Our History

Learn more about St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children’s history, from its 1870 founding, its many pioneering firsts and position as a national leader in pediatric healthcare.

Founded in 1870 in Manhattan by The Sisters of the Community of St. Mary, the then 15-bed St. Mary’s was New York City’s first hospital for acutely ill children—a mission we have continued for over 145 years.

The Sisters of the Community of St. Mary had an idea to establish a facility to provide free care for sick and needy children. Founded in Manhattan in 1870 with just 15 beds and limited funding, St. Mary’s hospital was the first private medical institution in New York dedicated to the care of acutely ill children. In 1951, St. Mary’s flagship facility was moved to a nine acre campus in Queens where it currently operates a 97-bed inpatient program. In 1983, St. Mary’s added a family-centered home care program to care for children with the highest levels of medical complexity.

During the 140 years since its inception, St. Mary’s has continuously re-evaluated its focus and services to meet the emerging needs of new generations of children and their families as a multi-denominational organization. Through our strong commitment to patient care and education, we have kept our commitment to the founders, the Sisters of St. Mary, to turn children with the most complex medical conditions into happier, healthier, and stronger kids.

Historic Photo


Flagship facility moves to our current 103-bed, nine-acre campus in Queens.


Breakthrough department of therapy and rehabilitation program launches; remains center for state-of-the art approaches and technology.


St. Mary’s pioneers New York’s first long-term home care program for children and young adults with disabilities and medically complex conditions.


We initiate the nation’s first pediatric palliative care program.


St. Mary’s introduces New York’s first—and only—intensive day patient program specializing in the evaluation and treatment of pediatric feeding and swallowing disorders.


St. Mary’s home care for kids becomes a special needs certified home health agency (CHHA).


The children’s pavilion opens and children move in. This total-healing environment for both patients and their families features patient neighborhoods, treatment rooms and the Dr. Burton Grebin rehabilitation center.


Opening of the education and family pavilion, home to PS23Q, an on-site public school for inpatients and the Queens Borough President Helen Marshall Early Education Center, a preschool for community children with medical complexities.


Our capital renovation project is underway to build the center for respiratory care, which will feature 27 vent-equipped beds in a total-healing environment to address the critical shortage of ventilator equipped beds so our city’s sickest children—and their families—can breathe easier.