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History of Shriners Children's Northern California

Established: April 1997

Motivated by a need for a pediatric burn center on the West Coast, the Shriners philanthropy built a multidisciplinary facility in the heart of a rapidly growing region of Northern California.

Shriners Children's Northern California opened at its current location in 1997. The hospital moved from an older building in San Francisco to Sacramento, where it is now located on the campus of the UC Davis Medical Center. This proximity has allowed both institutions to attract medical talent that might not otherwise have been drawn here – like Diana Farmer, M.D., one of the nation’s most prominent fetal surgeons and the second American female ever to be elected to the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

Shriners Children's is extremely well-regarded for burn care and injury rehabilitation programs, and Shriners Children’s Northern California has a pediatric surgery program, the only one in the Shriners healthcare system.

A Collaborative Approach to Care

The proximity to the University of California Davis Medical Center, a vibrant academic medical community, promotes professional collaboration and allows young doctors to gain insight and expertise by working side-by-side with noted Shriners Children's specialists.

The collaborative approach to care inspires researchers to advance medicine in an environment where cross-pollination is a key to discovery. Advances in care are reflected in the lives of the children served. While patients come from all over the West Coast and beyond, the majority of Shriners Children’s Northern California patients come from the Greater Sacramento Metropolitan Area. Since the hospital opened in Sacramento, more than 80,000 children have received cared here.

Location Highlights

  • February 6, 1997: Shriners Hospitals for Children, San Francisco, an orthopedic program, moved to Sacramento, establishing the new Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California. Expanded services included burns and spinal cord injuries, and it was the first location to combine burn care with orthopedics. The new hospital almost doubled the size of the previous one, from 48 to 80 beds.
  • January 1999: The burn fellowship started at Shriners Children's/UC Davis (30 fellows in burn surgery trained through 2022).
  • 2000: Shriners Children's Northern California is first verified by the American Burn Association and American College of Surgeons (continuously verified since).
  • 2006–2007: David Greenhalgh, M.D., serves as President of the American Burn Association.
  • 2009: Tina Palmieri, M.D., founds the Data Coordinating Center for the American Burn Association Multicenter Trials Group (Housed at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California).
  • 2010: Institute for Regenerative Medicine opens in 27,000-square-foot facility on the sixth floor.
  • 2012–2013: Tina Palmieri, M.D., serves as President of the American Burn Association.
  • 2014: Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California launches its first major expansion. Both world-class doctors – Diana Farmer, M.D., and Shinjiro Hirose, M.D., on board by then. They established the first and only general pediatric surgery program in the Shriners Children's system. The program treats patients with chest wall malformations, gastro-intestinal disease, anorectal disorders, hernias, urologic disorders and more. Dr. Farmer is probably best known for her leading role in organizing the landmark Management of Myelomeningocele Study, which confirmed the benefit of fetal surgery for spina bifida. She was elected to the Royal College of Surgeons in the UK in 2010, only the second American female elected – ever!
  • 2016: Bowel management program, important in pediatric gastroenterology, begins. Payam Saadai, M.D., who leads the program, trained at one of the hospitals where bowel management was refined – Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio.
  • 2017: Shriners Hospitals for Children acquires a low-dose EOS X-ray machine. In 2020, it was the busiest EOS machine in the West. This location is the only pediatric hospital in Northern California to have one inside the facility.
  • 2021: David Greenhalgh, M.D., serves as President of the International Society for Burn Injuries.
  • 2021: Dr. Diana Farmer is elected president of the American Surgical Association.
  • 2022: Physical therapist Ingrid Parry becomes President of the American Burn Association (first non-physician).

Specialty pediatric care at shriners children's northern California

View More Northern California Care Options

Burn Care

Shriners Children’s treats all levels and types of burns, including chemical burns, electrical burns and flame burns. Our pediatric burn care treatment plans are personalized and can include wound care, scar management and reconstruction.

Colorectal & Gastrointestinal (GI)

Shriners Children's provides compassionate care for children with bowel disorders and digestive system issues.


Shriners Children’s provides the full spectrum of pediatric orthopedic care. It's everything from fracture care and casting for broken bones, to surgery and rehabilitation.

Pediatric Rehabilitation

Shriners Children's specializes in supporting your child physically, developmentally and emotionally to reach his or her pediatric rehabilitation and therapy goals.

Spine Surgery

At Shriners Children's, we explore all non-surgical options for your child's spine before considering surgery. If surgery is recommended, your child will be in the hands of our world renowned pediatric orthopedic surgeons.


Scoliosis is a condition where the spine is curved sideways. With advanced treatments and world-class expertise, Shriners Children's cares for more than 10,000 children with scoliosis each year

We Understand the Unique Medical Needs of Children

We provide vital, pioneering treatment from birth to age 18. Here, children have the opportunity to be evaluated and treated by doctors recognized as the best by their peers.