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. John-Kelly Warren led efforts to construct The Children's Hospital at Saint Francis - a state-of-the-art, 104-bed facility serving the most vulnerable, our children.

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.

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.

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.

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 350 doctors now in practice throughout northeastern Oklahoma. Warren Clinic today consists of physician offices in several northeastern Oklahoma cities, including many practice locations in Tulsa. Each clinic offers patients a wide spectrum of primary care medical services, from disease prevention to the management of patients with chronic medical conditions. Other cities in Oklahoma that Warren Clinic serves include Stillwater, 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.

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.

Today, Saint Francis Hospital at Broken Arrow is widely known for its outstanding inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services which are provided at Broken Arrow and Saint Francis Hospital.

Saint Francis Imaging Center
The Saint Francis Health System opened the 25,000-square-foot Saint Francis Imaging Center in September 2003. Located at the corner of 66th and South Yale Avenue, the free-standing facility offers radiology, nuclear medicine, MRI, CT scan and ultrasound. This all-digital imaging facility offers state-of-the-art equipment, shorter exam times, fewer callbacks and faster results.

In addition to the outstanding technical capabilities of the imaging center, guests and their families are treated to a variety of amenities to help make their experience more relaxing. For example, guests are greeted at a concierge desk where they are given a pager used to notify them when their room is available. A staff host assists each guest to their room and through the entire process. Slippers and robes are used for guests instead of hospital gowns. Guests and family members have access to the Internet, a children's play area, coffee bar and much more as they wait in the comfortable reception area.

The facility houses diagnostic imaging equipment including two MRIs, three ultrasounds, two CT scans, two nuclear medicine machines, three general radiology rooms, one chest X-ray, as well as room for a future PET scan.

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.

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 7,000 employees. Saint Francis Hospital is now a 918-bed facility and is widely known as one of the top 100 hospitals in the nation.

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."