Skip to main content

University of Utah Hospital Celebrates 50 Golden Years of Serving the Intermountain West


University of Utah Hospital is celebrating its golden birthday after 50 years of serving Utah and the western region.

On Friday, July 10, 2015, the hospital held a commemoration ceremony, themed "50 Years Forward," highlighting the accomplishments of the past and celebrating the potential for the future. Gov. Gary Herbert, University of Utah Hospital CEO David Entwistle, and University of Utah Health Care CEO Vivian Lee, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., were on hand with other local hospital administrators and dignitaries to fete the hospital's golden anniversary with birthday gifts and thoughts on providing 50 more years of service to patients and the medical community.

Looking back at the last 50 years gives such a feeling of accomplishment for this establishment," Entwistle said. "The progress we have made and the lives that have been impacted have been immeasurable.

Over the past five decades the hospital has grown from 220 beds when it opened in 1965 to more than 527 hospital beds today, 1,1000 staff physicians, and 11 community clinics across the Wasatch Front. In the last year, the hospital has admitted 22,831 patients, provided more than 10,000 inpatient surgeries and 15,000 outpatient surgeries, and logged over 40,000 Emergency Department visits.

This health care system provides the region with access to a breadth and depth of medical specialty care. Every medical specialty is represented at University Hospital, including the region's only comprehensive burn center.

For the past five years the University's health care system has ranked among the top 10 academic medical centers in the country, in the company of hospitals at the Mayo Clinic, Stanford University, New York University and other top health care centers. "This is an unprecedented feat in academic medicine and speaks to the level of quality in both patient care and customer service," Entwistle said.

Some of University of Utah Hospital's breakthroughs and accomplishments include opening the region's first newborn intensive care unit in 1968; establishing the region's first comprehensive burn center in 1976; implanting the world's first total artificial heart implant in 1982; performing Utah's first heart transplant in 1985, opening the Huntsman Cancer Institute in 1999; establishing the first integrated electrophysiology MRI lab in North America in 2009; and performing the world's smallest liver-kidney transplant to save a toddler's life in 2014.

Such accomplishments give much reason to be optimistic about University Hospital's future, according to Lee, also senior vice president for health sciences and dean of School of Medicine.

"Fifty years ago University Hospital opened to serve the local community with the best care possible," Lee said. "Today, we are lifelong partners in health for more than 1.2 million patients from across the nation. I look forward to what we can do for health care with the next 50 years."