After a small pox outbreak in the settlement of Watson’s Mill near the center of population in Washoe Valley, county commissioners levy a property tax for a hospital fund that brings medical services to the community.
Renown President and CEO Jim Miller dresses as Abe Lincoln at this year’s Employee Service Awards to celebrate just how long the organization has been a part of our community.
The first hospital building is a former printing office and is purchased for $1000 from the hospital fund.
Happy Nevada Day!
Nevada officially becomes a state on October 31, 1864.
Reno is founded on May 9 on the Truckee River along the line of the Central Pacific Railroad as its construction moves eastward. The town is named after Civil War general Jesse Reno.
The Virginia & Truckee Railroad connects Reno with Carson City and Virginia City.
A Nevada State Journal reporter visits the hospital and writes, “…We found one old lady in the Hospital who made some complaint in regard to her room being uncomfortable during the past cold weather, and also that she was unable to get any good tea.”
A reporter from the Daily Nevada State Journal visits the hospital and writes, “…They [the patients] have the best of food, and there is not a private family in Reno that is blessed with purer milk, whiter bread, juicier roasts, fresher eggs or plumper chickens, as well as every known vegetable.”
The University of Nevada is relocated to Reno from Elko, where it had opened in 1874.
Gold and silver are discovered in Tonopah, bringing another boom to the state and Reno area.
The hospital is at full capacity with 40 patients and expansion is in the works. The Reno Evening Gazette reports, “…Many applications are made daily for admittance but unless the person is seriously injured or very sick it is denied, but in all cases medicine is furnished to those who need it.”
A 1903 Reno Evening Gazette reads, “…No sooner had he [hospital superintendent Joseph Odett] left the hospital grounds when trouble commenced. The windmill blew down and now the patients at the hospital drink beer instead of water.”
In 1904 a new hospital building is completed. “The structure, to say the least, is a work of art and is a credit not only to this county but to the entire State as well…The dining rooms, for the patients and attendants, are large and well lighted. The operating room, physician’s office, matron’s apartments, closets, etc., are nice enough to satisfy the most fastidious.”
This year proved disastrous for the Reno area. By November, there was an average of 3.33 deaths a day from influenza. Today, an annual flu shot and basic hand-washing are the best ways to prevent the flu.
The decade marked Reno’s notoriety as the divorce and marriage capital of the country. Couples elope to Reno to marry without delay and divorcees toss their wedding rings into the Truckee River.
To provide temporary relief from crowding in the hospital, twelve Quonset huts were bought from the Navy for $275 each. The huts housed employees and provided needed patients wards for pediatrics and patients with rheumatic heart disease.
Harold Smith, Sr., owner of Harold’s Club, gives the community its first professional hospital administrator, Clyde Fox, by paying a portion of the salary out of his own pocket.
In the 50s, doctors and nurses are featured as spokespersons for cigarettes. Today, we know that tobacco-related diseases are the leading cause of preventable death killing 440,000 people each year. Renown Health facilities are proud to be completely smoke and tobacco free.
In 1956 the hospital opens a school of practical nursing. Today Renown provides nursing faculty for University of Nevada, Reno and Truckee Meadows Community College.
Margene Bufkin joins the hospital as a nurse’s aide. Today Margene is a scrub tech in Labor and Delivery. Our hats are off to Margene for her 55 remarkable years of service…and counting.
The Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley filled the emergency room with Italian, Spanish and Swedish skiers suffering severe fractures and concussions. Interpreters were brought in to assist with communication between the athletes and physicians. One athlete/interpreter pair fell in love during the hospital stay and later married.
A 1975 hospital newsletter shows staff modeling nursing attire from the 1800s. Included is a prediction of RN uniforms for the 1980s. Locally, permission to wear pants was granted for nurses after “much discussion.”
On Thanksgiving afternoon, Priscilla Ford steered her black 1974 Lincoln onto the crowded sidewalks of downtown Reno killing six people and injuring 23 others. Fourteen people were transported to the hospital.
A Galaxy Airline charter plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Reno. All six crew members and 64 of 65 passengers died. The survivor, George Lamson, 17, was treated at the hospital.
The hospital transitions to a private, not-for-profit health network. That same year the hospital is designated northern Nevada’s Children’s Miracle Network hospital.
