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Our History

We’re more than a system—we’re leaders in the practice of medicine.

Mass General Brigham’s history is built on New England hospitals founded over 200 years ago, some of the first and most prestigious hospitals in the world as well as the oldest and largest teaching affiliates of Harvard Medical School. Today, we are 16 member institutions that encompass a range of health care organizations. Our system has a legacy of excellence and innovation that continues to grow year after year.

collage of historical images on large wall at Mass General Brigham

A timeline of Mass General Brigham


To better support the people who live and work in communities hardest hit by COVID-19, Mass General Brigham launches a fleet of community health vans in partnership with the DPV Transportation, a local transportation company.


Mass General Brigham launches United Against Racism, a long-term, multi-million-dollar commitment to address the many impacts that racism has on Mass General Brigham patients, employees and the broader community.


Partners HealthCare becomes Mass General Brigham—a name that captures a sense of pride, a spirit of excellence, and aligned commitment to those we serve.


Massachusetts Eye and Ear joins the Partners HealthCare health system.

Explore Mass Eye and Ear’s history


Wentworth-Douglass Hospital joins the Partners HealthCare health system.

Explore Wentworth-Douglass Hospital’s history


Partners HealthCare opens a new building in Assembly Row, Somerville, unifying 4,500 employees under one roof to improve efficiency and reduce costs.


Brigham and Women's Hospital geneticist Stephen J. Elledge, PhD, is awarded the 2015 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, also known as “America’s Nobel,” for laying a foundation for understanding how cells detect and repair DNA damage.

Explore Brigham and Women’s history


Cooley Dickinson Hospital joins the Partners HealthCare health system.

Explore Cooley Dickinson’s Hospital history


The division of Population Health Management is established to fulfill Partners’ commitment to providing high-quality, coordinated health care that is affordable and accessible.

Neighborhood Health Plan, a managed care plan founded by community health centers, becomes a member of Partners HealthCare.


A multidisciplinary team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, led by Bohdan Pomahac, MD, performs the first full-face transplant in the U.S., and goes on to complete three more in the same year.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital also performed its first bilateral hand transplant.

Explore Brigham and Women’s history


In response to the earthquake that devastated Haiti, Brigham and Women’s, Mass General, Spaulding Rehabilitation, and Newton-Wellesley Hospitals send teams of caregivers abroad to help relief efforts.

Partners HealthCare becomes one of the first health systems in the nation to achieve its goal of having 100% of physicians using electronic health records (EHR).


Mass General researcher Jack W. Szostak, PhD, wins the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.

Explore Mass General’s history

Partners HealthCare Biobank launches to collect and maintain samples from individuals who receive care at Brigham and Women’s, Spaulding Rehabilitation, and Massachusetts General Hospital, leading to research in multiple sclerosis, asthma, and whole genome integration.

Learn about Mass General Brigham Biobank


Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital earns National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research Model System distinctions in spinal cord injury, burn injury, and traumatic brain injury simultaneously.

Explore Spaulding’s history


Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and Nantucket Hospital join the Partners HealthCare health system.


Brigham and Women’s Hospital performs its 500th heart transplant, the most for any New England hospital. This historic operation adds Brigham and Women’s to an exclusive list of hospitals nationwide to reach this mark.

Learn about heart transplant at Brigham and Women’s Hospital


Partners HealthCare Personalized Medicine is founded, originally named the Harvard Medical School-Partners HealthCare Center for Genetics and Genomics. Its mission is to accelerate the use of genetic and genomic information in the clinical setting.

Learn about Personalized Medicine


A Brigham and Women’s Hospital team performs a quadruple transplant, using four organs from a single donor, giving new hope to four patients.

Learn about transplantation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Launch of Partners HealthCare at Home, an initiative that provides patients with a continuum of care and access to expert health care in their home.

Learn about Mass General Brigham Home Care


The Partners in Career and Workforce Development program begins for low-income community residents interested in careers in health care.

Newton-Wellesley Hospital joins the Partners HealthCare health system.

Explore Newton-Wellesley Hospital’s history

The Children’s Service at Massachusetts General Hospital is renamed Mass General Hospital for Children.


Faulkner Hospital joins Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Partners HealthCare. Brigham and Women’s surgery and medicine residents begin rotations at Faulkner.

Learn about Faulkner Hospital


Partners HealthCare International is founded to provide resources for overseas patients, governments, and medical professionals seeking relationships with the Partners HealthCare community.

Learn more about our Global Advisory Services


Salem Hospital, formerly known as North Shore Medical Center, joins the Partners HealthCare health system, the first community-based hospital organization to do so.

Learn more about Salem Hospital


Partners Community HealthCare Inc. Is formed as a network of physicians, committed to enhancing the physician-patient relationship and innovation of the physician experience. In 2015, it is renamed as Partners Community Physicians Organization.

