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Nebraska Physicians Lead Susan La Flesche Picotte, MD Hospital Restoration Efforts

Nebraska Physicians Lead Susan La Flesche Picotte, MD Hospital Restoration Efforts

July 28, 2021

Nebraska Medical Association member physicians invite you to join their physician-lead campaign to raise funds to help restore the Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte Center in Walthill, Nebraska.

In 1889, Susan La Flesche Picotte, MD was the nation’s first Native American woman in the United States to receive a medical degree. In her remarkable career she served more than 1,300 people over 450 square miles, providing medical care at all hours of the day and night on horse and buggy. In 1913, she saw her life's dream fulfilled when she opened a hospital in the reservation town of Walthill, Nebraska, eliminating the arduous journeys patients endured to Omaha or Sioux City for care. It was the first hospital built on a reservation without federal funding, and had a 12-bed general ward, 5 private wards, maternity ward, and an operating room. 

Today, this historic building is at risk of being lost after years of neglect. Nebraska physicians have answered the call to help restore the original hospital into a community center – following in the footsteps of Dr. Susan’s trailblazing legacy to bring hope and health to the Omaha tribe and surrounding community. In 2017, the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs formed a Susan La Flesche Memorial Advisory Committee comprised of Dr. Picotte’s descendants, community leaders, architects, museum professionals, stakeholders, and Omaha Tribe elders. The restored building will serve the needs of today’s local community and provide medical services, behavioral health services, substance use disorder services, youth programming, Native arts and culture, and a Dr. Susan historical exhibit.

To find out more about the physician campaign, please visit

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