top of page

UPMC Passavant: 60 Years of History Serving the North Hills

Photo courtesy UPMC Passavant
Photo courtesy UPMC Passavant

UPMC Passavant looks to the future as it celebrates its rich history – 60 years of serving Pittsburgh’s north communities and 175 years as the first hospital of its type in the U.S.

Longtime residents remember the days before the North Hills had its own hospital. Some might even remember the “Bring it North” campaign launched in the late 1950s or watching the caravan on McKnight Road as ambulances and trucks ferried equipment to the new North Hills Passavant Hospital in 1964.

Sixty years later and 175 years since its founding, Passavant is part of world-renowned UPMC, and serves North Hills residents and communities through two locations: the original McCandless Township site and a second campus in Cranberry Township.

Measurable Community Impact

“UPMC Passavant has a rich history,” said hospital president Susan Hoolahan, MSN, RN, NEA-BC. “And today it’s helping to fuel our region’s economy in a big way. UPMC Passavant’s annual economic impact is estimated at $888 million.”

UPMC Passavant provides advanced care to local residents at two convenient locations, McCandless (shown here) and a second campus in Cranberry.
UPMC Passavant provides advanced care to local residents at two convenient locations, McCandless (shown here) and a second campus in Cranberry.

At the hospital’s latest annual meeting, Hoolahan noted that UPMC Passavant contributed $31 million in community benefits in fiscal year 2022 and dedicated $20 million of that amount to care for local residents who did not have the means to pay.

Susan E. Hoolahan, president of UPMC Passavant, stands in front of a history wall. U.S. News & World Report ranks UPMC Passavant as the number two hospital in the Pittsburgh region (behind UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside). Photo courtesy of Passavant Hospital Foundation
Susan E. Hoolahan, president of UPMC Passavant, stands in front of a history wall. U.S. News & World Report ranks UPMC Passavant as the number two hospital in the Pittsburgh region (behind UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside). Photo courtesy of Passavant Hospital Foundation

In addition, Hoolahan detailed how UPMC has invested more than $386 million in UPMC Passavant in the past four years. Recent projects included the UPMC Passavant Specialty Pavilion Expansion completed at the McCandless campus in 2023. A similar effort is underway at the Cranberry campus, and work will continue through 2025. The project will bring the community expanded access to the latest UPMC specialty services and advanced care closer to home.

“At UPMC Passavant, our patients have access to UPMC’s renowned physicians and services associated with UPMC Children’s Hospital, UPMC Magee-Womens, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute – all without having to travel to the city,” Hoolahan noted.

As part of their 2023-24 “Best Hospitals” rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranked UPMC Passavant as the number two hospital in the Pittsburgh region (after UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside) and rated it high performing in 10 surgical procedures and conditions. These rankings and others reflect the exceptional care delivered every day by teams of expert UPMC doctors, nurses, and staff, as well as UPMC’s unwavering commitment to North Hills residents and communities.

A Humble Beginning

Passavant had a simple beginning. Reverend Dr. William Passavant, a 27-year-old Lutheran minister born in Zelienople, opened the hospital in 1849 in what is now Pittsburgh’s Uptown neighborhood. Then known as the Pittsburgh Infirmary, the hospital initially served soldiers returning from the Mexican-American War. It was also the first Protestant hospital built in the United States. During the hospital’s 50th anniversary in 1899, the Infirmary was renamed in honor of its founder.

The North Hills connection began in the 1950s. Residents from the northern suburbs wanted a local hospital, as none existed in the region and travel into Pittsburgh was limited.

More than 3,000 people volunteered to help circulate petitions and go door-to-door to assist with fundraising. Plans to move the Pittsburgh Infirmary to a “suburban area of need” accelerated, and North Hills Passavant Hospital opened in McCandless on a snowy day in early 1964.

The hospital merged with UPMC in 1997, beginning its transformation into an advanced tertiary care center.

UPMC added the Cranberry Township campus, a former St. Francis Hospital location, in 2002. Today both UPMC Passavant campuses offer expanded Emergency Departments with 24/7 care and access to the experts of UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and specialists from throughout the UPMC network.

At UPMC Passavant, the resources of an academic medical center are available to residents every day, all close to home.

Advanced Heart and Vascular Care

Over the past 20 years, UPMC Passavant has grown from providing essential cardiac care to becoming a destination for advanced heart care and procedures. Both hospital locations offer heart and vascular services as part of the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute, one of the world’s premier centers for comprehensive cardiovascular care.

As part of the hospital’s 175th anniversary, UPMC Passavant is celebrating 60 years of service to North Hills residents and is looking ahead to its future.
As part of the hospital’s 175th anniversary, UPMC Passavant is celebrating 60 years of service to North Hills residents and is looking ahead to its future.

Advanced surgical procedures currently available at UPMC Passavant–McCandless include transaortic valve replacement (TAVR), a minimally invasive procedure to treat aortic stenosis; WATCHMAN implants that provide atrial fibrillation (AFib) patients with an alternative to long-term blood thinner therapy; and robotic valve replacement surgery.

Many of UPMC Passavant’s heart programs cater to specific populations with unique risk factors. The UPMC Magee-Womens Heart Program cares for women who have heart disease or who are at risk for it. Other examples include Passavant cardiologists working with the UPMC Center for Inherited Heart Disease to serve patients with heart rhythm disorders.

