Improving the lives of children

Deciding where to take your child for specialized medical care is one of the most important choices facing many parents. You want the highest quality care and the most respected pediatric specialists to ensure the best outcomes for your child.

Shriners Hospitals for Children has been providing state-of-the-art care for more than 80 years. Our network of pediatric specialty hospitals focus on orthopaedic conditions, burn injuries, spinal cord rehabilitation, and cleft lip and palate repair.

Our staff believes in and practices a "family-centered-care" approach to treatment. We believe the the family plays a vital role in a child's ability to overcome an illness or injury. Shriners Hospitals helps the family provide the support the child needs by involving the family in all aspects of care and recovery. The purpose of all Shriners Hospitals is to provide care for our children so they can lead fuller, more productive lives.

No Barriers to Care

While providing this high-quality care, we do not face the barriers of insurance industry processes and policies. Because we do not rely on third-party funding by insurance providers or U.S. government agencies for treatment provided by our hospitals, our physicians, nurses and therapists can create and implement a treatment plan without delay.

All children, from birth to 18 years of age, may be eligible for care at Shriners Hospitals if, in the opinion of our doctors, the child can benefit from the specialized care provided by our hospitals.  Eligibility is not dependent on financial need or relationship to a Shriner.

Leaders in Innovation

Shriners Hospitals established the first pediatric orthopaedic hospital in 1922 in Shreveport, La., and since then we've continued a tradition of discovering and addressing the special needs of children.

Established the first pediatric burn hospitals, paving the way for similar hospitals worldwide.
Established the first spinal cord injury rehabilitation units designed specifically for pediatric use.
Activated the first pediatric air ambulance, staffed with burn specialists, for the transportation of critically injured burn patients.


Shriners Hospitals' contributions to the medical community not only benefit our patients, but contribute to the overall knowledge for the care and treatment for a wide range of pediatric and adult conditions. Shriners researchers have played key roles in:

Development of a cultured skin substitute for burn-injured patients.
Development of a nutritional formula that reduces infection and improves healing for pediatric burn patients.
Partner in discovery of genetic cause of juvenile Paget's disease (JPD).
Collaborated in discovery of genetic causes for 10 inheritable bone diseases.
Development of effective treatments for osteogenesis imperfecta (also known as brittle bone disease).


Shriners Hospitals is proud of its role in medical education. In the past 20 years, more than 8,000 physicians have received residency education or postgraduate fellowship at Shriners Hospitals. By maintaining relationships with over 60 medical teaching facilities worldwide, Shriners Hospitals fosters an academic environment committed to providing high-quality medical care to all patients.

While there are many elements to Shriners Hospitals for Children, there is only one purpose: to improve the lives of children. 

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Providing world-class medical care

For nearly 85 years, Shriners Hospitals for Children has provided some of the best medical care in the world, totally free of charge, to more than 835,000 children with orthopaedic conditions, burn injuries of all degrees, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate.


In 2006, Shriners Hospitals approved 38,984 new patient applications, attended to the needs of 128,578 patients and provided the following:

251,461  radiology procedures
296,859  outpatient, outreach and telemedicine visits
61,103    orthotic and prosthetic devices
24,609    surgical procedures
412,387   physical therapy treatments
181,174   occupational therapy treatments


Shriners Hospitals' total budget for 2007 is $721 million, of which $655 million is targeted for operating expenses (including $37 million for research) and $66 million for buildings and equipment expenditures. During the nearly 85-year history of the Shriners Hospitals, it has cost approximately $8.2 billion to operate Shriners Hospitals, and over $1.76 billion has been spent on construction and renovation.

Orthopaedic Hospitals

The 18 orthopaedic Shiners Hospitals are dedicated to providing specialized medical and rehabilitative services to children with congenital deformities, problems resulting from orthopaedic injuries and diseases of the musculoskeletal system. Some of the most commonly treated disorders include clubfoot, limb deficiencies and discrepancies, scoliosis, osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease),  juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and problems related to spina bifida, cerebral palsy, dwarfism and muscular dystrophy.

Burn Care

Located in Galveston, Boston, Cincinnati and Sacramento, the Shriners burn hospitals have been leaders in burn research since opening in the mid-1960s. Treatment is provided for severe burn injuries and related scarring, along with physical and emotional rehabilitation. This vast experience and knowledge has had far-reaching affects on burn treatment techniques worldwide.

Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation

In the 1980s, Shriners Hospitals established a spinal cord injury rehabilitation program for children. These programs, at the Chicago, Northern California and Philadelphia hospitals, are among the few in the United States specifically designed to treat children and teenagers with spinal cord injuries.

