Queens Borough President Donovan Richards sent a letter to NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Mitchell Katz Tuesday requesting the hospital’s name be changed to honor former Borough President Claire Schulman.
Richards proposed that the name be changed to the NYC Health + Hospitals Claire Shulman Queens Hospital Center in honor of the former BP, who had been a devoted advocate for public hospitals and who started her nursing career at Queens Hospital Center.
“Her dedication and commitment was exhibited in her successful efforts to prevent the city from selling NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens in the mid-1990s,” Richards said in the letter. “Additionally, Borough President Shulman secured more than $150 million in capital funding for a major modernization project upgrading both Queens and Elmhurst Hospitals. In 2001, she was instrumental in the establishment of the Queens Cancer Center at NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens, which has greatly served as a vital service to the southeast Queens community.”
Schulman became the first woman to serve as the Queens borough president, holding the role from 1986 to 2002. During her tenure, she played a role in a wide range of issues, including those related to land use, development of the city’s expense and capital budgets, economic development and health care.
Under her leadership, dozens of neighborhoods were rezoned to create appropriate zoning restrictions that generated reasonable and responsible development while preserving the character of the existing neighborhoods. Many communities, mostly in downtown Jamaica and western Queens, also experienced economic revitalization. The borough’s infrastructure expanded and funding for senior citizen centers, cultural programs and libraries also increased.
Schulman was also instrumental in ensuring the development and growth of a number of Queens cultural institutions. Among these institutions that grew thanks to her were the Queens Museum of Art, the Hall of Science, the USTA National Tennis Center, the Queens Zoo, Queens Theatre in the Park, Museum of the Moving Image, Flushing Town Hall, MoMA PS1, the Noguchi Museum and the South Queens Park Association.
She played a big role in the passage of legislation reforming the co-op/condo conversion process. She also played a major role in helping secure funding for 35,000 additional school seats in the Board of Education’s five-year capital plan.
“NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens was always a special place to Borough President Shulman and she took great pride in helping build a new facility, replacing the hospital where she found her calling in serving Queens families,” Richards said. “A name change in her honor is not only appropriate but well-deserved.”