In addition to specialized care, the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute at UPMC Passavant offers heart wellness, rehabilitation, and education initiatives.

Recognized Name in Women’s Health Care

UPMC Magee-Womens offers comprehensive care at UPMC Passavant. Women from throughout the region come to UPMC Passavant for routine and advanced women’s health.

Located on the hospital’s first floor, UPMC Magee-Womens provides imaging, advanced breast cancer diagnostics and care, fertility treatments, routine and advanced prenatal care and gynecology services – including a urogynecology clinic staffed in part by board-certified surgeons specializing on complex uterine and vaginal prolapse surgery.

For convenience, UPMC Magee-Womens also offers services at the UPMC Lemieux Sport Complex in Cranberry. At both locations, experts are available to provide care to women through every stage of their health care journey.”

Cutting-Edge Cancer Care at UPMC Passavant

As part of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center – the region’s only comprehensive cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute – UPMC Passavant offers world-class cancer care and treatments backed by best practices and leading-edge protocols, all close to home.

Specialized services include use of linear accelerator (LINAC) technology for radiation oncology treatments. LINAC delivers high-energy x-rays or electrons to the region of a tumor. UPMC Passavant also offers stereotactic body radiation therapy, which can reduce the time it takes for single radiation therapy treatments. Shorter treatments can result in more precise treatments.

Other advanced technologies in use at UPMC Passavant are helping physicians detect cancer early. By using the Monarch® robotic bronchoscopy system, for example, doctors can maneuver into the lung’s tiniest passages to inspect suspicious lesions and collect tissue samples to determine whether they are cancerous or benign.

In addition to specialized services, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center at UPMC Passavant offers the latest clinical trials and a full range of supportive care through a patient and family education center.

Specialized Pediatric Care

In collaboration with UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, UPMC Passavant provides top-quality care to pediatric patients in the Emergency Departments (EDs) at both McCandless and Cranberry. UPMC Children’s board-certified pediatric emergency specialists are on call 24/7 to collaborate in real time with emergency doctors and families. And if a child needs follow-up care, an ED staff member makes the appointment before the family even leaves the hospital.

Families in the region can also access routine and specialty pediatric services for infants, children, teens and young adults at:

  • UPMC Children’s North in Wexford

  • UPMC Children’s Pine Center in Wexford

  • UPMC Children’s Community Pediatrics

  • UPMC Children’s Express Care – Cranberry

  • UPMC Children’s Express Care – Wexford

Our People, Our Future

UPMC continues to expand outpatient services to serve residents from throughout Allegheny, Butler and Beaver counties. Nearby facilities include UPMC Outpatient Center in Hampton, UPMC Specialty Care in Wexford, UPMC Primary and Specialty Care in Sewickley, UPMC Outpatient Center in Moon and UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry.

Whether an individual is looking for UPMC outpatient or hospital-based services, they will receive world-class care provided by UPMC’s greatest resource – its people.

The two campuses have more than 1,950 employees, including 400 board-certified physicians across 22 specialties. In 2023 alone, UPMC Passavant gained more than 160 new nurses (including 100 graduate nurses.). The hospital is a Magnet® designated hospital, recognized nationally for its commitment to nursing excellence.

Volunteers also play a key role in UPMC Passavant’s past and future. A Ladies Aid Society contributed a horse-drawn ambulance to the original hospital in 1898 and purchased its first x-ray equipment in 1905. Today, dedicated men and women of the Passavant Hospital Auxiliary volunteer their time and talents through a charitable foundation in service to their neighbors.

The Passavant Hospital Foundation incorporated as a nonprofit in 1981, and for more than 40 years has advanced the community’s health and wellness through education, outreach, and grant making. The foundation provides key support for multiple specialty services and expansion projects at both campuses, including purchase of cutting-edge technology. Three funds currently support specific initiatives for UPMC Passavant patients, families and staff:

  • Patient Assistance Fund

  • Cancer Care Fund

  • Nursing Education Development Fund

The nonprofit also offers educational programs, sponsors a support group, now in its 25th year, for people impacted by substance abuse and hosts an annual domestic violence symposium. Every year in September, it recognizes “Legacy of Caring” awardees, individuals who embody a commitment to patient care at UPMC Passavant and the greater community’s health.

Many of the prevention programs and wellness initiatives sponsored by the foundation and hospital address health priorities identified in UPMC Passavant’s Community Health Needs Assessment.

To learn more about UPMC Passavant’s dedication and compassionate care for North Hills residents, visit

Monarch® is a trademark of Auris Health, Inc. WATCHMAN™ is a trademark of Boston Scientific.

Recognized for Excellence

Accolades for UPMC Passavant include:

  • Ranked #2 in Pittsburgh (behind UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside) and rated High Performing in 10 procedures by U.S. News & World Report

  • Nursing excellence Magnet® recognition by the American Nurses Credentialing Center

  • Primary Stroke Center certification by The Joint Commission

  • Recognized for patient safety by The Leapfrog Group

  • LGBTQ+ Equality Leader recognition by Human Rights Campaign Foundation

379 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page