History, Mission, Vision & Values
The opening of the new Helen DeVos Children's Hospital on 1-11-11 marked a new era of children's health care in West Michigan. The 212-bed, 14-floor, 464,000 square foot facility represents more than four decades of steady progress in improving pediatric care and bringing pediatric specialists to the region.
Now children have a hospital dedicated exclusively to their health care needs. All of the care is provided by pediatric nurses, therapists and clinicians and there are more than 200 pediatric physicians in 50 pediatric specialties and programs.
The first important step was the opening of a small neonatal intensive care unit in 1973 at Butterworth Hospital. Led by visionaries John Wilson, MD, a pediatrician, and Leonard Radecki, MD, a neonatologist, the unit soon grew into a Level III regional center of specialized care for the most premature and critically ill newborns.
A Hospital Is Born
By the 1980s, additional needs became clear: More specialized care was needed to help more children—closer to home.
The first pediatric critical care unit opened in 1988 under the direction of Dominic Sanfilippo, MD. In 1989, James Fahner, MD, the region's first pediatric hematologist/oncologist, began a children's cancer program. In 1990, Robert Connors, MD, established the first dedicated pediatric surgery program.
As the number of children's specialists in the Grand Rapids area grew, so did the vision for building a children's hospital in West Michigan. With the help of local philanthropists and the community at large, that became a reality in 1993 with the opening of DeVos Children's Hospital at Butterworth Hospital.
In 1997, Butterworth and Blodgett hospitals merged to create Spectrum Health. The merger also brought together their inpatient pediatric programs and neonatal units into a 190-bed children's hospital within a hospital at Butterworth. The 103-bed neonatal center is the largest in Michigan and the 11th-largest in the country.
The next step in the vision was a dedicated children's hospital building on the Spectrum Health Medical Center campus. A $50 million gift by the children of Rich and Helen DeVos in honor of Helen jumpstarted a capital campaign that raised $103 million. In the fall of 2006, construction began for the new Helen DeVos Children's Hospital.
Spectrum Health's employees and physicians share a common mission: to improve the health of the communities we serve.
By 2020, Spectrum Health will be the national leader for health.