Cleft Lip and Palate Repair

In 2005, the Joint Boards of Shiners Hospitals officially added cleft lip and palate repair to the mission. The program is expanding, based on the model of Shriners Hospital-Chicago, which has been treating children with cleft lip and palate for more than 35 years.

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How did they start?

Shriners Hospitals for Children is an international hospital system with 18 orthopaedic hospitals, three burn hospitals and one hospital providing orthopaedic, burn and spinal cord care. The facilities are located throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.

All 22 Shriners Hospitals are dedicated to providing expert, specialized care to children under 18 years of age absolutely free of charge.  Shriners Hospitals are actively involved in orthopaedic and burn research and have been pioneers in some of the most advanced techniques for the treatment of these conditions.

Since its founding, the Shriners have always supported charitable activities, and in the early 1900s, when the Shriners became a truly international organization, desire grew for the Shriners to establish its own official philanthropy.

Shriners at the 1919 Imperial Council Session voted to establish a "Shriners Hospital for Children," to treat orthopaedic injuries and birth defects in children. It was to be supported by a yearly $2 assessment from each Shriner. After further research, it was determined that there should be not just one hospital, but a network of hospitals throughout North America. In 1921, the proposal was passed.

Why are they so special?

The first Shriners Hospital opened in Shreveport, La., in 1922, and by the end of that decade, 13 more hospitals were in operation. The number of orthopaedic hospitals eventually reached 19. Today, the orthopaedic Shriners Hospitals serve as major referral centers for complex and highly specialized orthopaedic treatments for children.

During the 1950s, Shriners found themselves able to provide additional services, and Shrine leaders, looking for other ways they could help children of North America, became aware of the lack of medical expertise in burn care. Each year, thousands of children are disfigured or killed by severe burns.

In the mid-1960s, the Shriners opened three hospitals specializing in burn care. Each of these specialized hospitals has a three-fold mission of helping children, conducting burn research and training medical personnel in the treatment of burns.

The Shriners burns hospitals are pioneers in burn treatment. They are actively involved in the development of innovative techniques that will continue to revolutionize the treatment of severely burned children.

In the early 1980s, the Shriners discovered yet another way it could help children: by opening the nation's first pediatric spinal cord injury center. Today, Shriners has pediatric spinal cord injury centers in the Philadelphia, Chicago and Sacramento hospitals. Young people with spinal cord injuries find not only the specialized medical care needed for rehabilitation, but also hope, inspiration and strength.

Today's research; tomorrow's care

Shriners Hospitals have been actively engaged in clinical research from the beginning, but in the early 1960s, the Shriners began earmarking funds for basic and clinical research. Since that time, Shriners Hospitals have been at the vanguard of orthopaedic and burn research.

The rules for all Shriners Hospitals are simple: Any child, up to the age of 18, can be admitted to a Shriners Hospital if, in the opinion of our doctors, the child can be helped by the specialized medical care provided at Shriners Hospitals.

Shriners Hospitals are open to all children without regard to financial ability or relationship to a Shriner.

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2007-2008 Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees for Shriners Hospitals for Children is responsible for the overall operation of the Shriners Hospitals network. The board is comprised of the current officers of Shriners Hospitals, who serve by virtue of their office, as well as those elected by the members of Shriners Hospitals' corporation. All members of the Board of Trustees serves on a volunteer basis. The Chairman of the Board is elected each year at the annual meeting of the hospital corporation.

Ralph Semb, Board Chairman
Melha Shriners

Doug Maxwell - Vice Chairman
Moolah Shriners

Bernard J. Lemieux - Imperial Potentate
Zenobia Shriners

Frank J. Roth, Trustee
Medinah Shriners

W. Brandt Bede, M.D., Trustee
Afifi Shriners

Charles A. Claypool, Trustee
Antioch Shriners

Bob Smith, Trustee
Calam Shriners

Timothy E. Morris, Trustee
Oleika Shriners

Terry McGuire - Imperial Chief Rabban
Alzafar Shriners

Raoul L. Frevel, Sr., Trustee
Boumi Shriners

Nicholas Thomas, Junior Past Imperial Potentate
Al Malaikah Shriners

Gene Bracewell, Imperial Treasurer
Yaarab Shriners

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Syrian Shrine
9730 Reading Road
Cincinnati, Ohio 45215
Phone: (513) 751-3800
Fax: (513) 672-2018

Shriners Hospital for Children
3229 Burnet Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45229-3095
Phone: (800) 875-8580
Fax: (513) 872-6999

Copyright © 2008 Syrian Shrine of Cincinnati, Ohio