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Significant dates in the history of Children's Mercy

Dr. Alice Berry Graham

1897: Dr. Alice Berry Graham and her sister, Dr. Katharine Berry Richardson, open The Free Bed Fund Association for Crippled, Deformed and Ruptured Children with one bed in a women’s hospital at 15th Street and Cleveland Avenue.


1901: Central Governing Board of the Free Bed Fund approves the name Mercy Hospital. Training program for nurses established at Mercy Hospital.


1903: Mercy Hospital opens with five beds at 414 Highland Avenue; growing to 27 beds within two years.


1904: First hospital auxiliary, the Maywood Club, sews garments, gathers food and cans fruits and vegetables. Dr. Robert Schauffler is the first male physician to join the medical staff.

1910: Bedside and classroom teaching begins, providing children with a way to keep up with their school work during prolonged hospital stays.

1915-17: $375,000 is raised to construct Children’s Mercy Hospital on land donated at 1710 Independence Avenue. The new hospital opens Nov. 27, 1917, serving as home for Children's Mercy for 53 years.

1922: Century Club Auxiliary forms to develop “curative playground” for patients.


1930s: The Great Depression puts increased financial pressure on Children’s Mercy; medical and surgical care is provided by volunteers, including medical school residents “moonlighting” and doctors “on loan” from other hospitals.


1936: Hospital annual budget is $140,000.


1948: Hospital dismantles isolation wards. This is the only major renovation at the hospital for more than 50 years.

1953: Dr. Wayne Hart begins work as hospital's first medical director and only full-time physician; establishes official residency program with the University of Kansas.

1954: Hospital budget is $686,000.

Dr. Katharine Berry Richardson

1958: Social Services department forms to better address non-medical needs of patients and families.

1961: The Children’s Convalescent Center (for the treatment of rheumatic fever) is renamed the Children’s Cardiac Center and moved to Children’s Mercy.

1962: Affiliation begins with the University of Missouri Medical Center (and eventually the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine).

1964: Planning begins for a new hospital and a campaign launched that eventually raises $7 million for Children’s Mercy Hospital at 2401 Gillham Road. The campaign is chaired by by former President Harry Truman and Hallmark Founder Joyce C. Hall.

1967: Nutrition Services program begins. Nearly half of patient referrals by 1971 are for childhood obesity. Supplemental Food program begins in advance of Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program in 1975.

1970: Patients move into the new Children’s Mercy Hospital Dec. 17; outpatient clinics open on Dec. 28.

1982: Hospital budget is $30 million.

1983: “Continuing the Commitment” campaign begins to raise $12.5 million for renovation, expansion, new equipment, the Family Support Fund and more.

1987: The first pediatric specialty clinics and a separate outpatient surgery center open in Overland Park, Kan.

1992: “Centennial Campaign” fund-raising effort begins to meet growing patient needs. $68 million raised in two years. 

1993: Children's Mercy Home Care begins. First Child Life Specialist is hired, establishing a new emphasis on caring for the “whole child,” including psychosocial needs. 

1995: Hall Family Outpatient Center opens adjacent to Children’s Mercy Hospital. 

1996: Herman and Helen Sutherland Patient Tower opens. Clinical Pharmacology program is established, positioning Children’s Mercy at the forefront of medical research for children and medication.

1997: Children’s Mercy celebrates its centennial; named one of the Top 10 Children's Hospitals in the United States by Child magazine. Children's Mercy Hospital Kansas (formerly known as Children's Mercy South) opens in suburban Johnson County. Expansion to add inpatient beds and more clinic space is completed in 2004.

1999: Children's Mercy purchases a primary care pediatric practice in Wyandotte County which evolves into Children’s Mercy West/The Cordell Meeks Jr. Clinic in 2007.

2000: Paul and Betty Henson Patient Tower opens.

2003: Children’s Mercy is the first hospital in Missouri or Kansas to receive Magnet recognition for nursing and patient care quality. Establishes “sister hospital” relationship with Guangzhou Women and Children's Hospital in China. The Ward Family Center for Congenital Heart Disease created capitalize on synergy between cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery programs. Children's Mercy Northland opens. Clinic and Research Building opens on Hospital Hill. 

2006: Hospital budget surpasses exceeds $500 million.

2007: Don Chisholm Center opens on Hospital Hill.

2008: “Healthier Ever After” campaign begins to raise $200 million of an $800 million expansion announced for new buildings, renovation, equipment and research.

2009: Center for Pediatric Bioethics opens.

2011: Children’s Mercy ranks in all 10 U.S. News and World Report specialties as one of the “Best Children’s Hospitals” in the United States. Elizabeth J. Ferrell Fetal Health Center delivers first child; Children’s Mercy Broadway outpatient clinics open. Center for Pediatric Genomic Medicine opens to develop DNA tests to unravel the mystery of genetic diseases.

2012: Children’s Mercy East opens; Wichita clinics open; Elizabeth Ann Hall Patient Tower opens on Hospital Hill (which was renamed in 2013 the Adele Hall Campus.)

2013: Clinics open in St. Joseph and Joplin, Mo. Children’s Mercy Blue Valley, with Sports Medicine and Urgent Care clinics, opens in south Overland Park.

2014: Fetal Surgery and Heart Transplant programs added. Number of employees exceeds 6,000, number of volunteers tops 1,000 and doctors on the medical staff is more than 700.

2015: Children’s Mercy South in Overland Park, Kansas is renamed Children’s Mercy Hospital Kansas 

2016: Children’s Mercy received Magnet recognition for the fourth time since 2003 (2003, 2007, 2012, 2016), becoming the first hospital in Missouri or Kansas to earn four consecutive designations.