In 1981, Thomas E. Starzl, MD, PhD, was recruited to head the Transplant Surgery Department at Pitt’s School of Medicine. Pittsburgh soon became the world’s leader in transplant surgery, and Children’s Hospital quickly grew into the world’s largest pediatric transplant center.

Spirits were sky high in January of 1986 when the Main Tower became the home for Children’s 210 patient beds. Gone were the wards with several patients sharing space. The state-of-the-art now was private and semi-private rooms with private baths and bed chairs for parents. From the two-level underground parking garage to the helipad atop the tower, every aspect of Children’s new $92 million home was welcomed.

The latter part of 1986 held excitement for the hospital again when the Benedum Pediatric Trauma Program was granted accreditation by the Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation. Children’s was one of only three accredited pediatric trauma programs in the state and the sole program serving the children in the western half of the commonwealth.

Children’s Hospital headed north in 1988 with the opening of an outpatient satellite in Wexford, Pa. Children’s North extends services and conveniences into the rapidly growing northern suburbs and provides a more direct link to hospital specialty services for community physicians.

The link between Children’s Hospital and the government strengthened in 1988. The federal government awarded a $15 million appropriation to Children’s for the establishment of a pediatric research center. The hospital used the funding to purchase and renovate the Shanahan Storage Building. In June of 1990 that building was unveiled as the John G. Rangos Sr. Research Center, home to many pediatric research developments.

The past serves as the foundation upon which the future is built. And in recognition, Children’s launched its celebration of the StarBright Centennial in October 1989. The celebration, which concluded in mid-1991, re-emphasized the hospital’s mission of patient care, research, and education.

Taken from the Spring 1990 issue of Children's Hospital's COLORS magazine