National Jewish Health was founded in 1899 and was previously called The National Jewish Hospital for Consumptives. Located in the Historic Congress Park Neighborhood of Denver, National Jewish Health was built to treat tuberculosis TB (also called Consumption in the late 1800's). Although named National Jewish Health, the facility is non-sectarian, but did receive money from B'nai B'rith until the 1950's.
National Jewish Health in Denver was considered an ideal location for the treatment of TB because of the perception of clean mountain air and it's supposed healing effects. National Jewish Health was founded by Francis Wisebart Jacobs, because TB patients were often homeless and poor, and could not pay for treatment at other Denver hospitals. Jacobs found financial support in Denver's Jewish community and although she died in 1898, National Jewish Health opened in 1899.
Denver Rabbi William Friedman persuaded B'nai B'rith to oversee the opening and continuation of National Jewish Health, and although funded by the Jewish community, National Jewish Health has always been open to people of all faiths.
The first patient, at National Jewish Health was admitted in December of 1899 under the hospital's official motto which was:
"None may enter who can pay—none can pay who enter.”
In the 100+ years since that first patient was treated at National Jewish Health, the facilityhas operated under several different names including:
- 1899: The National Jewish Hospital for Consumptives
- 1925: National Jewish Hospital at Denver
- 1965: National Jewish Hospital and Research Center
- 1978: National Jewish Hospital/National Asthma Center
- 1985: National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine
- 1997: National Jewish Medical and Research Center
- 2008: National Jewish Health
Whatever the name, National Jewish Health is known nationwide as one of the world's best medical research and treatment centers.