The hospital is selected to be the region’s only Level II Trauma Center providing services between Sacramento and Salt Lake. Since then, our community has seen plane crashes, bus accidents, train wrecks, fires, shootings, and more. In 2010, Renown Regional treated more than 81,000 emergency and trauma patients.
First introduced to celebrate the link between emotional and physical health, today’s Renown Healing Arts program offers two healing gardens, professional artwork, musical performances, pet therapy and more. We’ve partnered with many local arts organizations to create an environment that exceeds boundaries of traditional medicine.
James, Jennifer and baby Clayton Stolpa were stranded in a blizzard for five days east of Vya, Nevada. The family was eventually rescued and taken to the trauma center for treatment and recovery.
The first hospital history book by Dr. Anton Sohn and Carroll W. Ogren is published. Dr. Sohn practiced medicine at the hospital for 30 years and Carroll W. Ogren served as the hospital’s administrator from 1957 to 1978. The book and its research are the basis of much of our 150th timeline.
Between 1990 and 2000, south Reno’s population expanded at nearly twice the rate of the greater Reno-Sparks area. As Reno approached 225,000 residents, the heath network expanded to include a location on Double R Blvd that offers assisted living, acute rehabilitation and long-term care in south Reno.
Prompted by a 29% increase in hospital admissions since 1999, the health network expands its facility in south Reno. Renown South Meadows Medical Center is the first acute care hospital to open in Reno in nearly 20 years, offering some of the most advanced endoscopic and imaging technologies of the time.
The health network receives the Consumer Choice Award by the National Research Corporation and becomes the only one in Nevada named to the Top 100 Integrated Health Networks list. Renown has continued to receive these awards each year since.
The region’s first and only PET/CT for diagnosing and treating cancer patients, along with installation of the region’s first and only Bi-plane angiography to treat strokes. Bi-plane allows 3D viewing of the brain. PET/CT helps the physician with diagnosis and pinpointing the best approach to treatment.
The heath network begins a seven-year $50 million investment to transition to the EPIC Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system. EMR allows physicians and staff to coordinate patient care across settings, provides patients with online tools to be active in their care, and increases quality of care.
A tragedy usually precipitates organ donation, and many families of donor patients take comfort in knowing that their loved one’s gift will save someone else’s life. In 2005 the hospital becomes the only in northern Nevada to receive the Medal of Honor for Organ Donation by the US Department of Health and Human Services.
The Comprehensive Stroke Center is designated the only Certified Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission – becoming the only one in Nevada and one of only 192 in the nation. The program is recognized nationally for its work to bring faster treatment to stroke patients in rural areas.
The organization launches one of the biggest changes in our 142 year history – we become Renown Health . The new name better reflects the skill, expertise and technology employees and physicians bring to our community. As northern Nevada grew and changed; we evolved right along with it.
A primary care physician office and urgent care opens in Fernley. Today Renown offers dozens of Medical Groups , Urgent Cares , Lab Services , and X-ray and Imaging locations throughout northern Nevada. Additionally, Medical Group offices offer same-day appointments and Urgent Care hours include Sundays.
Working with Nevada Health Division, Sanofi-Pasteur (a vaccine manufacturer) and Washoe County District Health Department, Renown is the first in the nation to offer free vaccinations for family members as a protection for their newborn child against pertussis (whooping cough).
A new 10-story, state-of-the-art patient tower opens at Renown Regional Medical Center taking medicine to innovative heights. The Tahoe Tower features 190 new private patient suites; flat-screen TVs; 300 pieces of original artwork; valet parking locations; and wireless Internet access.
The Institute for Cancer receives accreditation with Commendation from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer as a Community Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Program. Accreditation is achieved by only 25 percent of all hospitals nationwide.
Reaching a milestone in 2007, this endowment fund continues to help Renown registered nurses pay for specialty certifications, receive continuing education and attend healthcare conferences. Community members, Renown employees and physicians are the primary contributors to the fund.
Renown is the first in the West to place the Cordis Enterprise Stent in two separate wide-neck brain aneurysm cases. The next year, it becomes the first site to perform Aortic Aneurysm Surgery in Nevada, and the first in northern Nevada to receive American Heart Association’s Quality Award for Stroke Care.
