Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital celebrates 100 years of pediatric care 

May 12, 2022 – Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital is celebrating a major milestone – its 100th birthday – with leaders marking a century of pediatric care excellence and service to children throughout the Intermountain West by renewing their Primary Promise to keep the ‘Child First and Always’.  

Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital has grown from an act of compassion for one child, to delivering premier pediatric care to 100,000 children a year, regardless of their ability to pay.  

The hospital launched in a home near Temple Square and soared into a multi-campus care network spanning 400,000 square miles across the Intermountain West. Its services have grown from orthopedics and chronic disease care to treating the most complex child injuries and illnesses, from organ transplants to in-womb and open fetal surgeries with University of Utah Health. 

Primary Children’s Hospital was inspired by Louie B. Felt and May Anderson, officers of the Primary Association, the children’s program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who were touched by the sight of a child on crutches struggling along a city street. 

Realizing the need for special medical help for children, the Primary Association sponsored the treatment of 72 children in a children’s ward created at LDS Hospital in 1911. 

In 1922, the Primary Association opened the first Primary Children’s Hospital at 40 W. North Temple, across from Salt Lake City’s Temple Square. The hospital mainly served children with orthopedic and chronic diseases, and who needed convalescent care following surgeries at LDS Hospital, which resulted in an average six-month stay. 

Primary Children’s Hospital was made possible by philanthropy, including Pennies by the Inch, in which Latter-day Saint Primary children donated pennies each birthday, and annual Penny Parades held in hundreds of Intermountain area towns and farming districts. 

Today, Primary Children’s provides more than 60 medical and surgical pediatric specialties with more than 800 physicians and 3,000 caregivers. It provided $14 million in charitable dollars to cover 11,867 patient visits in 2020 alone.  

Its specialty care now is available in clinic locations, partner community hospitals, and via pediatric telehealth in Utah, Nevada, Montana, Idaho, and Montana locations, bringing expert pediatric care to children closer to home.  

The new Grant Scott Bonham Fetal Center in the hospital’s new north tower provides multi-specialty fetal care and surgeries to unborn children and their mothers and families in close partnership with University of Utah Health.  
 
The most fragile infants are cared for in a state-of-the art newborn intensive care unit. Later this year, children with cancer will receive expert care in upgraded healing spaces and infusion areas more accommodating to childhood and family needs.   

“As a pediatric critical care physician who trained at Primary Children’s Hospital, I’ve seen firsthand the amazing care provided to each child,” said Marc Harrison, MD, president and CEO of Intermountain Healthcare. “I’m proud to have been part of Primary Children’s first 100 years and look forward to the next century of advancements that will help children live healthier lives.” 

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