St. Luke's Hospital & Health Network has officially changed its name to St. Luke's University Health Network, and the hospital in Fountain Hill has been re-named St. Luke's University Hospital.

For only the second time in St. Luke's nearly 140-year history, the board of trustees has officially approved changing the name to accurately convey the network's organizational scope and growth, according to Richard A. Anderson, president and CEO of St. Luke's University Health Network.

"Our new name reflects our reputation and the vital role St. Luke's plays in preparing future generations of physicians, nurses and other health care providers. It validates our commitment to stay at the forefront of the continual innovations in health care on behalf of our patients and our community," he said.

St. Luke's has been educating tomorrow's doctors and other health care providers since 1881 when Dr. William Estes, St. Luke's first superintendent and surgeon-in-chief, first began training St. Luke's doctors in the era's newest surgical procedures.

Today, more than 1,000 students from more than 20 area colleges and universities receive their advanced medical education and clinical training at St. Luke's University Hospital.

More than 100 St. Luke's physicians serve as faculty at prestigious medical schools including Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania, and St. Luke's is involved in more than 200 clinical research trials.

Each year, St. Luke's educates more than 150 physicians in 20 fully accredited internship, residency and fellowship programs. Partnering with Temple University School of Medicine has allowed St. Luke's to create the first and only regional medical school campus in the area. The first class of medical students began classes last August. More than 120 medical students will study daily at the medical school campus when it reaches full enrollment over the next three years.

Founded in 1884, St. Luke's School of Nursing is the nation's oldest, continuously operating, hospital-based nursing school and has graduated thousands of students. Through an affiliation with Moravian College, St. Luke's also offers nursing degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

"Our new network name reflects our long-standing commitment to educating physicians, nurses and other professionals who provide care to our patients and it also reflects our participation in national clinical trials and medical research," said Anderson. "It enhances our ability to attract internationally renowned physicians who desire to practice at a more educationally-oriented organization and facilitates their ability to bring exceptional research opportunities to the Lehigh Valley."

"St. Luke's Board of Trustees has embraced this change," said David Lobach, chairman, St. Luke's board of trustees. "They recognize that St. Luke's has evolved into a major teaching institution and continues to raise the level of medical education provided in the region. Our new name, St. Luke's University Health Network, reflects St. Luke's mission, vision and values."

"Education and health care are irrevocably joined," said Jeffrey A. Jahre, network senior vice president of Academic and Medical Affairs. "With greater focus on academic instruction and research comes a higher level focus on actual clinical care. Patients throughout the Lehigh Valley will reap the benefits of our academic endeavors because our Bethlehem facility will become an even stronger tertiary care hub. Adding the word 'university' into the Bethlehem hospital's name recognizes our ability to offer university-level care."

He continued, "By changing the name of our flagship hospital in Bethlehem we are underscoring the advanced technology, complex treatments and tertiary services we offer there. Blended with the unique, compassionate and personalized care we provide, this hospital is the perfect university setting and the perfect health care setting."

As part of the name change, St. Luke's will standardize the names of its hospitals to enhance the brand and strengthen the network as it grows and expands:

St. Luke's Hospital – Bethlehem Campus, to St. Luke's University Hospital – Bethlehem Campus.

St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital, Coaldale, to St. Luke's Hospital – Miners Campus

St. Luke's Quakertown Hospital, to St. Luke's Hospital – Quakertown Campus

St. Luke's Warren Hospital, St. Luke's Hospital – Warren Campus

St. Luke's Hospital- Allentown Campus and St. Luke's Hospital – Anderson Campus will remain the same.

In the past few years, St. Luke's has expanded at an extraordinary pace in terms of size and complexity. The network now includes six hospitals – serving patients in two states – as well as home health services and more than 150 health care delivery sites. The network's growth has not been limited to the provision of health care and has also been focused on expanding our teaching programs training health care professionals.

The network employs more than 8,600 people and boasts more than 1,350 volunteers. More than 57,500 annual admissions/observations (all hospitals except for Anderson Campus) and 195,000 annual emergency department visits occurred in fiscal year 2011 (July 1, 2010 – June 30, 2011). The medical staff consists of 1,325 employed and independent physicians.