The postpartum unit gets a makeover! The new Baby & Family Suites offers 28 private suites, original artwork, flat screen TVs and sleep chairs. A new newborn nursery with built-in radiant warmers and a family viewing area is also added thanks to a generous $1 million donation by William N. Pennington.
The Reno Aces debuts its first season to sold-out crowds. Today, the team collaborates with Renown Children’s Hospital to brighten the day of our smallest patients.
Renown becomes first in the region to offer the TomoTherapy Hi-Art ® System for therapeutic radiation treatment of cancerous tumors. This means fewer side-effects, shorter treatment times, and treatment of patients who couldn’t receive more therapy. The hospital sets a world record for number of cases treated in a day.
The region’s first and only Children’s ER opens. Renown also announces its affiliation with NACHRI, one of 217 hospitals in the country – and the first and only one in Nevada -- with this distinction. This affiliation means Renown will take part in national programs to advocate for children’s medical needs.
In 2010 Renown receives the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get with the Guidelines Gold Performance Achievement Award. The award recognizes commitment and success in implementing excellent care for stroke patients according to evidence-based guidelines.
Topping the list for overall quality in northern Nevada, the hospital is awarded the HealthInsight Quality Award of 2010.
The Institute for Cancer and the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, the two leading cancer programs in their regions, join forces to enhance patient care and improve access to top level medical experts.
Renown South Meadows launches an ER Wait Times program. It is the first hospital in the area to publish ER wait times online - viewable on its website or from a smartphone on its mobile site. In 2011, Renown Regional ER and the Children’s ER offer wait times online as well.
Renown Regional announced it was the first hospital in northern Nevada to insert a heart pump directly into a patient’s heart. At the time, the device, known as the Impella 2.5 was the world’s smallest heart pump, nearly 100th the size of the heart.
Renown South Meadows Medical Center and Renown Regional Medical Center are ranked as the top two performing private acute care hospitals in the region by HealthInsight.
The University of Nevada School of Medicine, Renown Children’s Hospital and the Cystic Fibrosis Center at Stanford join forces to allow cystic fibrosis patients in northern Nevada access to more than 25 clinical trials. This will help develop the way doctors administer care and the way patients find solutions.
Renown Children’s Hospital opens a new Labor Assessment Area where expectant moms are evaluated to determine what stage of labor they're in and if baby is on the way. The area features private patient rooms, family lounge and portraits of Renown newborns by local photographer Jeff Ross.
Renown is the only health network in Nevada to receive the NICHE designation (Nurses Improving Care for Health System Elders). It is the only national designation indicating a hospital's commitment to elder care excellence. This same year, a dedicated senior lounge opens in the ER at Renown Regional.
Renown Children’s Hospital opens a new 100% donor funded patient floor. Features include the Wilbur D. May Pediatric ICU, 19 inpatient rooms including three specialty suites that are ADA compliant, two therapeutic playrooms, Ronald McDonald Family Room and professional and student artwork.
In celebration of 150 remarkable years, we offer a timeline of our journey to become a healthcare leader. Our beginnings were humble and our dreams were big. Our commitment to this community made us who we are today.
Enjoy this walk through the history of Renown Health – and a history of our community. We’ve highlighted some major accomplishments as a health network, but there’s a lot missing from all that’s taken place over 150 years. Buildings, equipment, awards and accomplishments are nothing without the people who have made possible everything that Renown Health represents today. The stories of individual employees, physicians, patients and community partners are shared in the 150 stories section of this website.
As you view the timeline, take a moment to reflect on the milestones you remember or the stories in which you’ve played a part. We hope you’ll share your stories with us.
The vast majority of this information was gathered from “The People Make the Hospital” by Dr. Anton Sohn and Carroll W. Ogren; Alicia M. Barber, PhD; UNR’s historical archives and Special Collections; Reno Gazette-Journal archive; Renown Foundation; and employee newsletters and hospital annual reports. Supplemental information was gathered from informal sources such as online blogs, personal interviews and Wikipedia. We are especially grateful to Alicia Barber, PhD, David Johnson, MD, and Anton Sohn, MD, for their time and assistance with this project.