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History of Shriners Children's Philadelphia

Established: June 24, 1926

Former Mayor of Philadelphia, W. Freeland Kendrick, a Past Imperial Potentate and founder of the Shriners Hospitals for Children system, officially dedicated the Philadelphia Shriners Hospital on June 24, 1926. In 1980, the Philadelphia Shriners Hospital pioneered the nation's first pediatric spinal cord injury rehabilitation program. In 1998, the hospital moved to its current location in North Philadelphia on the Temple University Health Science Campus. In 2009, Shriners Hospitals Pediatric Research Center opened within the Temple University Medical Education and Research Building.

Today, Shriners Children's Philadelphia is a 49-bed pediatric specialty hospital, research and teaching center. The hospital is a leader in pediatric orthopedic care and spinal cord injury rehabilitation.

The hospital's reputation is far-reaching, with patients from over 55 countries having received care from our specialists. The staff practices family-centered care by providing resources and programs designed to assist the whole family during a child's treatment. Providing quality orthopedic medical care to children is our top priority.

Location Highlights

  • June 24, 1926: Opened
  • 1966: Chief of Staff Howard H. Steel, M.D., started the Puerto Rico outreach clinic, traveling to Puerto Rico twice a year and seeing more than 500 patients during each visit. This continues today.
  • 1967: Annual orthopedic research budget is $20,000.
  • 1980: Shriners Hospitals for Children in Philadelphia opened a spinal cord injury rehabilitation unit (one of the first).
  • 1991: Titanium rib surgery became available. This has an indirect effect of halting the progression or partially reversing scoliosis. The Philadelphia Shriners Hospital was only one of seven test sites worldwide.
  • 1998: Shriners Hospitals for Children — Philadelphia, moves to North Philadelphia. The new hospital is attached to Temple Children's Hospital to offer more extensive care to patients and families.
  • 1999: Functional electronic stimulation surgery is performed at the Philadelphia Shriners Hospital on a 14-year-old patient by the now emeritus chief of staff, Randal R. Betz, M.D. It was among one of the first surgeries of this type to be performed anywhere in the world.
  • 2000: Vertebral body wedge osteotomy system is a new technique that corrects scoliosis progression vs. permanent spine fusion.
  • 2003: Research department has a primary focus on functional electronic stimulation (FES). FES is used to provide upper extremity and lower extremity function to patients with a spinal cord injury.
  • 2004: New surgical treatments for scoliosis: vertebral body stapling as an alternative to bracing or spinal fusion for treatment of progressive scoliosis. Surgeons at the Philadelphia Shriners Hospital investigate several methods for fusionless stabilization or correction of spine deformity.
  • 2005: Hospital hires first pediatric neurosurgeon.
  • 2006: Research budget is $33 million. Philadelphia Shriners Hospital announces that the research department will expand and utilize part of the Temple University Medical Education and Research Building for additional research projects.
  • 2008: Pediatric intensive care unit opens.
  • 2012: First anterior vertebral body tethering case is done for less invasive spinal correction surgery for patients with remaining growth. This is an alternative to a spinal fusion.
  • 2013: EOS low dose radiation X-ray machine is installed.
  • 2014: First MAGEC rod is placed post-FDA clearance.
  • 2015: Scott H. Kozin, M.D., and Dan A. Zlotolow, M.D., participate in the first pediatric bilateral hand transplant.
  • 2018: Begin providing care for children with acute flaccid myelitis.
  • 2019: Anterior vertebral body tethering gains FDA clearance thanks to our lead in surgeries completed.

Specialty Pediatric care At Shriners Children's Philadelphia

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Shriners Children's provides care for broken bones, including open or compound fractures.


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.

Limb Deficiencies

Shriners Children's specializes in treating limb deficiencies, which occur when part or all of a child's limb does not completely form during pregnancy or as a result of a major injury.


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

Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injury occurs when nerves in the spinal column in the center of the back are damaged. Shriners Children’s offers advanced surgery options and therapy options to help restore your child’s function and mobility.

Sports Medicine

Shriners Children's provides pro-level care for injured young athletes in our sports medicine clinics. Seeing a doctor right away can stop an injury from getting worse and help avoid long-lasting damage.

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.