Shriners Hospitals for Children
In September 1922, the first Shriners Hospital opened in Shreveport, Louisiana. By the end of the decade, the Shriners had opened 13 more pediatric orthopedic hospitals across North America.
In the early 1920s the Shriners decided to create an official philanthropy to further their desire to give to children in need. In response to polio and its devastating effects on children, the concept of a specialized pediatric health care system was born.
The Shriners are the founders of Shriners Hospitals for Children®, a health care system of 22 facilities in three countries dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing pediatric specialty care, innovative research, and outstanding teaching programs for medical professionals. Children up to age 18 with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate are eligible for care, regardless of the families’ ability to pay.
Today, the Shriners continue to support all 22 facilities and serve as members of the hospital boards as well as volunteers.
The Mission of Shriners Hospitals for Children
Provide the highest quality care to children with neuro-musculoskeletal conditions, burned injuries, and other special health care needs within a compassionate, family-centered and collaborative care environment.
Provide for the education of physicians and other health care professionals.
Conduct research to discover new knowledge that improves the quality of care and quality of life of children and families.
This mission is carried out without regard to race, color, creed, sex or sect, disability, national origin or ability of a patient or family to pay
Expanding the Mission
Due to the development of the polio vaccine in the 1950s, the threat of polio and its effects on children was essentially eradicated in the U.S. Shriners began to look for other ways they could help children.
After careful study, Shriners became aware of a lack of medical expertise in pediatric burn care. So, in the early 1960s, Shriners Hospitals provided a solution and opened three hospitals specializing in acute and rehabilitative burn care.
. . . Burn Care
The three burn hospitals all began as interim centers within other facilities while new hospitals were being constructed nearby. The first of these hospitals opened in Galveston, Texas, in 1966. Similar facilities in Cincinnati and Boston were opened in 1968. The hospital in Sacramento, California, built in 1997, also specializes in providing this type of care.
These hospitals continue to be pioneers in pediatric burn treatment and research and are recognized as leaders in the development of improved and innovative treatment techniques. Most importantly, these hospitals alerted the medical community to this need, leading to the establishment of other burn centers.
. . . Spinal Cord Injury Care
In 1980, Shriners Hospitals responded to another pediatric need by opening a spinal cord injury rehabilitation unit at the Philadelphia hospital. This was the first pediatric spinal cord injury unit in the US.
The program in Philadelphia was followed by similar initiatives at the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Chicago and San Francisco in 1984.
When the San Francisco hospital was replaced with a new hospital in Sacramento in 1997, the facility was equipped and staffed to treat patients with orthopedic conditions, burn injuries and spinal cord injuries.
. . . Cleft Lip and Palete Care
In 2005, the organization discovered that facial clefts are one of the most common birth defects in the U.S. Despite the frequency of its occurrence, and the severity of the deformities, care for treatment
can be difficult to obtain. As a result, Shriners Hospitals for Children added a fourth official specialty to its care disciplines: cleft lip and palate.
To address the devastating effects of polio on children, the Shreveport Hospital opens as the first hospital in the offical philanthrophy with a focus on orthoaedics.
After a vote a the 1962 Imperial Session, burn treatment was added to the hospital's care disciplines.
Burn Care established 3 Interim Units
Shriners Hospital for Children opens in Galvenston
Shriners Hospital for Children Opens in Boston and
The first SCI rehabilitation unit specifically designated for children and teenagers opens at the Philadelphia Hospital.
Shriners Hospital for Children opens in North California
Shriners Hospital for Children opens Rehabilitation Unit in North California
The Joint Boards add cleft lip and palate to the official designated service lines.