History and Milestones

Our History: Hospital Opens in 1892

When a group of central Ohio women established Children’s Hospital 125 years ago, it was done with the belief everything matters in the care of a child. Now the nation’s largest children’s hospital and pediatric research institute, Nationwide Children’s Hospital resides in the same downtown setting where it was founded in 1892. The hospital embodies its century-old mission to provide the best care for all children regardless of their family's ability to pay, a commitment that has never changed.

Nationwide Children’s has proven it’s more than just a community treasure. It has become a homegrown resource with riches to share. It draws patients from every state and from over 52 countries around the world. It is ranked as one of America’s best children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report, as well as a top 10 recipient of National Institutes of Health (NIH) funds to freestanding pediatric research centers.

In 2006, the hospital marked a transformational milestone in central Ohio philanthropy, receiving a $50 million gift from the Nationwide Foundation. To honor the vision of Nationwide Insurance’s leadership, hospital trustees unanimously elected to change the name to Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The main campus and off-site locations continue to transform care, housing more than sixty expanded clinics and services across Ohio. 

In 2016, the announcement to accelerate our facilities and programs grew with an additional $760 million investment. Together with our philanthropic partners and community support, the stunning new facilities, ambitious strategic plan and world-class clinical care and research programs have created an unsurpassed atmosphere of care. Nationwide Children’s is proud to call Columbus home and will continue to provide outstanding, accessible care to patients across central Ohio and around the world for coming generations.

Timeline of Events
1892 The hospital opens for the admission of patients with nine beds, and quickly grows to 15.
1910 An outpatient department, unheard of before then, is established.
1923 Cornerstone for the new hospital is laid.
1924 The new Children’s Hospital opens, accommodating 75 children, with expansion to 150 immediately and eventually to 300.
1931 Pediatric residency program begins.
1941 The promise of pediatric research is first documented when Dr. Earl H. Baxter presents his inaugural annual report as Chief of Staff.
1943 Dr. Earl H. Baxter, a practicing pediatrician, became the first chairman of The Ohio State University Department of Pediatrics, which was housed at Children’s Hospital.
1954 Construction begins on the Sellers Wing, a physical therapy building located north of the hospital. The wing will be used for polio patients.
1960 The A wing, which adds 159 patient rooms, opens.
1961 The first dedicated medical science research building, Ross Hall, is completed, and funded by the hospital’s first research award from the National Institutes of Health.
1965 Federal grant monies open C&Y (Children & Youth) Clinics throughout Columbus. Eventually the grant monies dwindle, but Children’s continues funding these centers, which grow and become the Close To Home℠ network of today.
1966 Surgeons perform central Ohio’s first successful kidney transplant, on an 11-year-old boy.
1966 A new infant intensive care service opens, operating independently of the regular ICU.
1966 Research expenditures at Children’s exceed $1 million for the first time.
1985 A new surgical wing that houses a new kitchen and cafeteria opens.
1987 The new Wexner Center for Pediatric Research opens.
1991 Children’s becomes the first pediatric center in Ohio to be certified as a pediatric Level 1 trauma
1992 The $18.3 million Education Building opens.
1994 Partners for Kids (PFK), one of the nation’s oldest and largest pediatric accountable care organizations, is founded in partnership with Nationwide Children’s and more than 1,000 doctors.
1999 Children’s and OhioHealth announce relationship to operate Neonatal Special and Intensive Care units at OhioHealth Central Ohio hospitals (Doctors Hospital West, Grant Medical Center and Riverside Methodist Hospital).
1999 In recognition of her enormous support, the Education Building is renamed the Ann Isaly Wolfe Education Building.
2000 Children’s Hospital Orthopedic Center on Parsons Avenue opens.
2003 Construction begins on Children’s new $80-million, 160,000-square-foot clinical expansion. In addition, Children’s begins renovating 100,000 square feet of existing space.
2004 Children’s becomes the first freestanding children’s hospital in Ohio to receive “Magnet Recognition” – the highest honor for excellence in nursing.
2004 Children’s outpatient laboratory became the first national pediatric reference lab.
2004 Children’s new, 160,000-square-foot research building opens.
2005 Children's performs its first lung transplant.
2006 A "domino" and double lung transplant is performed at Children's involving the world's youngest living heart donor.
2006 Children's receives an unprecedented transformational $50 million gift from the Nationwide Foundation, the second largest single gift to a children’s hospital in American history.
2007 First in the world Congenital Hybrid Cardiac Operating Suite opened.
2007 Columbus Children’s Hospital is proudly renamed Nationwide Children’s Hospital
2008 A partnership between The Ohio State University and Nationwide Children’s receives a $34 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to create a center to develop clinical and translational protocols that help identify and advance treatments for patients.
2008 Healthy Neighborhoods Healthy Families, Nationwide Children’s initiative to impact communities’ overall healthy by impacting five key areas in Columbus’ South Side, is launched.
2008 As part of the Zero Hero program, Nationwide Children’s creates the Preventable Harm Index (PHI), now used by more than 100 children’s hospitals.
2010 Nationwide Children’s performs its first bloodless heart transplant
2012 Nationwide Children’s completes the largest U.S pediatric expansion (based on non-replacement facilities) adding more than 1.3 million square feet and over 2,000 hospital and research jobs.
2012 Westerville Outpatient Surgery Center, Nationwide Children’s first suburban surgery center, is opened.
2013 Monarch 1, Nationwide Children’s own helicopter, takes flight.
2014 The Nationwide Foundation Pediatric Innovation Fun is established.
2016 Nationwide Children's announces a phase two master facilities plan to support the growing hospital network. The $730 million investment, expected to be completed in 2022, includes 11 building projects. The centerpiece of the plan is an eight-story Behavioral Health Pavilion.
2016 Big Lots and the Big Lots Foundation pledge to support Nationwide Children’s Behavioral Health expansion with a $50 million gift, the largest corporate contribution specifically devoted to a pediatric and adolescent behavioral health program.
2016 World renowned researchers Dr. Richard Wilson and Dr. Elaine Mardis are recruited to lead the genomics research program, marking a transformational milestone for the program.
2016 Named America’s largest children’s hospital and a 2016 Leapfrog Top Hospital
2016 Nationwide Children’s Hospital is named to the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospital Honor Roll, and has consecutively ranked in all 10 specialties for six years.
2016 Ground breaks at The Residences at Career Gateway, a $12 million low-income housing complex that features onsite career development training through Healthy Neighborhoods Healthy Families.
2017 Nationwide Children’s opens its first free-standing pediatric emergency department at Lewis Center Close To Home Center℠ with Emergency Department, in partnership with OhioHealth.
2017 The $85 million six-story Livingston Ambulatory Center opens, housing outpatient clinics.
2017 Ground breaks for the new Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion.
2017 Dr. Mendell and his team developed a gene therapy to replace the mutated gene responsible for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) type 1.  The team was recognized with Science Magazine’s - People’s Choice, “Breakthrough of the year.”