Our History

historyThe history of The University of Kansas Health System is a tale of triumph. From humble beginnings, we have evolved into a destination academic medical center sought out by patients and top-notch medical professionals from around the country. Our reputation as the region’s premier academic medical center was hard earned through a collective vision and commitment to unmatched patient care.

Hospital origins

With his donation of land in 1905, Simeon Bell, MD, set the stage for academic medicine in Kansas City and the region. His gift led to the establishment of a hospital founded in 1906 as part of the University of Kansas School of Medicine.

The hospital marked an important milestone in 1998, when it became an independent hospital authority, receiving no state funding and no longer part of the School of Medicine. The hospital's official name became The University of Kansas Hospital.

Hospital milestones

  • 2000: Level 1 Trauma Center is verified. The region’s only nationally verified center, ensuring the highest-quality care for trauma victims.
  • 2001: World-class cardiac care program is established. Mid-America Cardiology and MidAmerica Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeons join the hospital to establish a world-class comprehensive cardiac care program for patients throughout the region. The Center for Advanced Heart Care later opens in 2006.
  • 2006: Hospital earns Magnet accreditation. Recognition indicates high-quality patient care and nursing excellence.
  • 2007: Westwood, Kansas, outpatient cancer care facility opens. A $20 million gift from Annette Bloch enhances patient care programs, and the facility is named the Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Care Pavilion.
  • 2010: Burns & McDonnell High-Risk Prostate Cancer Prevention Program is established. Burns & McDonnell announces $1 million gift.
  • 2011: Hospital becomes the official healthcare provider of the Kansas City Royals. In 2012, the hospital becomes the official healthcare provider of the Kansas City Chiefs. 
  • 2012: The University of Kansas Cancer Center becomes one of just 68 facilities nationwide to earn National Cancer Institute designation.
  • 2012: Hospital earns Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center designation. The hospital is the first in Kansas City to earn this designation for high-quality stroke care.
  • 2012: Indian Creek Campus opens. The University of Kansas Hospital – Indian Creek Campus in Johnson County, Kansas, helps meet increased demand for surgical care.
  • 2013: Center for Transplantation opens. The center provides comprehensive care for liver, kidney and pancreas transplant patients in one location.
  • 2013: U.S. News & World Report names us one of the nation’s best hospitals. The magazine lists us among the nation’s top 50 hospitals for adult care in nine medical and surgical specialties. We are also named the No. 1 hospital in Kansas City, the region and the state of Kansas. We have made the Best Hospitals list every year since 2007.
  • 2013: Blood and marrow transplant program provides more than 2,000 transplants. The region’s largest blood and marrow transplant program established in 1977, offers lifesaving procedures for leukemia, lymphoma and other blood cancers.
  • 2017: Building north of the hospital on Cambridge proposed to open. This addition will provide complex treatment options for more patients. 

A legacy of excellence

Building on a legacy of patient care that began in 1906, the hospital – and its campus partners, the University of Kansas Medical Center and The University of Kansas Physicians – set our sights on becoming the best in the nation. Today, the hospital is consistently ranked among top hospitals in quality and safety by The University HealthSystem Consortium’s Quality and Accountability Study. We have also been nationally ranked since 2007 among U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals, and have been named the best hospital in Kansas City for eight consecutive years.

Learn more about our accomplishments, including national and regional awards.