Grady Health System was the vision of Henry W. Grady, editor of the "Atlanta Constitution," who worried about the lack of quality health care for Atlanta's poor. On June 1, 1892 his extraordinary dream came true when the doors to Grady Hospital were officially opened. At that time, Grady Hospital had 110 beds and one operating room with an amphitheater for students and staff.
The hospital was located near Atlanta Medical College, which supervised patient care. In May 1915 the Atlanta Medical College became the Emory University School of Medicine. The medical school would train doctors at Grady and help with the growing number of patients at the hospital.
In 1978 a medical school was established at Morehouse College to assume up to half of the responsibility for patient care, medical education, and clinical research at Grady. The Morehouse School of Medicine remains committed to training doctors who will work in underserved communities and research diseases that disproportionately affect minorities and the poor.
In 1921, a Grady physician performed the first open-heart surgery in Georgia. In 1923 the world's first and largest comprehensive cancer center, the Steiner Clinic, was established. It was a model for future cancer centers throughout the country.
In the 1940's Grady received national recognition when Dr. Eugene Stead helped bring a cardiac catheterization lab to Grady, one of only three such labs in the world at that time.
In 1983 an ambitious renovation project created a sixteen-story building that continues to be the core of the current hospital. In the early 1990's Grady embarked on a $298 million renovation across the entire hospital.
Grady has a nationally acclaimed burn unit and diabetes center, an obstetrical intensive care unit that is widely recognized for low mortality rates, a 24-hour comprehensive sickle-cell center, and the Georgia Cancer Center for Excellence. The state's poison center is at Grady, and Grady Emergency Medical Service is the ambulance 911 provider for the city of Atlanta.
The largest publicly funded infectious disease program in the eastern United States is housed at Grady. The National Association of Public Hospitals has three times recognized Grady in its First Place Safety Net Award Category: for the Grady Health System Breast Health Initiative Program, for the Grady Health System Diabetes Detection and Treatment Program, and for the innovative use of hand-held computer technology in diabetes assessment.
In January 2008 a coalition of state and community leaders agreed to create the Grady Memorial Hospital Corporation, a nonprofit corporation charged with administering the hospital, and in March members of a new seventeen-member board were announced. In response to the board's fund-raising campaign to raise $100 million for the hospital, the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation pledged $200 million over four years, and the medical insurance company Kaiser Permanente pledged $5 million.
Grady Health System has grown considerably from its original three story, 110-bed facility and now stands as one of the largest public health systems in the United States. Grady Health System today continues to maintain its strong commitment to the healthcare needs of the underserved while offering a full range of specialized medical services for all segments of the community.