Generous Donation Supports Good Shepherd’s Efforts to Build State-of-the-Art Rehabilitation Hospital in Center Valley

January 06, 2022

Al Douglass and Jill Raker Hudders Douglass

Gift from Jill and Al Douglass jumpstarts the Hope Starts Here capital campaign

ALLENTOWN, PA — In recognition of a generous gift from Al Douglass and Jill Raker Hudders Douglass that supports Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network’s plans to build a state-of-the-art rehabilitation hospital in Center Valley, Good Shepherd announced today it has named the lobby of the under-construction hospital as The Douglass Lobby. 

“It is absolutely critical to have this hospital, and we are honored that the lobby will carry the Douglass name forever,” says Al Douglass, who is Senior Vice President of The Douglass Group at Merrill Lynch. “Good Shepherd changes lives every day, and with this new hospital, we know that our friends, neighbors and greater community will benefit from world-class expertise, innovative treatments and the latest technologies.”

This week, crews started official construction work on the new hospital, which will welcome its first patients in early 2023. Located across from The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley, the 76-private-room rehabilitation hospital will focus on providing highly specialized, complex care and serve as the anchor of an all-encompassing destination campus. With the focus on specialized, complex rehabilitative care, Good Shepherd’s new hospital will provide vital services in the Lehigh Valley and surrounding region.

Al and Jill Douglass of Allentown have deep roots in the community and noteworthy ancestral connections to Good Shepherd. Jill Douglass is the granddaughter of founders the Rev. John and Estella Raker. Her uncle was the late Rev. Dr. Conrad Raker, son of John and Estella, and served as superintendent and then administrator at Good Shepherd from 1941 to 1980. Jill’s mother, Roberta Raker Hudders, was Conrad’s sister.

Their generous gift honors this legacy and is made in memory of the three generations of their family that have been part of Good Shepherd – including Jill’s parents, William and Roberta Hudders and her brother John Raker Hudders.

When the Douglasses were asked to be campaign co-chairs of the Hope Starts Here capital campaign, it felt like a natural fit, they said.

“I heard my mother say, ‘Of course you will,’” says Jill. “And, of course my uncle Connie. He would be gung-ho and right out there, thrilled and excited. I thought of them all. It’s my heritage, and Al whole-heartedly agreed.”

Rendering of Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network's planned hospital in Center Valley, PA

The hospital’s first floor features the glass-enclosed Experience Center, a game-changing hub to explore and research technological mega-trends — 3D printing, automation technology, wearables, artificial intelligence — that have the potential to advance rehabilitation practices for people with stroke, spinal cord injury, brain injury and other disabilities.

The remaining three floors will feature private patient rooms and therapy gyms for inpatient rehabilitation. Specifically, the second and third floors will house patients recovering from strokes, orthopedic and spinal cord injuries as well as those who have suffered traumatic injuries or need pulmonary rehabilitation. The fourth floor will house a 16-bed unit for patients who have experienced brain injuries.

Another unique aspect is the Outdoor Therapy and Activity Gardens. Using Good Shepherd’s outdoor space effectively and creatively, clinicians will be able to create real-world experiences for patients.

In this new hospital, Good Shepherd aims to build on its use of advanced, life-changing technologies and world-class clinical expertise — growing from a leader in the rehabilitation field to a driving force of innovation.

For more information about the Hope Starts Here campaign or the Center Valley hospital, visit

About Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network

Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network, a broadly recognized, not-for-profit rehabilitation leader with more than 70 locations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, is committed to transforming lives through expertise, innovation and compassion.

Good Shepherd provides an exceptional patient experience for all ages and stages by developing leading-edge solutions, often for complex medical situations; serving as a test site for the newest rehabilitation technologies; and inspiring hope in all we do.

Good Shepherd traces its pioneering spirit for innovation and compassionate care to its founding family, The Rev. John “Papa” Raker and D. Estella “Mama” Raker. In 1908, the Rakers opened the Good Shepherd Home to care for children with disabilities and senior citizens, filling an unmet community need — and setting the stage for Good Shepherd’s continued growth as a rehabilitation groundbreaker.

Headquartered in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Good Shepherd also partners with Penn Medicine to provide rehabilitation and specialty services in the greater Philadelphia area and New Jersey through Good Shepherd Penn Partners. Learn more about Good Shepherd’s mission and vision.

Contact: Mike Walbert ([email protected])