75 years of improving the lives of children

Shining Light On 75 Years of Improving the Lives of Children

Founded by the community and for the community, Children’s Hospital & Medical Center is proud to celebrate 75 years of improving the lives of children through exceptional care, advocacy, research and education. Since 1948, it has been Children’s great honor and privilege to care for the health needs of countless children and families in Nebraska and throughout the region.

For 75 years and counting, Children’s has been a beacon of hope and healing for families. It is a place to feel better and beat the odds, full of people who find light in some of the darkest moments. From the very beginning, the incredible people at Children’s have powered our mission: To improve the life of every child.

Children’s is marking this special milestone by reflecting on its roots, and looking ahead to a bright future where innovation and growth remain key to best serving patients today and for generations to come.

Our Story

Two community leaders and one shared vision initiated the establishment of the original Children’s Memorial Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska. Dr. C.W.M. Poynter, Dean of the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), saw the need for a specialized health care facility in Omaha exclusively for children. Henry Doorly, publisher of the Omaha World-Herald, drew inspiration from his wife, Margaret, who witnessed a family unable to provide payment for their child’s care. Together, these community leaders set forth to create a hospital for children where no child in need of medical care would be turned away due to inability to pay.

A community-wide penny drive and generous contributions from 30,000 donors across Nebraska and western Iowa made the $835,000 hospital possible. Children’s Memorial Hospital opened its doors on March 14, 1948, in time to meet the tremendous need brought on by the polio epidemic of the ‘40s and ‘50s.

Innovation, Growth to Best Serve Children

Since then, Children’s has served as the region’s pediatric health care leader, advocating and innovating on behalf of children and families. Whether navigating polio, influenza or COVID-19—or increasing medical complexity and mental health challenges—Children’s has risen to meet the evolving needs of children with specialized expertise and extraordinary compassion.

As the need for services has grown, so has Children’s. The hospital began adding beds to increase capacity, then moved to accommodate the needs of the community—eventually relocating to the free-standing hospital that Children’s calls home today. In 2010, Children’s opened the Specialty Pediatric Center to improve access to outpatient care. Most recently, Children’s celebrated the opening of the cutting-edge Hubbard Center for Children, further advancing its care and capabilities. Today, Children’s continues to grow its services and footprint as a nationally recognized children’s hospital—driven forward by the same mission that set its course back in 1948.

From leveraging the latest in digital health and robotic technologies to advancing community partnerships to benefit children, Children’s remains a champion of new possibilities, shaping the future of pediatric health care.

Hope & Healing: 75 Years of Pediatric Cancer Care

From a 3-month life expectancy in the 1950s to a survival rate greater than 90% today, advancements in pediatric cancer care represent decades of dedicated research by passionate experts like ours. We’re proud to participate in ongoing, collaborative research with other health care institutions to improve outcomes for the brave, resilient children we serve today and for generations to come.

Caring for the Smallest Patients: 75 Years in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Watch as our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) transforms over time! Since 1948, technology has evolved and specialized care teams have grown, but one thing has remained the same: Children’s NICU team has worked to provide the very best care for sick babies.

Our dedicated neonatal experts fill our NICU with warmth, hope and expertise. Together, we’ll continue to grow and innovate to meet the needs of these tiny fighters.

The Power of Pediatric Research: Today’s Innovation Improving Tomorrow’s Care

Our ability to provide the very best care to sick children in our region and beyond all stems back to one thing: Research. Research gives us the insight we need to grow, advocate, innovate and remain on the leading-edge of pediatric health care. At Children’s, we invest in research through the Child Health Research Institute (CHRI), a partnership with the University of Nebraska Medical Center – UNMC. CHRI empowers pediatric researchers to make groundbreaking discoveries that impact the lives of children for years to come.

75 Years of Progress in Children’s Criss Heart Center

Serving our region’s children and families for 75 years, Children’s Nebraska has innovated to provide the most comprehensive pediatric cardiology and heart surgery care. Evolving from a time when less than 10% of heart conditions could be addressed to the sophisticated, life-changing care we know today, our Criss Heart Center team offers the highest quality, most innovative interventions to improve outcomes. See how we’re celebrating our past and looking ahead to a brighter future for generations of heart warriors to come.


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