Who We Are

Floating Hospital for Children is the full-service pediatric hospital of Tufts Medical Center, an internationally respected academic medical center. We are proud to be the principal pediatric teaching and research institution for Tufts University School of Medicine. A major academic medical institution with innovative programs in clinical care, research, education and health care delivery, Floating Hospital offers a full range of inpatient and outpatient services in every area of pediatric specialization for infants through adolescence.

At first glance, our hospital name might seem a little strange. Floating Hospital for Children? Is it floating now? Was it ever floating? How? Why? These are questions we hear quite often, and there is a great story behind our name, not to mention more than 100 years of innovation in pediatric medicine.

The history behind the name

Floating Hospital for Children began as a hospital ship sailing the Boston Harbor for the first time in 1894. Heralded as a major innovation in pediatric medicine, the mission of the hospital ship was to take ill urban children out onto the harbor to experience the healing qualities of fresh sea air and sunshine.

By the end of the first summer, 1,100 children were treated. For 33 years, Floating Hospital was located on two successive vessels helping children and educating mothers about dysentery and other important health issues. Furthermore, two major advancements made onboard were the development of a human milk bank to supply breast milk to sick infants, and the creation of the first effective synthetic milk product for infants, still sold worldwide today as Similac®.

A miniature replica of Floating Hospital boat is located on the mezzanine level of Floating Hospital. We encourage you to view it and learn what health care looked like 100 years ago.

In the late 1920s, Floating Hospital left the harbor waters and created an on-shore facility for research and some clinical specialties. It also began an affiliation with Tufts University School of Medicine and Tufts Medical Center’s predecessor, the Boston Dispensary. Floating Hospital officially merged with Tufts Medical Center in 1965, but still retains its own identity and rich, historic tradition.

An academic medical center focused on your child

Because we are an academic medical center, there is a care team of providers focused on your child. We work together with you to provide the highest quality of care. At Floating Hospital for Children, we practice family-centered care, which brings the perspectives of our patients and families directly into the planning, delivery and evaluation of health care. We believe the best outcomes happen through close, collaborative relationships between health care professionals and children and their families.

Our mission

We strive to heal, to comfort, to teach, to learn and to seek the knowledge to promote health and prevent disease. Our patients and their families are at the center of everything we do. 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. At Floating Hospital for Children, our patients are our inspiration, and they prove to us every day that you don’t have to be big to be strong.