Why one hospital is rebranding—even when it means changing the name 'Roosevelt'

Renaming is part of a new geographical branding strategy

One New York City hospital had long been known as a "Roosevelt" facility—but it will now be known as Mount Sinai West as part of a rebranding process, David Dunlap reports for the New York Times.

The hospital opened in 1871 after James Henry Roosevelt—a relative of Theodore, Franklin Delano, and Eleanor Roosevelt—dedicated his estate to building the hospital. Over nearly 150 years, the hospital has had three different names, but all contained the Roosevelt name.

Officials first dubbed it Roosevelt Hospital, renamed it St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center after a merger in 1979, and renamed it again two years ago— this time to Mount Sinai Roosevelt—after a merger between Mount Sinai Hospital System and Continuum Health Partners.

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Renaming the hospital again—this time to Mount Sinai West—is a strategic move for the system, which is aiming to have "consistent geographic-based naming across the health system," says hospital president Evan Flatow. It "is just one step in a rebranding process that we have thought carefully about and that will play out over several years," he adds. "This is often typical after mergers, especially for a system as large as ours."

Still, it required navigating a sensitive conversation with members of the Roosevelt family, who were surprised by the name change. "If you told a taxi driver you wanted to go to Mount Sinai West, he wouldn't know where it was," says Helen Roosevelt, a former hospital trustee.

To accommodate the family's tradition, the hospital will continue to have historical displays dedicated to James Henry Roosevelt, Flatow says, including a portrait of James Henry in the lobby and a monument to him outside the main entrance to the hospital.

In addition, Flatow says the hospital's public communications "will include the statement, 'Formerly Mount Sinai Roosevelt,' until the Mount Sinai West name and our location are very familiar to our community" (Dunlap, New York Times, 12/4; AP/ABC, 12/5).

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