Children's Hospital Boston

Children's Hospital Boston is a 396-licensed bed children's hospital in the Longwood Medical and Academic Area of Boston, Massachusetts.

At 300 Longwood Avenue, Children's is adjacent both to its teaching affiliate, Harvard Medical School, and to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. (Dana-Farber and Children's jointly operate Dana-Farber/Children's Hospital Cancer Care, a 60-year-old partnership established to deliver comprehensive care to children with and survivors of all types of childhood cancers.)


In 2010, for the 21st year in a row,U.S. News & World Report rated Children's Hospital Boston one of the nation's top hospitals specializing in pediatric care. (Children's ranked in the top three of all pediatric specialty categories, and number one in heart & heart surgery, neurology & neurosurgery, urology, nephrology and orthopedics Children's was the first stand-alone pediatric hospital in New England to be awarded Magnet status by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

One of the largest pediatric medical centers in the United States, Children's offers a complete range of health care services for children from birth through 21 years of age. Its Advanced Fetal Care Center can begin interventions at 15 weeks gestation, and in some situations (e.g., congenital heart disease and strabismus) Children's treats adults. The institution is home 40 clinical departments and 225 specialized clinical programs.

From October 1, 2007 through September 30, 2008 (Children's fiscal year 2008), the hospital recorded:

  • 492,698 outpatient visits
  • 58,329 emergency department visits
  • 24,460 inpatient and day surgical cases
  • 5.81 day average length of stay
  • a 1.97 average case mix

The hospital's clinical staff includes approximately 1,026 active medical and dental staff, 384 associated scientific staff, 922 residents, fellows and interns, 1,596 full-time nurses, and close to 9,000 other full and part-time employees. A trained team of more than 800 volunteers devote thousands of hours each year to support the hospital staff and patients. Dr. James Mandell, is the current CEO. Sandra Fenwick is the current President and COO.

The International Center at Children's Hospital Boston serves patients from more than 100 countries including coordination of visits, medical records, travel, accommodation, and immigration.

Children's operated its own Critical Care Transport Team, staffed by a team of two critical care transport registered nurses and a Critical Care Paramedic. They use Boston MedFlight as a flight resource for transports needing a helicopter or jet.

Children's is part of the consortium of hospitals that operates Boston MedFlight.


Children's was founded in 1869 as a 20-bed facility at 9 Rutland Street in Boston's South End and became affiliated with Harvard Medical School in 1903. Below is a partial list* of historic milestones:

1891: Children's establishes the nation's first laboratory for the modification and production of bacteria-free milk.

1920: Dr. William Ladd devises procedures for correcting various congenital defects such as intestinal malformations, launching the specialty of pediatric surgery.

1938: Dr. Robert E. Gross performs the world's first successful surgical procedure to correct a congenital cardiovascular defect, ushering in the era of modern pediatric cardiac surgery.

1947: Dr. Sidney Farber, pediatric pathologist, requested Dr. Yellapragada Subbarow (of Lederle lab and his friend and colleague at Harvard Medical School) to supply Aminopterin and later Amithopterin (Methotrexate) to conduct trials on acute leukemic children. He achieves the world's first partial remission of acute leukemia. He went on to co-found the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in 1950.

1954: Dr. John Enders and his colleagues win the Nobel Prize for successfully culturing the polio virus in 1949, making possible the development of the Salk and Sabin vaccines. Enders and his team went on to culture the measles virus.

1971: Dr. Judah Folkman publishes "Tumor angiogenesis: therapeutic implications" in the New England Journal of Medicine. It is the first paper to describe Folkman's theory that tumors recruit new blood vessels to grow.

1983: Children's physicians report the first surgical correction of hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a defect in which an infant is born without a left ventricle. The procedure is the first to correct what had been a fatal condition.

1986: Children's surgeons perform the hospital's first heart transplant. Later in the year, a 15-month-old patient becomes the youngest person in New England to receive a heart transplant.

1989: Researchers in neurology and genetics discover that beta amyloid, a protein that accumulates in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease, is toxic to neurons, indicating the possible cause of the degenerative disease.

In the last 20 years

1997: Endostatin, one of the most potent inhibitors of angiogenesis, is discovered by Drs. Michael O'Reilly and Judah Folkman. In mice, endostatin has shown promise in slowing some cancers to a dormant state. Phase I clinical trials began at three centers in 1999.

1998: Dr. Evan Snyder clones the first neural stem cells from the human central nervous system, offering the possibility of cell replacement and gene therapies for patients with neurodegenerative disease, neural injury or paralysis.

1999: Children's establishes its Advanced Fetal Care Center to provide diagnostic services, genetic and obstetrical counseling, and prenatal or immediate postpartum intervention for fetuses with complex birth defects.

