C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital dedicated in Michigan

Editor’s Note: On the occasion of the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Van Voigtlander Women’s Hospital at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, we are publishing an updated version of an article that originally appeared in the August 2005 edition of “Mott Mosaic.”

C.S. Mott Children's Hospital building exterior.
C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

In 2005, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation awarded the largest single grant in its history: $25 million in support of the construction of a new C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan (UM) in Ann Arbor. The grant served to cement the legacy of Charles Stewart Mott, the Flint-based philanthropist who through his foundation, donated grants totaling $6.5 million to make the original Mott Children’s Hospital possible.

On December 4, 2011, the new $754 million state-of-the-art hospital will open its doors, marking the occasion with the transfer of approximately 200 patients from the old facility.

Dr. Robert Kelch, who oversaw much of the new hospital’s construction when he served as CEO of the University of Michigan Health System from 2003-2009, was an intern at UM Hospital when the first Mott grants were awarded in 1964-65. At the time, he says, he was “so naive” he didn’t appreciate the magnitude of the gift.

“I was thrilled mainly because the money would support a new facility to care for children in great need,” he said.

The original hospital represented a huge advance in pediatric care for Michigan’s children and adolescents and an incomparable resource for seriously and chronically ill children, said Kelch.

The idea of a hospital solely dedicated to pediatrics was conceived in 1956, when the Michigan Legislature appropriated $63,000 for planning. However, it took almost a decade before ground was broken, after C.S. Mott pledged $6 million from his foundation. (The following year, the Foundation granted an additional $500,000.) The original grants leveraged federal funds as well as more than $1 million in individual gifts and bequests, enough to complete the $9 million project.

Mott Children’s Hospital opened its doors in 1969, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the UM Hospital, the first hospital in the U.S. to be owned and operated by a university for medical education.

The brightly colored interior of the Mott Women and Children's Hospital.
C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

The C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is recognized for its leadership in caring for young patients with congenital heart problems, craniofacial anomalies, intestinal disease, kidney problems, and communication and neurological disorders. It is also respected for its treatment of children requiring lung transplants, comprehensive cancer care and treatment in many other highly specialized areas.

The dedication of the original hospital coincided with an explosion in pediatric medical knowledge, according to Kelch. The addition of a modern facility focusing specifically on infant and children’s needs enabled the university “not only to keep pace, but to be a pace-setter.”

By the mid-1980s, Mott Children’s Hospital had expanded its expertise to an extraordinary number of pediatric specialties, including neonatal intensive care, thoracic surgery and organ transplants. To accommodate greater numbers of children, the hospital embarked on a renovation project, and received a $2 million grant from the Foundation in 1984.

In 1987, the UM Health System received a Certificate of Need for $46 million from the Michigan Department of Public Health to construct a Maternal and Child Health Center, which included major renovations to the children’s and women’s hospitals.

“The opportunity to work in a teaching and research hospital like Mott enables us to push the edge of knowledge forward,” Kelch said. “It offers physicians the chance to share their experience with the next generation of doctors and nurses — and be pushed by the questions young doctors ask.”