NIH Clinical Center

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Historical Highlights: Clinical Center Profile 2002

The Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center is the clinical research hospital for the National Institutes of Health. Through clinical research, physician-investigators translate laboratory discoveries into better treatments, therapies and interventions to improve the nation’s health.

Important Events in Clinical Center History

November 1948
Construction of the Clinical Center was started.

Photo: President Truman at the cornerston ceremony.

President Truman at the cornerstone ceremony, June 22, 1951. Directly behind him are (left to right): NIH Director William H. Sebrell, Federal Security Administrator Oscar R. Ewing, primary contractor John McShain, and Surgeon General Leonard A. Scheele.

June 22, 1951
The cornerstone ceremony was officiated by Oscar R. Ewing, Federal Security Administrator. President Harry S. Truman was the honored guest.

July 2, 1953
Department of Health, Education and Welfare Secretary Oveta Culp Hobby dedicated the Clinical Center.

July 6, 1953
The first patient was admitted to the Clinical Center.

Sep. 5, 1963
Dr. Luther L. Terry, Surgeon General, dedicated a new surgical wing for cardiac and neurosurgery.

July 2, 1969
A dedication ceremony was held to name the Clinical Center’s Jack Masur Auditorium.

Apr. 1977
Construction of the ambulatory care research facility was started.

Nov. 1977
The Critical Care Medicine Department was established.

Oct. 22, 1981
The ambulatory care research facility was dedicated. The research hospital was renamed the Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center.

Sep. 20, 1982
The National Institute of Aging’s Laboratory of Neurosciences was dedicated.

Mar. 22, 1984
The first magnetic resonance imaging unit became operational for patient imaging.

Oct. 1984
The National Cancer Institute’s Radiation Oncology building was dedicated.

Apr. 13, 1985
The first two cyclotrons were delivered to the underground facility operated by the Nuclear Medicine Department.

Nov. 20, 1987
The Lipsett Amphitheater was dedicated.

Sep. 14, 1990
A 4-year-old patient with adenosine deaminate deficiency was the first to receive gene therapy treatment.

Apr. 8, 1991
The Department of Transfusion Medicine opened its state-of-the-art facility.

June 1992
The A-wing addition was completed, adding National Cancer Institute and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases labs focusing on AIDS research.

July 1993
The hematology/bone marrow unit opened to improve transplant procedures and develop gene therapy techniques.

May 1994
First multi-Institute unit designed and staffed for children opened.

Feb. 1996
Details on clinical research studies conducted at the Clinical Center are made available on the World Wide Web (, increasing opportunities for physicians to participate in NIH clinical investigations.

Oct. 1996
The Secretary of Health and Human Services, marking a new governing system for the Clinical Center, appointed a Board of Governors.

Photo: Groundbreaking of the new Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center.

On hand with shovels for the November 1997 groundbreaking of the new Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center were (left to right) were Jane Reese-Coulbourne, Sen. Arlen Specter, Dr. John Gallin, Sen. Mark Hatfield, Dr. Harold Varmus, Vice President Al Gore, Secretary of Health Donna Shalala, Rep. John Porter, and Charles Tolchin. Reese-Coulbourne and Tolchin were Clinical Center patients.

July 1997
To meet increasing investigative needs for cell products used in immunotherapy, gene therapy and stem cell transplantation, a cell processing facility was created.

Nov. 4, 1997
Vice President Al Gore and Senator Mark O. Hatfield attended groundbreaking ceremonies for the Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center.

Clinical Center Legislative Chronology

July 1, 1944
Public Law 78-410, the Public Health Service Act, authorized establishment of the Clinical Center.

July 8, 1947
Under Public Law 80-165, research construction provisions of the Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 1948 provided funds “For the acquisition of a site, and the preparation of plans, specifications and drawings, for additional research buildings and a 600-bed clinical research hospital and necessary accessory buildings related thereto to be used in general medical research….”

Dec. 12, 1980
Senate Joint Resolution 213 designated the Clinical Center as the “Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health.”

Sep. 12, 1996
House Resolution 3755, Section 218, named the new clinical research center at the National Institutes of Health as the Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center.

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