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Overview and History

Harriet Lane Home for Invalid Children Building

The Harriet Lane Home

We opened in 1912 as The Harriet Lane Home for Invalid Children, the nation’s first pediatric hospital affiliated with an academic research institution, Johns Hopkins. Baltimore banker Henry Johnston and his wife Harriet Lane bequeathed our founding funds in memory of their sons, who died in childhood from rheumatic fever. By 1930, our clinicians had discovered that sulfa drugs could prevent its fatal cardiac devastation.

For nearly a century now, we’ve been pushing the boundaries of American pediatric medicine and developing world-class care for the sickest children and their families. Visit here often for more about our revolutionary brand of medicine and the dedication, innovation and brilliance of those upon whom it’s founded.

The Harriet Lane Pediatric Residency Program

The Harriet Lane Home for Invalid Children, predecessor to the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, opened in 1912. At that time, the Harriet Lane Residency program consisted of only one to two interns, and the number of daily visits was around 30. Today’s resident classes have increased to 27 to 28 members per class. More than 1,300 pediatricians have been trained here since the program’s inception.

The Harriet Lane Residency program has influenced pediatric care and training of residents through the publication of the Harriet Lane Handbook, now in its 22nd edition (2020). Harrison Spencer, M.D., Harriet Lane house staff 1951, proposed the idea for a handbook written by the house staff for house staff. By tradition, the pediatric chief residents have been the editors of subsequent editions. The mission of this project was three-fold: to document how to perform a test, to supply reference data, and to compile a list of drugs and pediatric dosages. Today the demand for this manual is very high, with approximately 50,000 copies sold each year.

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