Our History

History of Saint Francis Health System 

William K. Warren, Sr., founder of The William K. Warren Foundation and the Saint Francis Health System, along with his wife Natalie Overall Warren, dreamed of giving a gift to the city of Tulsa that would serve its citizens for years to come. That dream became reality when Saint Francis Hospital opened its doors in 1960.

William K. Warren, Jr. served as Chairman of The William K. Warren Foundation for many years after his father's retirement and remains Chairman Emeritus and Vice President. Mr. Warren envisioned a place where those suffering from mental illness would be treated the same as patients having any other illness. That vision became Laureate Psychiatric Clinic and Hospital which opened in 1988. In a video produced for the employees of the Saint Francis Health System, Mr. Warren shares the history of his parents' commitment to the city and its people.

John-Kelly Warren currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of The William K. Warren Foundation and continues the mission begun by his grandfather and his father.

The Beginning
The story of the Saint Francis Health System is as colorful as the man whose dream brought it life. In 1916, when William K. Warren first arrived in Oklahoma, he was an impressionable 19-year-old. He took on a job in the big city as a voucher clerk at Gypsy Oil Company.

Shortly after Bill Warren married Natalie Overall, he quit his job at Gypsy Oil and started his own business with $300 to his name. The employees of Warren Petroleum Company consisted of Warren and his new bride.

Saint Francis Hospital
Through the years, Warren Petroleum Company steadily grew and prospered to great heights, as did the Warrens' desire to give something back to the community. On October 1, 1960, their dream finally became a reality. After five years of planning and construction, Saint Francis Hospital opened its doors with 275 beds.

In order to meet patient care requirements, as well as the demands of a rapidly growing population in southeast Tulsa, the hospital was expanded in 1969 to 735 adult and pediatric beds and bassinets. The expansion included a new "Y" section to match the original structure and a seven-story specialty wing.

Planning began almost immediately for a third phase of development at Saint Francis Hospital with expansion projects planned for completion during the 1970s.

A major milestone occurred on December 3, 1975 - the 15th anniversary of the hospital - when the Natalie Warren Bryant Cancer Center opened its doors. It was one of the first centers where radiation therapy, chemotherapy services, laboratory and support services were grouped in a single location for the patient's convenience.

During 1979, Saint Francis Hospital launched many new services. Tulsa Life Flight, the helicopter service that transports critically ill or injured patients, took off during this monumental year and was the first of its kind offered in the city. Other services added in 1979 were a skilled nursing facility and a fetal maternal medicine unit.

Warren Clinic
The first area Warren Clinic was established in Stillwater, Oklahoma, in January 1987. In physician numbers alone since that time, the clinic has grown from three internal medicine specialists in Stillwater, to more than 370 providers now in practice throughout eastern Oklahoma. Warren Clinic today consists of physician offices in several Oklahoma communities, including several practice locations in Tulsa. Other Warren Clinic sites include Vinita, Owasso, Coweta, Broken Arrow, Catoosa, Sand Springs, Jenks and McAlester.

In November 1997, Medical Care Associates of Tulsa (MCAT) joined Warren Clinic. In December of 2005, the physicians and staff of Springer Clinic became a part of Warren Clinic.

Laureate Psychiatric Clinic and Hospital
In 1989, The William K. Warren Foundation established Laureate Psychiatric Clinic and Hospital, as well as Laureate Psychiatric Research Center. In addition to programs for children, adolescents and adults, Laureate also offers successful specialty programs for patients with chemical dependency and mood disorders. Laureate's Eating Disorders Program is nationally recognized for its outstanding treatment of anorexia, bulimia and compulsive overeating.

The Children's Hospital at Saint Francis
In 1995, The Children's Hospital at Saint Francis was established. This "hospital within a hospital" was created with younger patients in mind. Its goal was to improve access and efficiency, as well as to provide a larger and more "kid friendly" atmosphere for children and their families. The Children's Hospital at Saint Francis is a regional referral center which provides specialized pediatric inpatient care, as well as neonatal and pediatric intensive care.

In 2005, ground broke on the 155,000 square foot Children's Hospital seen today. The five-story structure opened in 2008 and features a kid friendly design, private rooms with a family centered environment and equipment specific to pediatric patients. Today, The Children's Hospital at Saint Francis offers services in more than 25 different pediatric specialties including the regions only Level IV NICU, pediatric hematology/oncology clinic and pediatric cardiac surgery program.

Saint Francis Hospital at Broken Arrow
Saint Francis Hospital at Broken Arrow officially became part of the Saint Francis Health System in January 1998; yet, the history uniting the two began a decade earlier. This union occurred when Saint Francis Hospital at Broken Arrow affiliated with Saint Francis Hospital on January 1, 1986.

In 2008, services and staff moved to the newly dedicated Saint Francis Hospital South, located down the street at 91st Street and Hwy 169. In 2012 Saint Francis Health System and the Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce dedicated the Saint Francis Health Park, a community park with a fitness focus where Saint Francis Hospital in Broken Arrow once stood.

Saint Francis Heart Hospital
In March 2004, the Saint Francis Health System and area cardiologists joined together as partners to open the Saint Francis Heart Hospital.

The need for heart services is great in our area. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death in Oklahoma according to a report issued by the American Heart Association in 2010. Smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and lack of exercise are factors that contribute to the problem and place our state high on the unhealthy list.

Saint Francis Hospital South
Opened in 2008, this 96-bed community hospital serves the needs of southern Tulsa and Wagoner counties in Oklahoma. Built with a neighborhood feel, the hospital offers general services as well as many sub-specialties generally reserved for larger city hospitals including a Level II NICU, emergency services, cardiology, urology and 24-hour on site anesthesia.

Saint Francis Trauma Emergency Center and Patient Tower
The eight-story, 500,000-square-foot patient tower and Trauma Emergency Center (TEC) opened in early September of 2014. This newest facility is the largest expansion in the hospital’s history and includes:

  • acute and critical care capacity;
  • new eight-story, 150-bed patient care tower;
  • new chapel and convent;
  • clinical education rooms; and
  • administrative and physician office space.
Learn more about the new facility >


An Eye to the Future
What began as one young man's dream, has grown through the years into a healthcare system comprised of approximately 8,500 employees. Saint Francis Hospital is now a 918-bed facility and is widely known as the region's healthcare leader. 

As its chief benefactors, W.K. and Natalie Overall Warren's contribution to Saint Francis marks the largest gift made to a hospital in the United States by a single family.

"Just making money for somebody is one thing," W.K. Warren once said. "...but saving lives is something else. "

William K Warren, Sr. William K. Warren, Jr. John-Kelly C. Warren Natalie Overall Warren and Willam K. Warren, Sr. at Saint Francis Hospital gound breaking. Mr. and Mrs. Warren K. Warren, Sr. Saint Francis Hospital shortly after its opening in 1960. Saint Francis Hospital's "Y" addition, completed in 1969. Warren Clinic Tower at 66th and South Yale Avenue Laureate Psychiatric Clinic and Hospital The Children's Hospital at Saint Francis in 2008. The old Saint Francis Hospital at Broken Arrow The Heart Hospital at Saint Francis The Clock Tower at Saint Francis Hospital South Saint Francis Hospital new main entrance, Trauma Emergency Center and patient tower opened in 2014