Founded in 1870 in Manhattan by The Sisters of the Community of St. Mary, the hospital started off as a 15-bed facility. It was established as New York City’s first hospital for acutely ill children.
In 1951, St Mary’s moved to a new nine-acre campus in Bayside, where it currently operates a 124-bed inpatient program. In 1983, the health care system added a family-centered home care program as well.
Dr. Edwin Simpser, St. Mary’s president and CEO, said there was no way that a small group of Episcopal nuns could have ever conceived of the organization that St. Mary’s would eventually become.
“From a little 15-bed, acute care hospital in Hell’s Kitchen, we’ve become one of the premiere, pediatric post-acute health systems throughout the country,” he said, “if not throughout the world.”
Simpser noted that they are taking care of more children in their inpatient facility and community programs than even he thought when he arrived at St. Mary’s in 1999 as the chief medical officer.
He said the success and longevity is a testament to the staff, who provide the “highest quality of care” everyday to New York’s sickest kids.
“I think all of us are building the foundation for the next wonderful 150 years of care for New York’s kids,” Simpser said.
State Senator John Liu, Assemblyman Edward Braunstein and a representative from Congressman Tom Suozzi’s office marked the 150th anniversary with a state proclamation.
Liu recalled the first time he visited St. Mary’s 150 years ago, including walking through the hallways and seeing some of the patients. He said it was very difficult to see children in need who were suffering from serious disabilities.
In the ensuing years, Liu said, he realized the “incredible beauty” of the children who are persevering, as well as the staff who help “bring out the enormous potential that all of these children have.”
“Now 150 years later, St. Mary’s has become a world-renowned institution,” he said, “because of the work all of you have done.”
Braunstein added that St. Mary’s is one of his top priorities when it comes to funding in the budget.
“We appreciate the work that you do,” he said in a message to the staff. “We have your back in Albany.”
In 2012, St. Mary’s Hospital for Children opened a children’s pavilion, featuring treatment rooms and rehabilitation center.
Last year, the hospital completed a 10,000-square-foot expansion of its pediatric facilities, providing 27 ventilator-equipped beds.
“We’re providing state-of-the-art level of care, cutting-edge care within the post-acute pediatric arena,” Simpser said. “We’re very proud of that work.”
The St. Mary’s Hospital president said what he’s most proud of is that the organization does not “sit on our laurels.”
“Instead, we’re always looking to do more and to do better,” he added. “I see a bright future because we have a team of people here that are innovating, that are thinking about what’s next in the pediatric health care arena.”