Learn about Partners Community Physicians Organization

Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital were brought together to create the Partners HealthCare health system.


Mass General researchers discover genes responsible for Huntington’s Disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), and neurofibromatosis.

Explore Mass General’s history


Neighborhood Health Plan, known today as Mass General Brigham Health Plan, was founded with a mission to redefine health insurance by increasing access to high-quality health care and partnering with customers, providers and other stakeholders to create targeted, straightforward programs.

Learn more about Mass General Brigham Health Plan


Faulker Hospital makes history by being the first to successfully transfuse a patient with “rejuvenated blood.”

Learn about Faulkner Hospital


The MGH Institute of Health Professions officially opens, admitting its first graduate students in physical therapy and social work.

Learn about MGH IHP

Brigham and Women’s Hospital was established as the result of a merger of three Harvard-affiliated hospitals, Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Robert Breck Brigham Hospital and Boston Hospital for Women.

Explore Brigham and Women’s history


Brigham and Women’s Hospital researchers launch the Nurses’ Health Study, enrolling 122,000 women in America’s first and largest women’s health study.

Explore Brigham and Women’s history


Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, known at the time as Massachusetts Rehabilitation Hospital, was founded to provide in-patient rehabilitation care to all patients. The name Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital was confirmed in 1983.

Explore Spaulding’s history


The Boston Hospital for Women was established as the result of a merger of the Free Hospital for Women and Boston Lying-in Hospital

Explore Brigham and Women’s history


The first successful human organ transplant, a kidney transplant, is accomplished at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. Joseph Murray, MD, receives the Nobel Prize for this work.

Learn about kidney transplantation Brigham and Women’s Hospital


Harvey Cushing, MD, the father of modern neurosurgery, performs his 2,000th brain surgery while serving as Chief of Surgery at Peter Brent Brigham Hospital

Learn about neurosurgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital


George Minot, MD, William Murphy, MD, and George Whipple, MD, at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital discover that liver extracts cure pernicious anemia. In 1934, they share the Nobel Prize for this work.

Explore Brigham and Women’s history


The first successful heart valve surgery in the world is performed at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital by Elliot C. Cutler, MD.

Learn about heart valve repair and replacement at Brigham and Women’s Hospital


Martha’s Vineyard Hospital was founded in Oak Bluffs, MA.

Learn about Martha’s Vineyard Hospital


Robert Breck Brigham Hospital was founded to serve patients with arthritis and other debilitating joint diseases.

Explore Brigham and Women’s history


Peter Bent Brigham Hospital was founded "for the care of sick persons in indigent circumstances.”

Explore Brigham and Women’s history


Fritz B. Talbot, MD, founded the Children’s Medical Service at Massachusetts General Hospital, nearly 90 years after the first child was admitted in 1821.


Nantucket Cottage Hospital was founded in Nantucket, MA, to meet the health care needs of isolated island residents.

Explore Nantucket Cottage Hospital’s history

Wentworth-Douglass Hospital was founded in Portsmouth, NH.

Explore Wentworth-Douglass Hospital’s history


Cooley Dickinson Health Care was founded in Northampton, MA, to provide health care services for sick and poor members of the community.

Explore Cooley Dickinson’s Hospital history


Newton-Wellesley Hospital, formerly Newton Cottage Hospital, was founded in Newton, MA, to provide health care services for sick members of the community.

Explore Newton-Wellesley Hospital’s history


The Free Hospital for Women was founded “for poor women affected with diseases peculiar to their sex or in need of surgical aid.”

Explore Brigham and Women’s history


William T.G. Morton, MD, and John Collins Warren, MD, of Mass General perform the first successful public demonstration of surgical ether anesthesia. 

Explore Mass General anesthesia milestones


The Boston Lying-in Hospital was founded in Boston, MA, as one of the nation's first maternity hospitals dedicated to women unable to afford in-home medical care. It is the first of Brigham and Women’s Hospital predecessor institutions.

Explore Brigham and Women’s history


Massachusetts Eye and Ear was founded in Boston, MA, to treat patients with disorders of the eyes, ears, nose, throat, head and neck. Today, Mass Eye and Ear is a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital and leader in training physicians in ophthalmology and otolaryngology head and neck surgery.

Explore Mass Eye and Ear’s history


The Asylum for the Insane, a division of Mass General, opens as the first hospital in New England to treat mental illness. In 1892, it is renamed McLean Hospital, which is known today as the flagship mental health hospital of Harvard Medical School and Mass General Brigham.

Explore McLean’s history


The Massachusetts General Hospital Bulfinch Building in Boston, MA, opened its doors for the admission of the first patient at Mass General. It is the third oldest hospital in the nation.

In its first year of operation, Mass General became the first teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School.

Explore Mass General’s history

Also of interest

Explore related resources to learn more about Mass General Brigham today and our impact as a leading health care system.