July 6, 2003 marks the 50th anniversary of the first patient admission to the NIH Clinical Center. Press clippings from that day heralded a state-of-the-art medical facility with unique research capabilities and a commitment to improving the nation's health. Oveta Culp Hobby, the Secretary of Welfare, remarked, "We are now carrying on in the United States the most intensive and widespread research attack on human disease that the world has ever seen." Fifty years later, the Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center remains a national focal point for clinical research.
Today we celebrate the patients and staff who have helped to make the Clinical Center a place of compassionate care and extraordinary scientific achievement. The Clinical Center is more than a large brick building. Throughout the years, dedicated scientists partnering with remarkable patients and devoted staff have created the perfect environment for long-term clinical research studies. As we pause to look at the past, our many accomplishments remind us of the potential for the future.
Thank you for making the Clinical Center a special place.
John I. Gallin, M.D., director of the NIH Clinical Center, July 9, 2003
Individuals with a visionary commitment to biomedical research founded the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center more than 50 years ago. On January 16, 1948, words from the United States House Appropriations Subcommittee on the initial Clinical Center construction appropriation, attested to this commitment: "…this Committee unanimously, on both sides, without regard to party or politics or anything else, is supremely interested in this matter of providing proper clinical research facilities that will bring the sufferer, the human patient, into direct contact with the researchers. The time has come to recognize that we must provide trained people—clinicians and techniciansand researchers—and at the same time give to suffering humanity, which has these diseases, the opportunity to be studied…."
In the ensuing years, there has been a great deal of growth and change in biomedicine. The NIH Clinical Center, then and now, continues to set the stage for the synthesis of medicalknowledge—knowledge that has radically improved the prospects of human health. Many past milestones and the exciting future that lies ahead will be recognized as the Clinical Center marks its fiftieth anniversary in 2003 during special activities planned throughout the year.