History

  • 1950: Doors Open

    1950: On March 20, 1950, Variety Children's Hospital opens to the public, fulfilling the vision of Dr. Arthur Weiland, who organized acquisition of land for the new hospital.

  • 1950s: The Polio Years

    1955: Just as the polio epidemic was encompassing the United States, Variety Children’s Hospital was soon deemed the southern center for children suffering from polio. In 1955, Dr. Jonas Salk develops the cure for the disease.

  • 1958: Teaching Hospital

    1958: The hospital becomes a teaching hospital to prepare doctors in the field of pediatrics.

  • Early 1960s

    1960: Variety Children's Hospital becomes a haven for young Cuban refugee children who need medical care.

  • 1964: Expansion

    1964: Variety Children's Hospital begins a $2.5 million expansion, increasing its bed count and adding new outpatient facilities.

  • 1965: ICU

    1965: The hospital opens its first intensive care unit.

  • 1965: Post Graduate Course

    1965: The hospital offers the first post-graduate training course in pediatrics. Today the annual conference draws pediatricians from around the world.

  • 1979: Child Life

    1979: The hospital creates the first Child Life programs, providing child development experts to enhance the care experience of patients.

  • 1982: A Foundation for Growth

    1982: When Miami community leader Ambassador David M. Walters lost his precious granddaughter to leukemia, he vowed that no child would ever need to leave South Florida to receive the highest caliber of medical care. In 1982, Ambassador Walters activated Miami Children's Health Foundation to meet that pledge, making possible the expansion of many programs needed to meet the needs of the children of South Florida.

  • 1983: A New Name

    1983: Variety Children's Hospital is renamed Miami Children's Hospital, its steady march to international prominence begins.

  • 1986: Expanding Facilities

    1986: A new 231,000 square-foot hospital is dedicated, featuring a freestanding pediatric trauma center, one of only two in the region.

  • 1991: Bone Marrow Transplants

    1991: Miami Children's opens a Bone Marrow Transplant Unit.

  • 1992: Research

    1992: The hospital's George E. Batchelor Research and Academic Pavilion opens.

  • 1995: CICU

    1995: The Heart Program at Miami Children's Hospital expanded with the opening of the region's first pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.

  • 1996: Radio Lollipop

    1996: Miami Children's Hospital becomes the first hospital in the United States to offer Radio Lollipop, an in-house radio station.

  • 1996: Flight Transport

    1996: The hospital's critical care transport program was renamed LifeFlight™ after a helicopter was added to the ground transport fleet to bring critically ill children to the hospital for care.

  • 1998: Outpatient Services

    1998: Miami Children's Hospital Dan Marino Outpatient Center opens in Weston, Florida.

  • 2001: Brain Institute

    2001: Miami Children's Brain Institute is founded to serve the neurological and neurosurgical needs of children.

  • 2003: Magnet Recognition

    2003: The hospital becomes one of the first pediatric facilities in the nation to achieve Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). The Magnet designation recognizes nursing staff for meeting the rigorous quality indicators and standards of nursing practice as defined by the American Nurses Association’s Scope and Standards for Nurse Administrators.

  • 2006: FIU Affiliation

    2006: Miami Children's Hospital affiliates with Florida International University College of Medicine to support pediatric medical education.

  • 2008: Doral

    2008: Miami Children's Hospital Doral Outpatient Center begins serving patients.

  • 2009: Michael Fux Family Center

    2009: The Michael Fux Family Center opens on the main campus, offering services and conveniences to delight patient families, including a movie theater, laundry facilities, kitchen, library and more.

  • 2010: Nicklaus Care Center

    2010: Miami Children's forges what becomes a transformational relationship with the Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation, leading to the opening of the Miami Children's Nicklaus Care Center in western Palm Beach county.

  • 2011: Together for the Children

    2011: Together For The Children, The Campaign For Miami Children's, a capital campaign, is launched to support development of the Advanced Pediatric Care Pavilion and other endeavors.

  • 2012: Expanding Network

    2012: Miami Children's opens three new outpatient centers, including Miami Children's Nicklaus Outpatient Center in Legacy Place, Palm Beach Gardens, Miami Children's Midtown Outpatient Center and Miami Children's Miramar Outpatient Center.

