9 Things You Might Not Know About UI Stead Family Children's Hospital

UI Stead Family Children's Hospital Exterior

1. The world comes to Iowa

UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital cared for 83,937 children last year from 45 states and 20 other countries.

2. We Pioneer Medicine

  • Ignacio Ponseti, MD, developed a non-surgical method to correct clubfoot in infants in 1948 that involves gentle manipulation and use of plaster casts. Today, the Ponseti Method is the standard treatment for correcting clubfoot around the world. In 2006, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) endorsed this method as the “most successful, non-invasive, and cost-effective” clubfoot treatment.
  • In 1987, at just 7 days old, Marissa Getting became the first pediatric heart transplant recipient in Iowa.
  • The University of Iowa Cochlear Implant Research Center and children’s hospital implanted the nation’s first multi-channel cochlear implants for children with congenital hearing loss. In 1987, a 3-year-old boy, Tim Brandau, received the first multi-channel cochlear implant in the United States designed for children.

3. Saving the tiniest babies


Our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) was the first in Iowa. It opened in 1975 with 12 beds. Today, we have largest NICU in the state (88 beds) and as Iowa’s only Level 4 NICU, we’re equipped to care for the smallest and sickest infants. Survival rates for babies born at 22, 23, 24, and 25 weeks are significantly higher at our hospital than survival rates at other U.S. hospitals. This places our children’s hospital among the top neonatal intensive care providers in the country.

4. We’re high tech…and high touch

One of the world’s most advanced computed tomography (CT) scanners is installed inside UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital. The SOMATOM Drive scanner, manufactured by Siemens, is the first of its kind to be installed in the United States. Only three other scanners of this type are in use worldwide.

More than 200 pediatric doctors, surgeons, and dentists and more than 700 specially trained pediatric nurses, and many other team members care for our patients and families every day.

5. Our patients helped design our hospital

In our pediatric patient rooms, seven illuminated cubes are mounted on the wall in three diagonal rows. Controlled by the patient using a bedside remote, “Drew’s Lamp” has 11 settings.

Drew’s Lamp was inspired by, and named in honor of, former patient Drew Wall. Drew passed away in 2012 at age 16. For five years, Drew was treated at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital. He always brought a small bedside lamp to help create a more home-like environment and give him some control of his situation. Drew’s Lamp is designed to distract and entertain, but it’s special for another reason; it allows patients to control something at a time when so much is out of their control. His memory shines brightly throughout the hospital today.

6. We’re a special place

Iowa's only:

• Nationally ranked children’s hospital • Comprehensive children’s hospital • Level 4 NICU • Level 1 Trauma Center for Pediatrics • Pediatric dermatologist • Pediatric genetics team • Pediatric renal dialysis • Pediatric urologists • Pediatric surgery team • Pediatric heart, kidneys, liver, pancreas, and blood and bone marrow transplants.

7. We just turned 100

In 1919, the Children’s Hospital opened as the first University of Iowa building on the west side of the Iowa River. In February 2017, pediatric patients moved into the new building

8. Kid Captain

Kid Captain is a partnership that began in 2009 between UI Stead Family Children's Hospital and the Iowa Hawkeyes to honor pediatric patients and celebrate their inspirational stories. Since 2009, there have been 3,320 nominations for the program and 147 Kid Captains from 96 cities in 8 states.

9. The Iowa Wave

In 2017, Iowa Hawkeye fans turned to wave at pediatric patients and their families in UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital, just across the street from Kinnick Stadium, at the end of the first quarter of each home game. This now-famous gesture of goodwill has been called the “greatest tradition in college football.”

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