Robert Collins MD and Barrie Collins

1958 - Present

From Doorways to Board Rooms:
Collins Family Story Is Integral to Hospital Center's History

Robert Collins, MD, interviewed for-and earned-an internship at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in 1957, before the hospital even opened its doors. And speaking of doors, Dr. Collins met his future wife, Barrie, a few years later when they "crashed" into each other while going through a Hospital Center doorway. They were married six months later.

Together, they've been opening Hospital Center doors ever since-doors to the labor and delivery suite, where four of their seven children were born, doors to the operating room, where Dr. Collins helped to build one of the city's busiest orthopedic surgery practices, and doors to administration and board rooms, where both have helped lead the hospital to its current level of excellence.

Dr. Collins has served as chief of the section of Orthopedic Surgery, president of the Medical and Dental Staff and a member of the hospital's board of directors. Mrs. Collins is currently president of the Women's Auxiliary and a member of the Foundation's board and the Needy Sick Fund Committee. In the 1970s and 1980s, she was a member of the hospital's board and also served as president of the Research Foundation.

Why have the Collins' both put so much time, energy-and heart-into these volunteer efforts?

"When you like and respect a place as much as we like and respect MedStar Washington Hospital Center, you want to support it," says Mrs. Collins. "It's that simple."

In addition, the Hospital Center made a difference in the lives of their children, two of whom needed the attention of high-risk specialists at birth. "We know first-hand how important this level of expertise can be, and we also experienced the caring and concern of hospital employees who supported us each time," says Mrs. Collins. "These experiences force you to make commitments, and the hospital is where our family's heart is."

Both are committed to furthering research and quality patient care, and have been an important part of fund raising efforts that support these goals for the past 48 years. They estimate they have attended more than 300 of the hospital's philanthropic events, some of which they have chaired. And the Auxiliary-which Mrs. Collins has participated in or directed since 1963-has awarded more than $12 million to nearly every hospital department, through its annual Gifts and Grants Program, and establishing a $1.4 million endowment for what is now MedStar Research Institute.

"Long ago, the former CEO of the hospital, Richard Loughery, recognized the value of giving the Auxiliary a role in awarding the money we raise," explains Mrs. Collins. "He was smart enough to know that if we women had the chance to determine where our money would be spent, we would work harder to raise it. And we have worked hard, supporting our top priority-research-but also funding such things as wigs for cancer patients and more welcoming and comfortable waiting rooms for families. We take pride in the fact that our support has made a difference for patients, families and staff members in every department in the hospital."