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Altru History


The roots of Altru Health System date back to 1892 when St. Luke’s Hospital was built in downtown Grand Forks (renamed Deaconess Hospital in 1899).

Early 1900s


Three pioneering physicians established a clinic and achieved several firsts in North Dakota, including: the first board certified ear, nose and throat specialist, radiologist, internist, surgeon and obstetrician. Their practice would become known as the Grand Forks Clinic in 1940. In 1907, Sisters of St. Joseph of Caron opened St. Michael’s Hospital, a 60-bed facility.


An outpatient medical rehabilitation facility opened on the University of North Dakota campus with a staff of eight.


Leaders of Deaconess Hospital, St. Michael’s Hospital, the Grand Forks Clinic and the University of North Dakota Medical Center Rehabilitation Hospital discussed the problems of lack of space for expansion, duplication of services and a growing community and region.


Deaconess and St. Michael’s Hospitals became legally, but not physically, one The United Hospital. Organizers broke ground for the first facility on Medical Park, a 90-acre campus of medical services and facilities. As the first building on Medical Park, The Rehab was a $4.3 million, 88-bed building.


In 1976, construction of The United Hospital, an acute care hospital, on Medical Park was completed. The next facilities to follow were Valley Medical Associates, P.C. and the Grand Forks Clinic. The medical complex grew to include an orthopedic clinic, nursing home, chemical dependency center and a unique senior living center.

In 1977, Grand Forks Clinic participated in the founding of the North Central Cancer Treatment Group, and The United Hospital organized the first paramedic training program in the state.


The region’s first cardiac catheterization laboratory (cath lab) was established at The United Hospital. The United Recovery Center building was completed, creating The United Health Foundation. In 1985, the first heart donated for transplant in North Dakota occurred at The United Hospital. Grand Forks Clinic acquired Roseau and Greenbush Clinics and Northwestern Clinics in Crookston, Fertile and Erskine.


The Rehab and The United Hospital merged. The Rehab 1,2,3 was dedicated, making it the third of its kind in the nation.

United Health Services and the Grand Forks Clinic merged to form Altru Health System.

Altru’s Diabetes Center was founded to provide accessible, comprehensive care using the latest and best treatment and management options. Altru acquired Cavalier Clinic.


Altru Cancer Center came into existence.

In 2003, Altru Hospital received HealthGrades’ annual Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence.

In 2005, Altru acquired Grand Forks Family Medicine Residency. Altru Health System was recognized for service excellence under the J.D. Power and Associates Distinguished Hospital Program.

In 2007, Altru opened Truyu Aesthetic Center.


Epic was implemented throughout the health care system, allowing for electronic health care records. In 2011, Altru was announced as the first member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, a network of health care delivery organizations which benefit from having access to Mayo Clinic expertise and clinical resources.

In 2014, Altru Specialty Center opened at the South Washington Medical Park offering a clinic, elective orthopedic and podiatry surgeries, a joint replacement center and inpatient rehabilitation.

In 2016, Altru partnered with Medica to develop Altru & You with Medica, North Dakota's first Accountable Care Organization (ACO).


In 2017, Altru announced a bold new era in care for the region, including a $250 million investment, a new 21st-century hospital, expanded clinic services, new technology, cutting-edge surgical and emergency services and a population approach to healthcare. The next year Altru unveiled 25 Year Masterplan that includes Phase 1 “Hospital in the Park.” The first phase showcases the new hospital that will be designed and constructed over the next five years. Altru was named a 2018 Most Wired hospital by CHIME.

In 2019, Altru leaders and staff broke ground on our new state-of-the-art hospital. Altru was named ‘Best Hospital in North Dakota’ by U.S. News and World Report.


Altru teams adapted through the COVID pandemic. The initiation of the COVID hotline, curbside testing, home visit program and so much more changed the lives of many.


The Altru team continued to navigate the COVID pandemic. A joint venture agreement was entered into with Encompass Health for the Altru Rehabilitation Hospital. Construction of the new hospital in Grand Forks resumed.


Altru received many national recognitions in the field of healthcare, including heart and stroke quality care awards, healthcare technology awards, and the only hospital in North Dakota to be named a Newsweek Best Maternity Hospital. The new hospital project ended the year at 44% complete.



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