1999: Larry Benowitz, PhD grows nerve cells in the damaged spinal cords of rats, a significant step in the treatment of spinal cord injuries. The next year, Benowitz discovers inosine, an important molecule in controlling axon regeneration in nerve cells.

Since 2000

2000: Children's performs its 100th heart transplant.

2001: Children's performs the world's first successful fetal repair of hypoplastic left heart syndrome in a 19-week-old fetus.

2002: Dr. Scott Pomeroy and Dr. Todd Golub use microarray gene expression profiling to identify different types of brain tumors and predict clinical outcome. This allows radiation and chemotherapy to be tailored to kill cancer cells while leaving healthy tissue alone.

2003: Dr. Heung Bae Kim and Dr. Tom Jaksic develop, test and successfully perform the world's first-ever serial transverse enteroplasty procedure, a potential lifesaver for patients with short bowel syndrome.

2004: Children's surgeons perform New England's first multivisceral organ transplant when 11-month-old Abdullah Alazemi receives a stomach, pancreas, liver, and small intestine from a single donor.

2005: In the best-documented effort to date, Felix Engel, Ph.D., and Dr. Mark Keating successfully get adult heart-muscle cells to divide and multiply in mammals, the first step in regenerating heart tissue. They are now investigating whether their technique can improve heart function in animal models of cardiac injury.

2006: Dr. Dale Umetsu, Dr. Omid Akbari and colleagues report that a newly recognized type of immune cell, NKT, may play an important role in causing asthma, even in the absence of conventional T-helper cells. Moreover, NKT cells respond to a different class of antigens than are currently recognized to trigger asthma.

2006: Dr. Larry Benowitz and colleagues discover a naturally occurring growth factor called oncomodulin that stimulates regeneration in injured optic nerves, raising the possibility of treating blindness due to optic-nerve damage and the hope of achieving similar regeneration in the spinal cord and brain.


With more than 680,000 square feet (63,000 m2) of state-of-the-art laboratory space, Children's is home to the world's largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center. Its discoveries have benefited children and adults since 1869. More than 1,100 scientists, including 9 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 13 members of the Institute of Medicine and 15 members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, comprise Children's research community. Children's current initiatives are supported by a record US $225 million in funding, which includes more federal funding than is awarded to any other pediatric facility.

In the John F. Enders Pediatric Research laboratories, named for the Children's researcher and Nobel Prize recipient who cultured the polio and measles viruses, hundreds of laboratory researchers and physician investigators search for answers to some of the most perplexing diseases.

In 2003, Children's dramatically increased its research capacity with the opening of the 295,000-square-foot (27,400 m2) Karp Family Research Laboratories. The Karp family gift is one of many important gifts that support Children's vital research enterprise.

In an effort to support the research community, Children's Stem Cell Program investigator George Q. Daley, M.D., Ph.D., has made dozens of iPS lines developed at Children's Hospital Boston available for use by other scientists through the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. To date, cell lines have been distributed to over 65 laboratories worldwide.

In 2010, a drug that boosts numbers of blood stem cells, originally discovered in zebrafish in the Children's Hospital Boston laboratory of Leonard I. Zon, M.D., went to clinical trial in patients with leukemia and lymphoma.

Through the years, scientists at Children's have set the pace in pediatric research, identifying treatments and therapies for many debilitating diseases, including those of adulthood.

Nobel Prizes

Children's Hospital scientist Dr. John Enders and his team were first to successfully culture the polio virus and were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1954.

Dr. Joseph Murray, chief plastic surgeon at Children's Hospital Boston from 1972-1985 was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1990 for his research on immunosuppression.

Lasker Awards

Dr. William Lennox received the Lasker Award in 1951 for his work researching epilepsy. Dr. Lennox organized the American Epilepsy League and the Committee for Public Understanding of Epilepsy.

Dr. Robert Gross received the Lasker Award in 1954 for performing the first operation for patent ductus arteriosus, a congenital heart defect, in 1938. He received an additional Lasker in 1959 for being the first surgeon to graft artery tissue from one person to another in 1958.

Dr. John Enders was awarded the Lasker in 1954, the same year he was awarded the Nobel Prize, for "achievement in the cultivation of the viruses poliomyelitis, mumps, and measles."

Dr. Sidney Farber received the Lasker in 1966 for his 1947 discovery that a combination of aminopterin and methotrexate, both folic acid antagonists, could produce remission in patients with acute leukemia, and for "his constant leadership in the search for chemical agents against cancer."

Dr. Porter W. Anderson, Jr. received the Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award with Dr. David H. Smith in 1996 for groundbreaking work in the development and commercialization of the Hemophilus influenza type B vaccine.

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