About National Jewish
National Jewish began in the late 1890's as a philanthropic effort undertaken by Francis Jacobs. She saw a need to get the indigent tuberculosis victims off the streets of Denver and into some kind of care facility, and started the building which became the first National Jewish Hospital for Consumptives. Sadly, Jacobs didn't live to see it's completion and opening in 1899.
The hospital finally opened with the help of the local B'nai B'rith chapter and Rabbi William Friedman on the grounds of the present-day facility at 14th and Jackson Streets in Denver. Their mission was to treat indigent TB patients in Colorado's mild climate and clean air. They never took payment from patients for treatment, and the hospital didn't even bill an insurance company until 1969! Their motto: "None may enter who can pay; None can pay who enter."
This philanthropic philosophy is still central to National Jewish today. Patients are accepted by referral only. Treatment is directed toward the whole person, not simply the disease. A patient's main doctor has a team of specialists with whom they coordinate. Teams include psychologists, therapists, dieticiens, and exercise specialists along with specialists. The focus is on teaching patients how to treat and control the illness in their lives, rather than the illness controlling them. Also, art therapy is used with the youngest patients, and their artwork adorns the walls of the hospital.
The pediatric wing has inpatient-type beds for short-term care where parents stay in the room with their children. Out-patients and their families may stay in a hotel on the hospital premises during treatment at a lower cost. This is just one of the many ways in which National Jewish efficiently treats their patients while keeping costs to the patient as minimal as possible.
In 1973, CARIH changed its name to National Asthma Center but was still on separate grounds from the rest of National Jewish. It was incorporated back into NJ in 1978 as the pediatric wing and the Beaumont Therapy and Learning Center school. The Beaumont school is an elementary school for disadvantaged children whose illnesses (not all respiratory - sickle cell anemia, lupus, severe allergies, are all included) prevent them from attaining a normal education in public school.
Seventy-five percent of the children at Beaumont are minorities from the inner city. The school has a capacity of 105 students and looks and feels just like a normal elementary school except for the presence of a very well-stocked nursing station. Each day students take time to visit the nurses and learn about treating their disease while receiving medication. In most cases, these children have little to no support system at home, forcing them to be their own care-givers for the disease.
The Beaumont school emphasizes normalcy. As testiment to its success, from outwards appearances, the Beaumont school grounds look as if this is just another elementary school with active, healthy students at work and play.
To learn more about National Jewish Medical & Research Center and how to contribute to this worthwhile organization, please visit: http://www.NationalJewish.org/