University of Nebraska Medical Center

History of the Olson Center for Women’s Health

Nurse Practitioner Alissa Wormington and a student interact with a patient at the Olson Center

The Olson Center for Women's Health was founded in 1993.

Leland Olson, MD, and his wife Dorothy had the vision to do something special for women’s health in the late 1980s. In concert with McClure Smith, MD, the OB-GYN chairperson at that time, and John Niemann, Vice President of the University of Nebraska Foundation, the Olson Center was created on January 13, 1993. The center was made possible through a generous donation from the Olson Family Foundation. The endowment which they created, and have supplemented many times since then, is an ongoing contribution to women’s health in Nebraska. The Olson Center is a part of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and is also supported annually by the University of Nebraska Foundation through other matching gifts.

As stated in the original formation documents, the mission of the Olson Center is to provide a national comprehensive health science center at UNMC for women, focusing on women’s health issues and new frontiers of science, medicine, and nursing practice related to healthcare for women.

The generosity of the Olson family is matched only by their vision to improve women’s health in the region. UNMC and all Nebraskans are grateful for their service and contributions to healthcare, and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology is dedicated to seeing their vision through for many years to come. We are proud to have recently surpassed $8 million dollars in research activity funded by the Olson Center! This research investment has leveraged many investigators to also obtain external funding from the National Institutes of Health and other funding entities, in our ongoing efforts to unravel the secrets of infertility, hormones, and cancer.

One major component of the Olson’s vision came to fruition in October 2007 with the opening of the Olson Center for Women’s Health outpatient facility on the campus of UNMC. This health care center has the unique distinction of being the only one of its kind nationally: combining general and specialty OB-GYN, prenatal diagnosis, physical therapy, and mammography/women’s imaging in a single location. The Olson Center is one of the largest ambulatory clinic operations at Nebraska Medicine.

Advisory Committee

A national advisory committee governs the use of funds and the direction of the Olson Center’s endowment operations.

The Leland J. and Dorothy H. Olson Center for Women’s Health Board, led by Carl Smith, MD, Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, consists of:

  • Karen Olson, MD (retired)
  • Nancy Olson
  • David Olson, MD (retired)
  • Kendra Swanson, MD
  • Gail Walling-Yanney, MD (retired)
  • Kenneth W. Bayles, PhD, UNMC Vice Chancellor for Research
  • Donald Gibbens, MD