History of Tufts Medical Center

Tufts Medical Center's proud and distinguished tradition began as the Boston Dispensary in 1796, when a group of public-spirited Bostonians, including patriots Paul Revere and Samuel Adams, established the Boston Dispensary as the third permanent medical facility in the country and the first New England. The Dispensary’s founders funded a ticket based subscription program that enabled the city's poor to receive free medical care, in their homes. One of the original tickets signed by Revere can still be seen today at the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Providing care for the poor

Using the Bible's "Good Samaritan" parable as its inspiration, the Dispensary grew rapidly and continued to find new and innovative ways to care for the city's underserved working poor adult and pediatric populations. Some of the more notable innovations included: having doctors and nurses provide free visits to district residents, in fact, the Dispensary did not charge for its services until 1908. Also, responding to the evolving community's needs, it created dental and nutrition clinics; and most famously it started an evening clinic that was partially employer funded and was designed to treat the city's "working poor." The Boston Dispensary throughout its existence, provided high-quality, patient-centered care, pioneering many new therapies and health care delivery improvements. It was the first to initiate a number of medical practices that are now commonplace today.

Emerging partnerships

Over the ensuing years, the Boston Dispensary developed mutually beneficial affiliations with a number of compatible institutions, most notably since 1894, its partnership with the Boston Floating Hospital for Children (New England's first pediatric hospital). At about the same time, the Dispensary became the primary teaching hospital for Tufts University's Medical and Dental schools. In 1968 the 100-bed Pratt Diagnostic Clinic, the world's largest clinic of its kind at the time formerly, joined with the Dispensary and the Floating to create the New England Medical Center. In 2008, the hospital name was shortened to Tufts Medical Center, to better reflect the hospital's close relationship with Tufts University. It now is a proud member of Tufts Medicine.

Tradition of world-class care and research continued today

Tufts Medical Center campus remains in the downtown Boston neighborhood where the original Boston Dispensary was founded and still serves as an inner-city hospital. Tufts Medical Center is proud of its continuing leadership role in America's development of modern medicine. It continues to be molded and inspired by its historic mission, never losing the perspective of being a community based, world class adult and pediatric teaching and research hospital. It remains true to its mission statement which reads in part: "We dedicate ourselves to furthering our rich tradition of health care innovation, leadership, charity and the highest standard of care and service to all in our community."