The Past and Future of Christ Hospital

Photography provided by Christ Hospital


In 1888, one hundred years after the City of Cincinnati was founded, and 20 years after the Cincinnati Red Stockings took the field for the first time, a group of local citizens led by James Gamble took on the task of tending to the city’s poor.

At the time, unemployment, poverty and hunger were widespread. Gamble, whose prospering soap business flourished in the area, invited missionary educator Isabella Thoburn to come to Cincinnati to train deaconesses and missionaries for religious, educational and philanthropic work.

Thoburn was to oversee the Elizabeth Gamble Deaconess Home Association, an organization named in honor of Gamble’s mother, who, like Thoburn, had dedicated her life to charitable work. Thoburn accepted the invitation, and arrived in Cincinnati in 1889.

Soon after her arrival, Thoburn encountered a severely ill woman crying on the street. The city hospital would not admit her because she lived across the river in Kentucky, so Thoburn took the woman home and cared for her in her own room. She shared this story with community leaders, who endorsed her action and acknowledged the need for a hospital that provided care to people no matter where they lived. A few months later, Thoburn met with James Gamble and local reverend, Louis Nippert, to begin planning for this new hospital.

September 23, 1889, a 10-bed hospital named Christ’s Hospital was opened in Cincinnati’s West End in a house donated by Gamble. The tiny hospital quickly became taxed to its limits with the infirm. In 1893, it was moved to a larger building in Mt. Auburn and was renamed The Christ Hospital in 1904.

Much has changed since those early days when the first patients were welcomed through the hospital’s doors. But the physicians, staff and volunteers would tell you what continues to matter the most after all these years is providing exceptional care.


Driven by Excellence

The Christ Hospital’s humble beginnings built the foundation for what it is today: The Christ Hospital Health Network, with more than 100 locations throughout the Tristate. If its 125-year-old walls could talk, they would tell quite a story. Those walls would tell you that no experience comes weighted with greater joy than the birth of a child. They would tell you about medical breakthroughs, like the nations’ first ceramic hip replacement – and groundbreaking heart treatments available nowhere else in the country.

“If our walls could talk, I think they would tell you about than 12 decades of physicians, nurses and caregivers, sacrificing time with their own families to care for others,” says Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer Mike Jennings, MD. “And about how inspiring it is to see some of the most brilliant minds in medicine developing new treatments that have changed the course of medicine – and saved countless lives.”

There are many ways to define excellence. For The Christ Hospital Health Network, it starts with the patient – and how physicians and staff can make the most vulnerable times in their patients’ lives easier.

“As the healthcare industry transitions from a ‘fee-for-service’ model to a ‘fee-for-value’ model, we build upon our 125 years of providing exceptional and compassionate care to improve quality and safety across the continuum so that we can deliver the right care at the right time, every time with every patient,” says President and CEO Mike Keating.

U.S. News & World Report has ranked The Christ Hospital as one of America’s Best for 15 consecutive years. It has also been Cincinnati’s Most Preferred Hospital for 18 consecutive years and has earned magnet recognition for excellence by the American Nurse Credentialing Center, a status that less than six percent of all registered hospitals in the United States have achieved.

“We all take tremendous pride in these recognitions,” says Vice President and COO Deborah Hayes. “Particularly in how these achievements impact the experiences of our patients each time they walk through our doors.”

Transforming Care

As the clinical and leadership teams at The Christ Hospital Health Network look ahead, to the organization’s next 125 years, they aim to continually redefine what it means to be the best.

“We will challenge the boundaries of what a hospital, a health network, and doctors can do. We will continue to bring care closer to our patients, in physician practices and outpatient centers all across the region. We will make care easier to navigate, more patient-centric and more affordable,” says Keating. “We will continue to make healthcare what our patients want and need it to be.”

The Christ Hospital Health Network’s mission is to improve the health of the community and create patient value by providing exceptional outcomes, affordable care and the finest experiences. Today, its physicians and staff provide advanced outpatient, inpatient, and emergency services to meet the needs of thousands of patients each year, from across the Tri-State.