National Jewish Medical and Research Center History

Long time ago, in the nineteenth century, it was believed that the only cure to Consumption (today called Tuberculosis) was clean air and sunshine. Consumption patients would look for sunny places in order to recover from the dreadful disease. In the United States, the sunny South-western states became famous for Consumption ridden patients.

People of the community of Denver, Colorado, objected to penny-less Consumption ridden patients coming into their town and dying because of the disease. It was during this time that the then popular charity worker Frances Wisebart Jacobs noticed the need to provide shelter to care for and look after these people.

With the help of Rabbi William Sterne Friedman, she got funds to buy land and construct a hospital. The hospital was constructed in the year 1893 but did not function due to economic depression and lack of funds.

In 1899, Rabbi Friedman convinced a Jewish organization, B'nai B'rith to annually fund the hospital. With this fund, on December 10, 1899, the Frances Wisebart Jacobs Hospital was renamed to National Jewish Hospital for Treatment of Consumption and began its services as a non-sectarian institution. It gained popularity for its services to everyone who came there for treatment. The treatment included clean air, sunshine, exercise, small medications and above all education on the disease.

In 1914, the first building where the research on tuberculosis could be done was erected and extensive research was done there. It joined the team to fight against Tuberculosis.

When Tuberculosis became manageable disease in the United States in the 1950s, the National Jewish Heath widened its research and services to other respiratory disorders like asthma and immunity related diseases. By the end of 1960s, it specialized in the research and development of medicines that tackled Mycobacterial diseases. Its Mycobaterial help line exists even today.

National Jewish Health still remains committed to providing its findings in research to the treatment of respiratory diseases. It has broadened the range of its services worldwide.


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