  • 2012: Telemedicine

    2012: A new Telehealth Command Center opens on the main campus, enabling the hospital to serve children around the world.

  • 2012: Breaking Ground for the Future

    2012: Miami Children's Hospital breaks ground on the planned 212,000 square-foot Advanced Pediatric Care Pavilion. The new structure offers an enhanced care environment for children receiving critical care treatment and their families.

  • 2013: Health System

    2013: Miami Children's Health System is established as the umbrella organization for the hospital, the network of outpatient centers, the employed physician group and several business ventures.

  • 2015: A New Name

    2015: Miami Children's Hospital is renamed Nicklaus Children's Hospital, in honor of a $60 million pledge from the Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation.

  • 2017: One Brand

    2017: Miami Children’s Health System undergoes a name change to align the health system with the branding and identity of its flagship, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. The health system becomes Nicklaus Children’s Health System in recognition of the continued support from the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation and its founders, golf icon Jack Nicklaus and his wife Barbara.

  • 2019: ISO 9001 Certification

    2019:  Nicklaus Children’s Hospital has announced the successful completion of its ISO 9001 Quality Management System certification by DNV GL. Nicklaus Children’s is the second freestanding children’s hospital in the nation to obtain this certification.

  • 2019: Fetal Care Delivery Unit

    2019: Nicklaus Children's Hospital Opens Special Delivery Unit for High-Risk Infants. This special delivery unit for high-risk infants is located on the hospital's main campus and features five labor and delivery rooms, five antepartum rooms, and two operating rooms. The hospital works with community obstetricians to coordinate a plan of care for the infant before, during and after delivery.

This is the story of a small specialty hospital for children that grew and grew to become a nationally ranked pediatric hospital and the region’s only healthcare system exclusively for children.

Once Upon A Time

Our story begins on Christmas Eve in 1928, when the manager of the Sheridan Square Theater in Pittsburgh found an abandoned baby girl in his theater.
A note signed by a Heartbroken Mother pleaded: "Please take care of my baby. Her name is Catherine. I can no longer care for her. I have eight others. My husband is out of work. She was born on Thanksgiving Day. I have always heard of the goodness of show business and I pray you will look after my little girl.

Variety Club, Tent #1, an 11-member club composed of show business people, was meeting that night. The group agreed to care for the infant and because of Catherine, unfortunate and needy children became the special interest of show business professionals.

In the 1940s, Miami Tent #33 of Variety Clubs International was founded. Its goal was to help indigent children. Variety Club soon joined forces with a new hospital that was being built outside Coral Gables and in need of financial assistance. Thanks to the founding vision of Dr. Arthur H. Weiland, Variety Children’s Hospital opened its doors on March 20, 1950, just as the polio epidemic was encompassing the United States. Variety Children’s Hospital was soon deemed the southern center for children suffering from polio. Throughout the years, the hospital continued to grow and offer new services to meet the needs of the community.

The Foundation For Growth

When Miami community leader Ambassador David M. Walters lost his precious granddaughter to leukemia, he vowed that no child would ever need to leave South Florida to receive the highest caliber of medical care. In 1982, Ambassador Walters activated Miami Children's Health Foundation to meet that pledge, making possible the expansion of many programs needed to meet the needs of the children of South Florida. In 1983, the hospital was renamed Miami Children’s Hospital and began its steady march to international prominence.

A Dazzling New Campus

Starting in 2001, Miami Children’s Hospital began transforming the campus, creating a care setting to match the caliber of its medical programs. The newly rebuilt main campus delighted children and families alike with its colorful forms and family friendly interiors. Features included the Michael Fux Family Center, a facility that includes a movie theater, computer-equipped family and children’s libraries, kitchen and laundry facilities, as well as a small fitness gym for families.

Nicklaus Children’s Today

Our flagship hospital turned 65 years young in 2015. Over the decades, the hospital has touched – and often transformed – the lives of countless children and families and supported them throughout their healthcare journey. As we celebrated this milestone birthday, we also embraced a new name and logo. We are now Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, in recognition of a generous pledge from the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation.

Our name may have changed over the years, but our legacy lives on, enriched all the more by our association with the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation. No children’s hospital in the region has a longer commitment or more experience in helping children in need. Virtually everyone in South Florida has been impacted, or knows someone whose life was touched, by Nicklaus Children’s Health System.

Historical Timeline