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Sacred Heart Children's Hospital
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History, Mission and Vision

Sacred Heart Hospital is the oldest Catholic hospital in Florida. Built in 1915 in Pensacola, the hospital was a joint effort between a group of local citizens and the Daughters of Charity, a religious order founded in 1633 that is dedicated to care for the poor and the sick, and provided specialized care for children with an entire pediatric ward.

After 50 years in its original stone structure on Twelfth Avenue, Sacred Heart Hospital relocated in 1965 to a new hospital off Ninth Avenue in Pensacola, across from Cordova Mall.

Soon after the hospital opened, a group of pediatricians in the community led by Dr. Reed Bell and Dr. John Whitcomb approached administrator Sister Anne William with a proposal to convert the former nursing school dormitory into a children’s hospital. The Daughters responded to a community need and agreed to create the area’s only children’s hospital.

Dr. Whitcomb reacted by saying, “This wonderful new facility will make possible the finest health and medical care for the children in this area…It will enable us to establish a pediatric residency training program …It will further enable us to concentrate the highly specialized pediatric nursing talent in one location to best serve the needs of patients…”

The vision of Dr. Bell and Dr. Whitcomb came true. The Children’s Hospital opened at Sacred Heart in 1969. Soon to follow was the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), led by Dr. Edward Westmark, founding medical director for neonatology at The Children’s Hospital and the first board-certified neonatologist in Northwest Florida.

In 1993, Sacred Heart broke ground for construction of a new Children's Hospital and Women's Hospital. This new facility opened in August 1996. The expansion cemented Sacred Heart’s role as the region’s leader in providing specialized care to women, infants and children.

Learn more about the history of Sacred Heart Health System, and celebrate with us 100 years of serving Northwest Florida's healthcare needs.

Sacred Heart Health System has announced plans to care for a new generation of children starting with construction in 2016 of a new four-story Children’s Hospital, along with a major expansion to women’s services.

Learn more about the new Studer Family Children's Hospital at Sacred Heart.

Sacred Heart nurse cares for a child.

Historical photo of Sacred Heart Hospital.

Children's Hospital lobby before renovation.



To advance the health and well-being of children and their families through exceptional and compassionate care where they live, learn and play.  


To be the region’s premier children’s health system

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