City of Hope National Medical Center

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CITY OF HOPE NATIONAL MEDICAL CENTER , medical center under Jewish auspices. Initially conceived as a haven for those stricken with tuberculosis (tb), City of Hope began when volunteers pitched two tents in 1914. By 2004, City of Hope had reached many historic milestones, leading to the organization's reputation as an internationally recognized biomedical research institution focusing on cancer, diabetes, hiv/aids, and other life-threatening diseases. From its very beginning, City of Hope was blessed with visionaries from volunteer leadership to a forward-thinking medical, research, and administrative staff.

This history-laden journey to greatness can be traced to 1912, when the streets of Los Angeles rapidly filled with desperate tb victims. The death of a young tailor from St. Louis sparked a group of Los Angeles businessmen and neighbors, principally those in the garment industry, to establish the Jewish Consumptive Relief Association. Developed clearly not only in response to the problem of tb but also the exclusion of Jews from available sanatoria, they vowed to build a sanatorium that would never bar a human being on the basis of race, creed, or national origin, and that care would be rendered free to all those suffering from tb.

In 1912, 35 men and women met at the Music Hall in Los Angeles, and all agreed to "bind ourselves together and organize for the purpose of raising funds and establishing suitable quarters for the aid, cure and comfort of our brothers and sisters afflicted with tuberculosis…." A charter was granted in May 1913, officially establishing the Los Angeles Sanatorium under the auspices of the Jewish Consumptive Relief Association of Southern California. A volunteer-driven organization, the institution was destined to become a national movement, with its mission of helping the afflicted "to find a new hope, a new healthy body and a new useful life."

Following the purchase in December 1913 of 10 acres of land in Duarte, California, for $5,000, and the pitching of two old army tents in 1914, the place that would subsequently become known as City of Hope had taken physical form.

City of Hope held conventions of volunteers and board members every two years until 2001 when the frequency decreased to every three years. At the 1946 convention, volunteers voted to transform the institution from a tb sanatorium into a national medical center dedicated to the treatment and research of cancer and other devastating diseases.

Advances came quickly. In 1954, a Parent Participation Program was pioneered, so mothers and fathers could learn details about the care their child was receiving. A year later, a low-cost cobalt "bomb" was developed, enabling clinicians to administer radiation therapy to cancer patients in a cost-effective manner. Another milestone was reached in 1976, when City of Hope became one of only six medical centers nationally to institute a Bone Marrow Transplantation Program, advancing cancer treatment profoundly. In 1978, recombinant dna technology was developed at City of Hope that led to the first product of biotechnology approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a type of synthetic insulin that is now used by more than 4 million people with diabetes worldwide.

In 1983, a $10 million grant from Dr. Arnold and Mabel Beckman established City of Hope's Beckman Research Institute, securing its place as a renowned research center. And in 1998 the National Cancer Institute designated City of Hope a Comprehensive Cancer Center – one in a select group in the U.S. to be so named.

In 2001, a $36 million contribution from Betty and Irwin Helford, the largest gift ever made to City of Hope, provided major funding for the Helford Clinical Research Hospital, which opened in 2005.

[Deborah K. Swanson (2nd ed.)]

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City of Hope National Medical Center

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