A history of growth
The Munroe-Meyer Institute traces its roots to 1919, but more than one organization played a major role in making the institute what it is today. Here is a timeline of MMI’s evolution.
1919, September 16: The Society for the Relief of the Disabled (SRD) meets for the first time. According to the minutes, the SRD organized to make it possible for all disabled and crippled people in Omaha and the surrounding vicinity to receive the benefit of orthopedic treatments. This original Society for the Relief of the Disabled board exists today as the Munroe-Meyer Institute Board of Directors.
1922, Summer: The SRD holds its first summer camp for 24 children. There still is no official residence for the board at this time. The first camp was held at a private residence near 66th and Maple Streets.
1922, September 1: The Hattie B. Munroe Home for Convalescing Crippled Children opens, with 12 children as residents, at 2842 N. 66th Ave. in Omaha’s Benson neighborhood. The home is donated by John Munroe, vice president of the Union Pacific Railroad, in honor of his wife, Hattie, who died in 1921. The SRD staffs the home and becomes its “operating board.” This building is the first physical “home” of what will become the Munroe-Meyer Institute.
1924: John Munroe incorporates the Hattie B. Munroe Home for Convalescing Crippled Children as a non-profit foundation.
1927: The SRD changes its name to the Orthopedic Association of Omaha (OAO), continuing to serve as the operating board of the Hattie B. Munroe Home for Convalescing Crippled Children.
1922-1958: The Hattie B. Munroe Home for Convalescing Crippled Children remains in Benson. It is funded by the foundation set up by John Munroe and Clara Elder, Hattie’s sister. In addition, Community Chest, United Community Service and other private donations help fund the home.
1956: The impact of the polio epidemic of the 1950s overwhelms the space at the Hattie B. Munroe Home in Benson, which had an approximate capacity of 40 children. The home enters into a lease with the University of Nebraska Medical Center to build a new residential center for children with disabilities on campus to accommodate the need to serve more children.
1958-1959: Two buildings are constructed on the UNMC campus in the area of 44th Street and Dewey Avenue. The Hattie B. Munroe Home for Convalescing Crippled Children builds a residential home called the Hattie B. Munroe Home, which is licensed for 56 beds. The Meyer Therapy Center is built in memory of C. Louis Meyer with funding by his family, friends and colleagues.
1959: A quartet of services is provided on the UNMC campus for children with disabilities. A new, modern facility is completed, designed so children can go to school at the J.P. Lord School, receive therapy at the Meyer Therapy Center, be hospitalized if necessary at Children’s Hospital (on the site of the current Fred and Pamela Buffet Cancer Center) and live at the Hattie B. Munroe Home.
1960: The Orthopedic Association of Omaha changes its name to The Directors of the Hattie B. Munroe Home.
1966: The Hattie B. Munroe Home for Convalescing Crippled Children Foundation is renamed the Hattie B. Munroe Foundation (HBMF). The foundation works with the board of directors of the home to support services and programs, and it continues to actively provide support today.
1968: Dr. Paul Pearson becomes the Director of the C. Louis Meyer Children Rehabilitation Institute (MCRI).
1968, May: The Meyer Therapy Center is deeded to the University of Nebraska. The name is changed to the C. Louis Meyer Children Rehabilitation Institute (MCRI).
1968, December: The directors of the Hattie B. Munroe Home and the University of Nebraska Board of Regents sign an affiliation agreement. The university will operate the facilities under the name the Hattie B. Munroe Pavilion.
1973: An addition is made to the Meyer Therapy Center and is funded by the Meyer Family in memory of Mary Luman Meyer.
1974: The Human Genetics Laboratory is established doing conventional cytogenetics.
1974: Medical genetic evaluations are provided by PhD-level geneticists, including Dr. Warren Sanger.
1978, July 21: The last residents of the Hattie B. Munroe Pavilion move out. Only outpatient services are provided.
1982: Camp Munroe begins with funding from the Hattie B. Munroe Foundation.
1983: Dr. Bruce Buehler becomes the Director of the MCRI.
1985: UNMC and the Hattie B. Munroe Foundation announce the creation of a Human Genetics Center, including diagnostic laboratories, research laboratories and clinical service areas.
1987: An orthotic and prosthetic facility is established.
1990: The name of the Meyer Children Rehabilitation Institute is changed to Meyer Rehabilitation Institute to reflect care across the lifespan.
1992: The HBMF completes a $2 million addition that physically connects the Hattie B. Munroe Pavilion and Meyer Rehabilitation Institute buildings.
1997: HBMF completes a $7 million addition on the north side of the merged building.
1997: The Meyer Rehabilitation Institute (MRI) and the Hattie B. Munroe Pavilion became the Munroe-Meyer Institute (MMI) for Genetics & Rehabilitation.
2001: HBMF establishes an endowed professorship for the director of MMI.
2005: HBMF establishes an endowed professorship for the recruitment and retention of a faculty member critical to the mission of the Institute.
2005: The Pediatric Feeding Program is established.
2006: The Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders (CASD) starts seeing patients in January. A specialized treatment facility is opened in November.
2007: Dr. Michael Leibowitz named director of MMI.
2009: MMI became an academic unit of UNMC.
2010: The Department of Developmental Neuroscience is started with four faculty members.
2016: Karoly Mirnics, MD, PhD, becomes the fourth director of MMI.
2019, August: Ceremonial groundbreaking for MMI's replacement facility at 6902 Pine Street near the University of Omaha Scott Campus.
2019, September 16: MMI celebrates a Century of Caring.
2021, March-April: Clinical services transition to the new facility.
2021, June 8: MMI celebrates the new facility's Grand Opening.