Pediatrician Herbert Winograd, MD, moved to Phoenix from Cleveland in 1972. Back then, children’s health care in the Valley looked very different than it does today. Pediatric services were spread out among Good Samaritan, St. Joseph’s and Maricopa County hospitals. Outlying hospitals had few, if any, pediatric services. And there were gaps in subspecialty care.
“There was a scarcity of pediatric subspecialists,” Dr. Winograd says. “The ones we had were excellent, but the whole field wasn’t covered. For things that weren’t terribly complicated, we sent children to see adult specialists, but children with very serious problems, including gastrointestinal and neurological problems—we’d have to send them to UCLA, which was terribly inconvenient for families.”
Phoenix Children's is born
Dr. Winograd and other area pediatricians began to put the word out that Phoenix was a burgeoning medical community in need of more pediatric subspecialists.
“By the early '80s, we had accumulated many very fine subspecialists, which was the basis for starting the children’s hospital here,” he says. “Having completed my training at a university children’s hospital, I was very happy to be asked to help out in planning a children’s hospital for Phoenix. I thought it could really be my most important contribution to the community that I had brought my family to.”
Phoenix Children’s opened within Good Samaritan Hospital in 1983, with Dr. Winograd as the first chief of staff. He is the only one in Phoenix Children’s history to serve two terms, from 1983–85 and 1985–87. It was a volunteer position then, so Dr. Winograd conducted business largely before or after hours.
“I felt if I could do anything to help found the children’s hospital, I would be happy to have meetings at 5:30 in the morning before I started my hospital rounds and practice,” he says. “And so we had many planning meetings early in the morning.”
Dr. Winograd and the other founding physicians and board members worked hard to establish a home for high-quality children’s health care in the Valley. But none of them dreamed Phoenix Children’s would be what it is today. Even so, Dr. Winograd had the wherewithal to specify the need for the hospital to remain autonomous in the charter.
“One of my duties was to help write the hospital’s vision. And the one line that I was very strongly in favor of was that the hospital should be autonomous and physically identifiable,” he says. “We didn’t want it to get swallowed up by a larger entity.”
That decision has paid off in spades.
“At the time, we were building a children’s hospital for the community,” Dr. Winograd says. “It has since become a very important institution for the Southwest. That is something I’m very proud to see that my successors have accomplished. Because of that, and the incredible research the hospital is doing, management has been able to attract some top pediatric experts from all over the country.”
Not done yet
Even though Dr. Winograd is 19 years retired, he’s still invested in the success of the children’s hospital that moved in 2002 to the 22-acre campus it now occupies.
“When I drive down the 51 and I see the Phoenix Children’s, I get a great deal of pleasure out of the fact that I had a small part in starting it and had no idea that it would become what it is today,” he says.
He’s so dedicated, in fact, that Dr. Winograd has decided to leave a percentage of his estate to the hospital. He hopes other physicians will do the same.
“It was an easy decision to make,” he says.
“In doing so, it lets me continue the work that I started 40 years ago. And perhaps it’ll serve as a beacon for other physicians, to make similar contributions. My contribution alone might not be much in the scheme of things, but maybe the aggregate will be very important to the financial future of the hospital we’ve built.”