Psychology from Howard University and worked as a psychological Social Worker at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, D.C. Jean was the first black person to graduate from the Medical College of Virginia. She also became the first black cabinet member for the Governor of Virginia and formerly served as Mayor of Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Diane graduated from Howard University School of Dentistry, was the first black female dentist to practice in Richmond and at the time was only the second in the State of Virginia. She also supervised senior dental students at the Harris Dental Clinic for several years and was part-time clinical instructor at the Medical College of Virginia School of Dentistry.
Dr. Harris' progeny includes 12 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and 6 great-great-grandchildren.
Dental services offered at Vernon J. Harris Medical Center include:
- Emergency Visits
- Cosmetic Dentistry
- Retainers & Mouth Guards
- Pediatric & Adult Dentistry
- Dental Education & Oral Health
- Fluoride/Cleaning/ Scaling Treatments
- Restorative Dentistry (crowns/caps, bridges, fillings, sealants and dentures)
Medical services offered at Vernon J. Harris Medical Center include:
- Specialty Referrals
- Health Care (all ages)
- Routine Gynecologic Care
- Preventative Education Seminars
- Wellness Check-ups (for infants and children)
- Treatment of Acute and Chronic Medical Conditions
- School/Sports/Employment Physicals and Complete Physical Exams
- Adult & Pediatric Medicine
- Well Baby Care
- Diabetes Management
- High Blood Pressure Treatment
Vernon J. Harris Medical Center
719 N. 25th Street
Richmond, VA 23223
Hours: Mon, Tues, and Thurs: 8 am - 9 pm; Wed and Fri: 8 am - 5 pm
Dr. Cowans, M.D. - Physician
Ms. Carter, PA-C - Physician Assistant
Dr. King, M.D. - Pediatrician
Dr. Park, D.D.S. - Dentist
For more info:
Medical - (804) 780-0840
Dental - (804) 253-1972