While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Diana J. Kleiner
VA Medical Center
Michael E. Debakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Courtesy of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
VA Naval Hospital
Aerial View of the Naval Hospital. Courtesy of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
VA Medical Center
Veterans Affairs Medical Center Facilities. Courtesy of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

VETERANS AFFAIRS MEDICAL CENTER, HOUSTON. The Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston is one of the largest general medical and surgical hospitals in the Department of Veterans Affairs system. Covering 118 acres six miles south of downtown Houston, it is part of the Texas Medical Center complex, which includes Baylor College of Medicine, components of the University of Texas, and forty-one other hospitals and clinics. Constructed for the United States Navy in 1946, the center operated as a rehabilitative facility until April 15, 1949, when the Veterans Administration assumed its 478-bed operation. That year the center was designated a teaching hospital, became affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine, reorganized its staff, and brought in additional doctors, doctors-in-training, and residents. Twenty-two residents participated in its first training and educational program, and 6,000 veterans received treatment in the hospital's first year. A blood bank opened in 1952, followed by a body-tissue bank. Operating bed capacity increased to 1,110 by 1953, and a six-story building housing laboratories, treatment programs, and surgical functions opened in 1956. A research building was dedicated in 1978, the Beaumont Outpatient Clinic opened in 1977, and the Lufkin Outpatient Clinic, serving veterans from Texas and Louisiana, opened in 1991. The Houston Veterans Affairs Medical Center activated a new $225 million replacement facility in June 1991. The 1,037 bed tertiary-care facility provides acute inpatient and outpatient care and is a referral center for open-heart surgery, super-voltage therapy, spinal-cord injury, Alzheimer's disease, lithortripsy procedure, laser surgery, and intraocular-lens implantation.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Diana J. Kleiner, "VETERANS AFFAIRS MEDICAL CENTER, HOUSTON," accessed July 11, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/sbv06.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on July 27, 2017. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...