Progressive Pediatrics masthead

Celebrating 100 years and the promise of a better future

We’re celebrating our 100th anniversary this year at Children’s Minnesota. A birthday like this deserves attention. It’s an opportunity to do some important things:

  • Celebrate our legacy; the collective impact we’ve had on children’s health over an entire century.
  • Express gratitude to all the people who’ve made our work helping kids possible: our staff, patients and families, donors and community partners.
  • Take stock of where we are now and where we’re headed. What will children and families need from us in the future?
  • Learn about our history and also learn from our history.

My wish would be for everyone to feel proud of Children’s Minnesota and our long legacy. For everyone to see themselves in our story. But, at the same time, I understand some people might not see themselves or feel included in our history.

Like many longtime organizations, for most of our existence, Children’s Minnesota had mostly white, male leadership. Early historical photos show little diversity among our staff and patients.

Children's Hospital Medical Staff Circa 1938
A photo from our archives shows Children's Hospital medical staff around 1938.

For historical context, just five years before we opened our doors in 1924, women didn’t yet have the right to vote in America. It would be more than 40 more years until the voting rights of Black and Native Americans would be fully protected.

Nursing class about 1960
A photo from our archives shows what appears to be a nursing class around 1960.

We know that in the U.S. and Minnesota people who are Black, Latino, Asian, Native, disabled, LGBTQ+ and female faced — and still face — barriers on many fronts including education, employment and housing.

In medicine, there’s a long history of discrimination against particular groups of people who seek care as well as those who provide care. Not until the early 1950s did the Twin Cities have a private hospital, Mount Sinai, that allowed “minority doctors on its medical staff.” This article notes that by the early 90s, all Twin Cities hospitals were finally “open to doctors of all races and religions.”

We can’t change our history, but it is important to acknowledge it. And to acknowledge that not everyone will want to celebrate it.

It’s also important to acknowledge progress. Structural racism and health disparities persist in our community. But today we’re openly naming them. More importantly, we’re taking action at Children’s Minnesota to address them, inside our hospitals and clinics and also out in the community.

Children’s Minnesota is actively listening to the children and families we serve and adapting to meet their needs. We’re actively working to ensure that the demographics of our staff match the demographics of our patients; that we’re a place where all who walk through our doors feel valued, included and welcome.

Like the kids we serve, Children’s Minnesota is growing and changing. With our dedicated focus on health equity, we are writing a new chapter of Children’s Minnesota history.

Smiling female doctor listens to heartbeat of young patient
Dr. Stephanie Ann Fritch Lilla with a patient at Children's Minnesota.
Marc Gorelick, president and CEO

Marc Gorelick, MD
President, chief executive officer

Marc Gorelick, MD, is the president and chief executive officer (CEO) at Children's Minnesota. He is deeply committed to advocacy issues that impact children's health, sustainability and advancing diversity, equity and inclusion.

Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Julianna Olsen