A Strong Bond and a Legacy for Emerson


Henry Vaillant, MD, has worn a variety of hats at Emerson Hospital since he joined the medical staff in 1970. He has served as president of the medical staff, chair of the department of medicine, chair of emergency medicine and a member of the hospital and foundation boards, among other positions.
Dr. Vaillant recently made a bequest provision in his will. “I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve done at Emerson Hospital,” he says. “It’s time to give back.”
In the early days, Emerson was a “cottage hospital.” “It was a simpler time,” Dr. Vaillant says. “There were only 35 physicians on the medical staff, and Emerson’s emergency room wasn’t even staffed 24 hours a day.”
As a member of the medical staff, Dr. Vaillant took his turn covering emergencies at night. “On two different occasions, I even delivered babies in the parking lot,” he recalls. “Of course, as soon as word went out, the obstetrician came running.” A few years later, Emerson had a full-time department, led by Dr. Alan Woodward, and staffed by specialists in emergency medicine.
As an internist, Dr. Vaillant’s focus was caring for his patients at Acton Medical Associates. When he joined the practice, which was established by Donnell Boardman, MD, and Henry Harvey, MD, he was one of five physicians. “I remain very partial to Acton Medical Associates,” he says. “I’m one of their patients.”
Dr. Vaillant has taken on a new role since his retirement in 2011. As one of Emerson’s corporators, he represents Concord, where he settled in 1970. “We’re listening posts who live in the towns served by the hospital,” he explains. “I learn things all the time from people in the community, and I bring that information back to people in the hospital.”
In addition to representing Emerson as a corporator, Dr. Vaillant is engaged in numerous other activities. He is on the boards of the Concord-Carlisle Community Chest, Carleton Willard at Home and the White Mountain School. Recently, he established an office for the purpose of organizing his family’s archives. Dr. Vaillant also grows organic blueberries, maintains a worm farm and enjoys fly-fishing.
His connection with Emerson continues, and he is only too aware of the challenges that all hospitals face today. “Emerson has maintained a loyal community and patient base and continues to provide essential services, such as mental health and obstetrics,” he says. “We citizens are so lucky to live in an area with a hospital of such quality.”  
He has now turned his attention to the future and has made a planned gift to Emerson. “We want to support the hospital for the next generation,” he explains, “so I crafted a small legacy that will continue to generate an annual contribution.”
Four generations of Dr. Vaillant’s family have received care at Emerson, so the bonds are strong. As for planned giving, he encourages others to consider it. “Overall, making a planned gift has offered our family the opportunity to begin a broader dialogue about philanthropy and end-of-life wishes.
”If you are thinking about today, you cut flowers, and if you are thinking about next year, you plant asparagus,” says Dr. Vaillant. “But if you are thinking about the next century, you plant trees. I believe this is one way to begin to enlighten our children and grandchildren about philanthropy.”