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History of the Clinical Center

2023 marks the 70th anniversary of the NIH Clinical Center. Explore the hospital's history and check out the events planned to celebrate 70 years of discoveries!

photo of the south side of the NIH Clinical Center in the 1950s

Throughout the 1940s, as the National Institutes of Health institutes launched investigations of the big killers of the day, it became clear that the NIH needed a place to conduct research on patients. In 1944, Public Law 78-410, the Public Health Service Act authorized the establishment of the NIH Clinical Center, and the hospital opened its doors in July 1953.

Since then, the Clinical Center has gone through many expansions and changes, but remains steadfastly true to our mission to provide a model environment for clinical research, patient care and training future generations of clinician scientists.

The Clinical Center now consists of two main facilities.

The original Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center is a 14-story, 2.5-million-square-feet building made from seven million bricks, with more than 5,000 rooms, nine miles of corridor, 15 outpatient clinics and a Department of Laboratory Medicine housed in a space the size of a football field.

The 870,000-square-foot Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center has 200 inpatient beds and 93 day-hospital stations. Groundbreaking for the CRC was in November 1997, and dedication ceremonies were Sept. 22, 2004.

New construction projects now underway will further enhance research capabilities and the patient experience of the Clinical Center.

Explore our rich history.

NIH Clinical Center north view in 2022.

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This page last updated on 07/07/2023

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