Della Goodwin, R.N.
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Della Goodwin

Nurse and Dean

Wayne County Community College Nursing Program


Della Goodwin, R.N.

Born in Claremore, Oklahoma on November 21, 1931, Mrs. Della McGraw Goodwin moved to Little Rock, Arkansas after the death of her father in 1943. Her mother died in 1940. She graduated from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Little Rock in 1950. She entered nursing training at Freedmen's Hospital at Howard University in Washington, D.C. and earned her diploma in nursing in 1955.

Since she had been going to Detroit during her summers off from nursing school to work at such places as Herman Kiefer Hospital, she decided she would settle there in 1955. She worked at Detroit Receiving Hospital for the next six years.

Mrs. Goodwin earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in 1959 and her master's degree in 1962, both from Wayne State University. Mrs. Goodwin was invited to teach in the nursing program of Providence Hospital in 1963, which she did for one year.

In 1964, she became the director of nursing at Boulevard General Hospital. She became dean of the nursing program of Wayne County Community College (WCCC) in 1970.

She also became president of the Comprehensive Health Planning Council of Southeastern Michigan, formed by the various levels of government and the health insurance providers to study hospital bed and facility usage, and to recommend and oversee reductions in hospital costs through implementing hospital closings and reorganization.

She retired as dean of the WCCC nursing program in 1986. Mrs. Goodwin is a member of Chi Eta Phi and Sigma Theta Tau nursing sororities, the Detroit District Nurses Association, and Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

She is currently on the board of directors of the Southeast Michigan Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Tape recorded interview;
Detroit, MI
20 August  1998

Discusses hospital bed reduction in southeastern Michigan and the founding and location of Southwest Detroit Hospital

All beds were included. They weren’t called black or white beds. It was essentially left to Rick Ayala, George Allen, and others to advocate for what their particular needs were. But as the Council sat around, it didn’t consider that. If you weren’t at the table, then you lost out completely. I took the initiative to call together the NAACP, Claud Young, and other representatives of black hospitals and had a meeting with them because, at that point, I was president of [Comprehensive Health Planning Council of Southeastern Michigan] CHPCSM—the group that had responsibility for bed reduction. The first thing I told them was that they were not coming to meetings. That their absence sometimes left only my voice and as president, I couldn’t be left with that burden. That was one of the major reasons that I called the meeting. That I could not, as president of a seven county region say, “Hey, wait a minute. No, you can’t do that because Rick’s [Ayala] got this many beds over here or George Allen has this “X” number,” because by then I’m not even in the hospital, I’m over at Wayne County Community College…But the primary problem was a lack of consideration that there is a need to maintain this history. And I would say a lack of appreciation, even of the physicians. The medical physicians. The black doctors who felt like we now have admission privileges to the DMC [Detroit Medical Center], which wasn’t called that at the time, but to other hospitals. We don’t need to be that concerned about retaining what you would call a black hospital. Now when Southwest Detroit Hospital emerged as a facility, it was a beautiful facility if you wanted to go out of your way to get there. And it brought in a mix of administrations and medical staffs. I think osteopathic physicians, as well as allopathic physicians. And the cultures sometimes didn’t mix well. Just in terms of preparations—differences in philosophy of an allopath and an osteopath. The other kinds of things of whether your clients wanted to come to this hospital where there was a diverse population. But I see as a major difficulty the location itself.


William G. Anderson
Reginald P. Ayala
Arthur W Boddie
Wilma Brakefield-Caldwell
Henry C. Bryant Jr.
Alice Burton
Waldo L. Cain
James W. Collins
Claude and Vivienne Cooper
Gladys B. Dillard
George Gaines Jr.
Leon Gant
Herman J. Glass Sr.
Della Goodwin
Joseph B. Harris
Frank P. Iacobell
Horace L. Jefferson
Sidney B. Jenkins
Arthur Johnson
Rachel B. Keith
William E. Lawson
Josephine Love
Hayward Maben Jr.
Berna C. Mason
Suesetta T. McCree
Dorothy Mottley
David C. Northcross Jr.
Ophelia B. Northcross
Marjorie Peebles-Meyers
Frank P. Raiford III
Garther Roberson Jr.
S. L. Roberson
Elsie Smith
Fannie L. Starks
Lionel F. Swan
Natalia M. Tanner
Oretta Mae Todd
I. Clara Webb
Charles F. Whitten
Charles H. Wright
Watson Young


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