Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland is celebrating its 100th birthday. The free-standing, not-for-profit pediatric medical center was founded in 1912 and opened for business in 1914. Children's Hospital Oakland will celebrate the landmark birthday for two years and kicked off festivities with a birthday party at Children's Fairyland in Oakland on September 8.
From Baby Hospital to Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland
Originally called the "Baby Hospital," Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland was founded by nurse Bertha Wright and social worker Mabel Weed, and a group of charitable Bay Area women dedicated to creating a hospital just for babies. On September 6, 1914, after settling into the McElrath family estate at 51st Avenue and Dover Street in Oakland, the Baby Hospital officially opened the doors.
Operating 38 beds in 1914, the hospital founded by women was also supported by women from day one. The women's auxiliary group called the Branches has advocated for the hospital and raised millions of dollars throughout the 100 year history.
In 1926, the hospital introduced a medical education program to train future pediatricians. Today, Children's Hospital Oakland's Pediatric Residency program has 88 medical residents and has trained more than 1,000 pediatricians.
As the only pediatric hospital in the Bay Area at the time, the hospital's growth coincided with birthing trends and public knowledge that children required specialized pediatric care, In 1948, as the Baby Boom swept the country, the hospital added a new wing, increasing patient capacity to 142. Today, Children's operates 190 beds, including 38 neonatal beds for the sickest and most fragile infants, and provides comprehensive primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary medical care.
In 1959, the hospital built a research center to advance the care of children in the community and throughout the world. Now known as Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI), Children's research arm is a premier biomedical research enterprise with world-class scientists involved in clinical and basic research funded by the National Institutes of Health.
In 1983, Children's Hospital Oakland cared for the first East Bay pediatric AIDS patient. Today, Children's Hospital Oakland's Pediatric HIV/AIDS Program has helped nearly 350 HIV-infected women give birth to healthy, uninfected babies.
In 2009, Bertram Lubin, MD, was named Children's President and Chief Executive Officer. The first pediatrician to ever lead the medical center, Dr. Lubin first came to Children's Hospital Oakland in 1973 to head Hematology/Oncology (blood disorders and cancer) and, as CHORI's president, oversaw the growth of the research institute into an internationally renowned enterprise.
The Community's Hospital
A strong commitment to serving the community has been the cornerstone of the hospital's mission since its foundation. In 1914, the hospital charged $1 to $2.50 per day per patient, but no child was ever turned away because a family was unable to cover the cost of care.
"Community service and social justice have been an essential part of Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland since it was founded in 1912," said Bertram Lubin, MD, Children's President and Chief Executive Officer. "We look forward to continuing this commitment to our community and to all children throughout the world for another century."
Today, Children's Hospital Oakland continues to serve all children. With no public pediatric hospital beds in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, Children's Oakland is the "safety net" hospital for both counties, in addition to caring for privately insured patients. In 2011, Children's Hospital Oakland provided more than $138 million in charity care and community benefit.
Children's Hospital Oakland is the busiest pediatric hospital in the Bay Area and offers the largest number of ambulatory, preventative services of any pediatric facility in the area. In 2011, Children's Hospital Oakland cared for more than 77,000 individual patients with more than 300,000 visits. Children's Hospital Oakland has the Bay Area's only Level 1 pediatric trauma center exclusively for kids and trauma victims and comprehensive pediatric rehabilitation center. Approximately 800 children are transported each year to Children's from all over Northern California.
The support of the community has been integral to Children's throughout its history, and the hospital is counting on the community's continued support as it moves into its second century.
The Next 100 Years
"As we look toward our next 100 years, Children's is grateful to our community for its support and motivated by the community's commitment to our hospital," said Dr. Lubin.
In June, Children's Hospital Oakland welcomed more than 150 community members and leaders, patients, staff, and physicians at a brainstorming session to envision a modernized facility. While the hospital is still in the development stages of a master plan that will include maximizing the use of its existing property and buildings, modernizing its facilities, and providing individual rooms so that families can stay with their child when hospitalization is required. One thing is certain - Children's Hospital Oakland is staying in its 100 year old Oakland home.
Children's Hospital Oakland is also starting the next century with leading edge technology with the implementation of Epic, an electronic medical record system, that will allow the hospital to provide safer and more effective care to patients.
As the medical center has grown, Children's Hospital Oakland is embarking on the next 100 years with a new management system that is transforming the delivery of care with a focus on patient experience and continuous improvement. The new system, called Quality Built-In, is based on the principles of "lean" management pioneered by Toyota and successfully adopted at major adult and children's hospitals throughout the county with outstanding results. Improving care while reducing waste and decreasing costs is foundational for the future of healthcare.
One hundred years after two women had the idea for a hospital dedicated to babies, the name has changed and the breadth of services has grown to include 30 pediatric subspecialties; over 250 hospital-based pediatric subspecialists; teaching programs for physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, high school, undergraduate, and graduate students; and a successful research program. Remarkably, the founders' mission - to deliver specialized healthcare to all children in the region and beyond - has remained an essential component of the mission of Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland.
Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland