Stanford Medicine Newsletter Updates For the Local Community


25 years of improving health

Neonatologist David Stevenson, MD, attended the opening of the hospital 25 years ago and looks forward to its future.


From the beginning, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford stood out. When it opened on June 10, 1991, it was one of very few children’s hospitals in America to incorporate both pediatrics and labor and delivery in one facility.

Now, 25 years later, the hospital is the centerpiece of a preeminent pediatric and obstetric health system that has 65 locations in the Bay Area. Since 1991, the hospital and enterprise have logged more than 3 million clinic visits, 1,600 solid organ transplants and 110,000 births — and found a permanent place on the U.S. News & World Report annual list of America’s best children’s hospitals.

“From the start, our goal has been to fulfill the vision of Lucile Salter Packard, our generous founder and visionary for children’s health,” said Christopher G. Dawes, president and CEO. “She planned a very nurturing environment, one that would make possible medical breakthroughs for our children, our grandchildren and the children of the future.”

Honoring a legacy

“I remember opening day just like it was yesterday,” recalled renowned neonatologist and researcher David Stevenson, MD, professor of pediatrics at the School of Medicine, who helped plan and open the hospital, where he continues to treat premature infants. “It was really exciting to see the whole community come out to celebrate. Their support has played a huge role in our tremendous impact.”

The community gathered to celebrate the opening of Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford 25 years ago.


Lucile Packard, long an advocate for the health of children and expectant mothers, passed away before the hospital’s début. She and husband David Packard founded the hospital with a $40 million donation in 1986. “Her magnificent spirit still guides everything we do,” said Dawes. “She would have loved this place and all we’ve achieved.”

Those achievements include a series of notable breakthroughs in academic and clinical excellence, including:

  • Launch of the first mobile clinic program in America specifically targeting underserved adolescents
  • Development of a nonsteroid, immune-suppressing drug regimen for organ transplant recipients
  • Open-heart surgery on the youngest and smallest infant ever to undergo such an operation
  • Groundbreaking improvements in pregnancy and newborn care
  • Leadership in pre-term birth research
  • Pioneering food allergy research
  • Studies focused on eradicating disease for children around the world
  • Recognition as No. 1 in the nation in solid organ transplant volume

“I know my mother would be extraordinarily proud of everything Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital stands for,” said Susan Packard Orr, vice chair of the hospital’s board of directors. “The breakthrough discoveries, the community service, the family-centered approach and such great care are exactly what she wanted this hospital to be.”

Expanding access

“Major advances in patient care mean that more children today are living into adulthood with serious and chronic diseases that would have been fatal 15–25 years ago,” said Christy Sandborg, MD, pediatric rheumatologist and professor of pediatrics at the School of Medicine. “There’s an increasing demand for more space to care for these kids and families.”

That’s why Packard Children’s Hospital will open a new centerpiece for the pediatric and obstetric medical campus in the summer of 2017— a $1.1 billion expansion that adds 521,000 square feet of building space and 149 patient beds. The project will create one of the most technologically advanced, family-friendly and environmentally sustainable hospitals for children and expectant mothers.

The hospital’s influence expanded further in 2012 and in a way no one could have predicted back in 1991. “We launched a new, integrated network called Stanford Children’s Health,” said Dawes. The network, with the hospital at its center, now has 65 locations in Northern California and 100 locations in the western United States. “It was our response to a changing health care environment and consumers’ increased demand for high-quality services, like those at Stanford Medicine, to be available closer to their homes.”

That model, providing everything from routine checkups to advanced treatment, has been a runaway success. Together with the hospital, this comprehensive health system receives more than 500,000 clinic visits a year.

The next 25

In the last 25 years, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital has helped to lead the world in advancing pediatric research, care and training for the benefit of countless children, said Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine. “As an integral part of Stanford Medicine, the hospital remains indispensable to our overarching vision for precision health, through which we win the race against childhood and adult disease before it even begins—preventing conditions before they strike and curing them decisively if they do,” Minor said.

Learn more about the hospital’s history at

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